AAU Ethiopia

I wrote this to a friend almost a month ago – I’m thinking this really is going to happen, and although the trip hasn’t been officially approved, I’m still BURSTING with the hope that June will arrive and my darling husband will be packing his bags for Addis.

Here is the coolest news:
In December Mr. Silly Pants and I attended a going away party for the Ethiopian physicians we’ve been “entertaining” in the capacity of  their “American Family” (or as cultural brokers). The party was marvelous. First it was a lovely farewell for 2 terrific physicians. For me, it was the first time in my community I was in an intimate enough space with about 25 other Ethiopians and I felt I could make some meaningful and “growable” connections.  Oh what a pleasure for me; an “immersion” into the local Ethiopian community, plus a few UW Hospital Program folks who are part of the team to bring an emergency medicine residency program to the Black Lion Hospital and Addis Ababa University (AAU). I had the most lovely evening with lots of laughing and communing.

At some point in the evening I made my way to the kitchen (where all the important things happen, of course), to hang out with the women and learn and listen. To my delight and surprise, I was gursha fed for the first time- and fussed over – and thanked  – and really welcomed and enveloped by the women. My lovely friend Mulu  fed me gursha. It was a very tender and moving experience for me.

By the end of the evening one of the hospital program and grant directors asked Mr. Silly Pants (Dr. Silly Pants, which is a credential that matters in this story) to consider joining her and another doc to teach at AAU in June.  The curriculum would include ALSO (Advanced Life Support and Obstetrics – it’s some sort of acronym for a program, I guess) AND then go to rural Ethiopia to ‘do frontier medicine’ (their term, not mine). 2 plus weeks in June in Ethiopia!!!!!!  Wowowowwowo!

Dunno yet if Blueberry and I can go – I might still be teaching and this would be a nearly impossible time to get away – but I will do my best to go with him and camp out in Addis (or somewhere else, who knows?). I’ve been considering a strategy, but some things have to fall into place in order for me to pitch a request to miss work (it would be the last weeks, which include review and finals – very complicated to miss!) and/or for me to be solo here or abroad while the good doctor daddy works in Ethiopia.

Let me make clear – this is not a done deal. There is the matter of the pending grant approval. We are waiting to hear word that both “this end” and “that end” have approved the teaching program. Today, however, this is good news – um, great news. Um PHENOMENAL news. I’m hoping this small piece of dream building falls into place. Our family wants this. Dare I say, our family needs this.

So in two weeks Mr. Silly Pants, Blueberry, and I will be attending the local Gena Celebration. I promised the “Ethiopian Aunties” that I’d show up with an Ethiopian dish and the women  promised to critique my effort and provide pointers and delight (feigned or real). I hope I arrive with a bigger sense of belonging and with more connection. And, of course, with a dream tucked into my pocket and a dish to pass in my hands.
pssssssssssst: 30 days of nothing all good today.

4 responses to “AAU Ethiopia

  1. You better have something tasty. Jack has been asking every day for the last 6 days if today is the day we go to the party.I think I'm bringing Sambusas, but might do Ethiopian shaped sugar cookies instead.Is it the same place, same time as usual?

  2. Um wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.

  3. Wow…this is awesome. I wonder if you know our uncle Dr. Layton Rikkers, "Bing"? I know he has also had very close contact with Ethiopia Docs lately. Not sure of the details of his role, but he was Chief of Surgery at UW so there could be a connection.I love your blog. How honestly you share your experiences. Thank you for your comment on our "Amarech" connection. All the best from Monroe, WI- Jennifer

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