One of the features of travelling around the city of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia is seeing animals everywhere. Donkeys are common beast of burden and drivers have to be especially wary of them. Cattle are found in various parts of the city and we passed several markets where they were for sale.
By far the most common animals would have to be sheep and goats. They all looked the same to me, but my daughter assures me, after talking to the locals while she was teaching there, that the tails of goats stick up and the tails of sheep hang down. I never had the opportunity to really put this to the definitive test. Had I shown more than a passing interest in the animals I would have found myself having to buy one. Not sure what I would have done with it had this occurred.
Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, is much like many large cities in Africa, Asia and anywhere in the developing world.
Somehow in all that chaos people move around, do their jobs, raise their families and eke out a living. Traffic congestion can seem overwhelming to a first time visitor and no rules seem to apply anywhere. I’d experienced Bangkok and Kathmandu previously so it was no real surprise to me though the occasional sight like the van in the picture above was noteworthy.
In many places as we travelled along we could see craftsmen making a range of items for sale, from tailors with their sewing machines on the footpath, to carpenters making furniture though to mechanics repairing all sorts of vehicles.
During our short stay in Ethiopia last December we visited the inspiring Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. You can read about our visit here. This wonderful work not only provides life-changing operations for women suffering terribly with obstetric fistula, the hospital also provides a comprehensive training programme for midwives. These nurses then work with women in rural areas where the problems occur due to lack of medical help during child birth. In many cases the women being trained are former patients of the hospital.
My wife and I were most impressed with the amazing humanitarian work being undertaken here. We have supported it in the past and will continue to do so. I challenge my readers to do likewise: click here for more information.
I have to admit that Addis Ababa is not the most beautiful city I’ve ever visited. In fact, many parts are quite dirty with much rubbish lying around in streets and on construction sites, poorly maintained roads, less than beautiful buildings and plenty of pollution in the air and waterways. I sensed during my visit there last December that attempts are being made to clean up the environment and general facilities but the sheer mass of people they are dealing with makes this a mammoth task.
It was therefore a very pleasant surprise to visit some private homes to see what could be achieved. Even more delightful was our visit to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital (click here to read what I wrote last week about our visit). The buildings in this wonderful hospital are extremely well maintained, clean and inviting to the traumatised patients. The grounds and gardens are a haven providing a serene environment for the women recovering from obstetric fistula, one of the most distressing medical conditions I have ever read about.
Here is my challenge: you can help these women to recover by donating to the work. Click here for more details.