Sunday, May 02, 2010

Love this!

I just discovered this song while I was studying a couple of days ago... The lyrics really say it all, so please listen and enjoy!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Ethiopian Snap Shots

A few more snap shots from our time in Ethiopia...

In Arba Minch there was no running water so this is how we washed our hair :) Below there is a picture from the market place in Arba Minch.

While we were in Jinka we went to a church about 1 hour away, very lively and fun.

One of the elders in the church reading his Bible.

The kids sat at the front.

Below are a few pictures from Mursi, a tribe in South Omo, a couple of hours drive from Jinka. Some SIM missionaries are working there.

Mother and child

Drinking from her "cup"

One of the young girls we met

Below are a few pictures from Jinka town and surroundings.

This little girl was relaxing by the road when we passed.

Some of the many kids who wanted to hold our hands when we went for walks in the town.

Above and below: Heading home after a long day of work.

A busy morning at the market place

By the river

Helping dad bring home some water

Carrying a heavy load

Which path to choose?

A beautiful sunset in Jinka!

I hope you enjoyed the pictures, they only show a little bit of what we experienced and how colorful life is in Ethiopia! We absolutely love that country and it's people!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ethiopian moments...

A blog we wrote on 7/2/2010 but were unable to post while we were in Jinka... ENJOY!

5 weeks have passed since we arrived in Ethiopia. It’s amazing how fast time has passed! Now our time at MCM is over and we are on our way to Jinka hospital. At the moment we are in Arba Minch where we lived the last 5 years before we left Ethiopia almost 12 years ago. So many things have changed here, but it is nice to be back and see our old house and the surrounding area. The biggest change in Arba minch is the roads, the many new tall buildings and hotels/lodges. The town has grown substantially since last we were here.

Looking back on the last few weeks there are many things that come to mind so we thought we’d give you some short glimpses of what we’ve experienced...

Complete chaos
The traffic in Addis Abeba is anything but organized... We would describe it as complete chaos. There are police officers on every street corner, sometimes two at the same cross-road directing the traffic each in their direction but NOT synchronised so everything ends up in a knot! Driving in lanes is just not done... what is a lane anyway??? The main thing is to watch the front of your car and use the horn constantly.

It’s quite an experience to travel with public transportation, especially the Heiger busses. We were going with one of Ethiopian friends to visit across town so we took 2 mini-bus taxis and then a Higer bus. The higer bus was already packed with people when we got on so we had to stand in the isle with a bunch of other people. We were literally like sardines in a box, that’s how packed the bus was. We thought the bus could impossibly take any more passengers because the ticket man could barely close the bus door. But boy were we wrong! At the next stop not only one but FIVE more people got on, and by now the ticket man was hanging out the window of the bus door. I (Katrin) made a remark in Amharic saying they’d probably let people on until the bus exploded... Everyone around us started laughing. What an experience. In Ethiopia there is ALWAYS room for one more.

Ethiopians are very warm and hospitable people. Greetings are a very important, so whenever we arrived at the hospital all the staff we passed would greet us and shake our hands or even give us a warm hug. What a nice way to start the work-day.

Making history
During our short stay at the hospital several ground breaking steps were taken at MCM. Some complex surgeries were done for the first time in Ethiopia and I (Katrin) got to assist in one of them. It was a vascular surgery where we removed a huge aortal thrombosis and large atherosclerotic plaques in a patient who would otherwise have lost his right leg.

During our last week at MCM they also installed a CT machine. This is going to make a huge difference for all the trauma patients that come to the hospital. Until now they’ve had to send them to radiologic centers in town for CT-scans. The number of trauma patients, mostly after motor vehicle crashes, is very high. There would be 1-3 patients coming in almost every day with severe fractures and some with head injuries.

Vast differences
Each day at MCM we saw cases of diseases that we had only read about. Another interesting aspect of medicine here is that people often come to the hospital very late, so we see a very different side of the same diseases/conditions that we have at home. Children with hydrocephalus come in with very enlarged heads and problems with their sight and motor control, whereas in Iceland that is diagnosed and treated with a shunt very early on through routine check-ups. People with meningiomas come in with loss of sight and other severe symptoms because of the size of the tumor. Such tumors are hard to opreate on because they tend to bleed a lot during operation. Diabetes is also a problem here in Ethiopia but it is very poorly controlled. Many patients have had diabetic foot ulcers for weeks or even months but don’t come to the hospital before they are severely infected or the foot is turning black from lack of blood. The only thing that can be done for those patients is to amputate the leg. I (Katrin) assisted in a few amputations and we saw quite many during our stay at the hospital.

Enjoying life
That is something most Ethiopians know how to do. Living in the “here and now”, enjoying the moment and finding joy in the little things seems to be innate. As we passed by some homes while walking through Arba Minch town today we looked through the gate of one of the small compounds. We heard music from the house and outside there were people singing while this very old respectable man, wearing a worn out navy hat, was dancing. His face beaming with joy, smiling from ear to ear. If that’s not enjoying life, I don’t know what is! Ah, that’s Ethiopia!
That´s all for now, we will post a blog about our time in Jinka later! We will also post some pictures here soon. Till then, have a great time!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A few snapshots...

A couple of shots of the smallest patients in the hospital, quite amazing what they've been able to accomplish!

At the Mobile Clinic showing a little girl her picture
Vilborg and Eun Kyung with one of the burn-patients
This little girl always had a smile on her face!

Vilborg with the nurses in ward MS1 (internal medicine)

First blog from Ethiopia :)

We've had some trouble trying to blog, but finally we figured it out!

Vilborg and I left for Ethiopia on January 4th 2010 on a 3 month trip. In the couple of weeks we've been here we've been to a lake called Langano with a couple of childhood friends (also missionary kids). There we had a lot of fun with waterskis, boat trips, card games and a camp fire at night. What a way to start our time in Ethiopia!

A week ago we started our time in the Myungsung Christian Medical Center (MCM), which is a hospital here in Addis, the capital city of Ethiopia. We are going to be there for 4 weeks all together. So far our time has been great. I was in the Naonatology Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for most of the time while Vilborg was working in the three different wards they have at the hospital (medical, surgical and VIP/first class). A lot of things are different from what we are used to back in Iceland, but there are also things we are impressed with, NICU being one of them.

Today we went with volunteers and staff from MCM to a church in the suburbs of Addis where we had a mobile clinic. We had our own post where we saw patients and treated them as best we could or referred those who needed it. It was a great experience! All together 400-450 patients came to the mobile clinic.

We will try to post some pictures in the coming days, so stay tuned!!

Greetings all the way from Ethiopia!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Regretting the past and fearing the future...

I was regretting the past and fearing the future.
Suddenly, my Lord was speaking:
"My name is I am."
He paused.
I waited. He continued,
"When you live in the past
with its mistakes and regrets,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I WAS.
When you live in the future,
with all it’s problems and fears,
it’s hard. I am not there.
My name is not I WILL BE.
When you live in this moment
it is not hard. I am here
my name is I AM."

(Helen Mallicoat)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Crashing back into reality...

That's how I feel. I got back from an amazing time in Lebanon just one week ago and I've already taken two final exams!! If that's not crashing back into the reality of school life I don't know what is! But it's all good because it went well :) I think this last year of medical school is going to fly by!

Anyways, that's all for now. Have a nice weekend!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Friends for life and eternity :)

Here are the greatest gifts God gave me this summer. Some very special friends!!!

Above: Ralph, Jovita and Esther
Below: Salem and I

Above: Ruta and Gerard
Below: Sarma, Baiba, Ralph and Salem
Wherever this group was there was tons of fun!
What a wonderful gift God gave me in these people! I can't stop thanking Him enough! This summer was such a blessing for me. It was like coming to an oasis in so many ways!
"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same."-- Anonymous
"Remember, the greatest gift is not found in a store nor under a tree, but in the hearts of true friends." -- Cindy Lew
"Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave, and impossible to forget. "