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Showing posts from July, 2008

The Green Mountains of Ethiopia

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So, three different jobs in three days, now I really don't know if I have been promoted or demoted! I awoke in the morning and was told that it had been decided, sometime after I went to bed, to open a new field project in a place called Wamura. A doctor, nurse and myself for logistics would leave immediately. I grabbed my small bag, and then starting grabbing things from the store that I knew would be useful for a setup, some blankets, a satellite phone and computer, a water filter.

Then it was into the four wheel drive and onto the road into the mountains. The hills around here certainly are amazing and really remind me of Nepal, with little ridge line villages with spectacular views off each side down into the green valleys below. The roads wind there way up and down, with alternating rough rocky sections on the ridges, and soft clay and mud in depressions, or where waterways cross the road.

On arrival we were hosted in the local health centre by the very helpful head…

Changing Plans

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Well, one minute I planning out my three month stint as Supply Logisitian in the wet sprawling capital of Ethiopia, next minute I am much closer to the field in a place called Sodo, which is well to the south of the country on the foothills of green mountains. I've been so surprised at how beautiful Ethiopia is, and how the wrong the image I have fixed still in my subconscious is. All around are ploughed fields full of crops, it rains every day, and I wish I had my gumboots.

Sodo is the main coordination for the project but there is still a lot of setup and organisation to be undertaken. I seem to be just keeping ahead of a wave of materials coming from Addis. It is great to be able to see the special vitamin enriched grain called Famix being prepared in the factory, buying 50 tons, sending it off to Sodo, only to be standing there when it arrives with a half finished store! Maybe next I'll see it dished out in the field.

It continues to rain and some of the expats in Gocho, the…

Back on the Job with MSF

One minute I was back in Paris enjoying Don Carlo at the grand opera theatre, the next minute I'm on a plane to Ethiopia of all places. On the flight down images from years ago fill my mind; Bob Geldoff, Live AID, staving African children and endless repeats of ''Do they know it's Christmas time at all...?''.

It looks like my role will be in Addis Ababa, the capital city, supporting a field operation in the south west of the country, which is an emergency nutritional crisis intervention. The rains failed and some significant numbers of malnourished children were identified by an exploratory MSF team last month. Certainly not a famine, but human suffering that required a response.

I've spent a week helping set up house and office, arguing with customs officials for the release of the international logistic equipment, therapeutic food, and medical drugs the mission requires, and trying to get an idea of the needs of the field team. Busy time and not a minute fo…