I am woken up at 4am by prayers over a tannoy. These are located at churches all over the city and prayer starts at sun rise. Even ear plugs could not drown out the sound. Ethiopia is made up of 60% Christians and 40% Moslem.
After breakfast we make our way up to the Hospital for 7am. There are two types of Hospitals here: the government hospital (which is there for the vast majority of the population who cannot afford private hospitals, but you still have to be able to pay 10 birr to register), or a private hospital, which is where we are based. Each year, Facing Africa pays the Hospital (which is Korean owned) to use a ward and 2 theatres.
The ward itself needs freshening and we immediately open all windows to try to disperse the smell, which is coming from a leaking sink. The beds are made up and look clean. The floors aren’t quite to ourstandard, but there is a lady mopping them as we walk in. The ward toilet (this is only used by the patients) is to be avoided at all costs – Infection Control would have a breakdown!
We unpack boxes onto the ward, whilst the rest of the team start unpacking in theatres. While we are unpacking, one of the Ethiopian nurses starts preparing her dressing trolley for a different OR. She washes the instruments and wraps them in heavily stained sheets, ready for use.
Once we are unpacked, we have the opportunity for free time, so I travel with Larry (Surgeon) and his wife Judi into Addis. The streets are lined with dirt tracks which accommodate corrugated iron huts where families live. There is a strong social divide. There are homeless people lying on the side of the streets, families in huts made from wood and manure, or corrugated iron, and then on the other side of the city there are beautiful houses in green grounds. We see a stretch-limo with a bride and groom, with cars following, beeping horns and a camera crew recording it. There really are two sides to the city.
We go to Tomocca, a shop famous for its coffee, and then walk down the main road which is lined by little huts used as a shop to sell their work. As we attract a lot of attention (they do not see many white people), we decide to meet the others at the Hilton for a drink.
Check back tomorrow to find out how the operations went...