When we visited the shop at the ALERT medical facility (for leprosy sufferers) in Addis Ababa there were quite a few children hanging around and playing near the shop. The boy in the photo above approached and showed me the small bow and arrow he had made. He demonstrated how it worked and then asked me to take his photo.
This prompted several other children to come up to me for a photo too, so I obliged. Meanwhile my wife and daughter were busy chatting to the ladies making various items for sale in the craft shop.
During our visit to the ALERT medical facility in Addis Ababa late last year my wife and daughter we fascinated and very impressed with the craft work being done by inmates of the facility. Many of the patients in this medical work are sufferers of leprosy, now called Hansen’s disease. It’s something we don’t think about much here in Australia as the condition is almost non-existent with only about 60 known current cases Australia wide, mostly in Aboriginal communities.
The ALERT facility in Addis Ababa is more than a place of refuge and treatment. It also helps in rehabilitation, training and financial support. All the craft work – which is absolutely beautiful – is sold through their little shop on-site with all proceeds going back to the patients. We bought so much we even sent home some of their work as unaccompanied luggage.
In each of the photos today you can see my wife and daughter admiring their craft as they worked at it.
During our stay in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last December, colleagues of our daughter took us to the ALERT Medical facility. The acronym stands for African Leprosy Rehabilitation Training Medical Centre. Most of the patients are involved in craft and art work as a part of their rehabilitation. This art work is then sold through their shop on site, the proceeds returning to the artists.
It was our intention of just to visit the shop and to purchase some of the items, which we did because they were so good. We actually went back again a few days later because we didn’t have enough cash the first time. And we would have bought more items but for the fact that this was the first week of a seven week holiday in Ethiopia, Morocco and Spain. Our luggage allowance on the plane was going to be a challenge. [Postscript: we managed to keep within limits, but only because we sent quite a few items in our daughter’s unaccompanied luggage.]
One of the fascinating workers at ALERT was the man shown above. It amazed me how he could deftly weave the mat shown in front of him – despite having only a few stubs left where his fingers once were. He did this with a wonderful smile. A lesson to me in attitude, I think.