Tuesday, February 7

More from Ethiopia

Our good friend Audrey sent a heart-wrenching story of two births she attended to in Ethiopia, one ending in tragedy when the baby died. The second birth was to a young woman who had been raped and didn’t want the child. She offered the beautiful baby to Audrey, who would have willingly taken him, but it would have been impossible.

Before attending to the births, Audrey had finished presenting an art program to the children at the orphanage, so she had paint-spattered clothes. After the births, she had blood on her. There was no place to wash up at the hospital so she headed for home. Here is a small part of her story of that day:

I look down at the blood on my arms and ask the nurse if there is a place where I can wash up. No, there is not. I will have to go home and wash.

So I go home with Saba, since I'm locked out of the house-gate today. I have no key. That’s why I came to the hospital in clothing spotted with paint from the morning art project at the Children’s Center. “Peace Begins with Me” was our painting inspiration.

Saba gives me a shirt to change into and drops me off at my home gate. Still there is no one home, and my mind fills with frustrated, negative thoughts again. “This is ridiculous. I can’t even go home! This is the fifth time I have been stranded out on the road! I need to move.  I should have a key to the gate!” etc. Breathe, Selam. Remember peace begins with me???? So I head to a nearby restaurant to get something to drink and eat and relax. My pants are dotted with watercolor paints and blood. I’m wearing an Italian polyester, bright orange, green, blue, and yellow spotted shirt. With that description you could find me in a crowd of a thousand. But I’m too tired to care.

Finally I return to the gate an hour and a half later. Kalkidan, one of the girls, opens the gate and lets me in. “Sorry no one was home all day,” she says.

“That’s okay,” I say. “I just need to get out of these clothes, take a shower, and go to bed.”

“There is no water,” she replies.

I catch myself getting irritated by the news, and check myself back into reality.  If no water for the evening is my biggest problem today, I’d better count my blessings.

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