United Spider Webs

Christmas was a sad day here.  I spent the morning operating at the government hospital on a young woman with advanced ovarian cancer.  She is still nursing her youngest.  There is no place to send her here that has an expert, so she was cared for by the doctor I worked with the last year and myself.  The surgery went as well as it could have.  She is recovering well and will be able to get chemotherapy.   While finishing the surgery, I got called to examine a nine year old that had been raped.  Not a Christmas anyone hopes for.

The population of Ethiopia is around 90 million people.  There are about 180-190 obstetrician- gynecologists in the entire country.  There is not a single gynecologic oncologist.  There are 3 or 4 oncologist and a total of 16 beds, yes, 16 beds for the entire country for chemotherapy.  The numbers are dismal at best.  The OB/GYN that I worked with at the government hospital has been accepted into a gynecologic oncology training program in Milan, Italy.  He has to figure out how to pay for his rent, food, transport, etc to go.  He plans on returning to Ethiopia when he is finished.  This could make a huge difference for the women and children of Ethiopia.  If you know of any programs, grants, scholarships, private donors, etc that could help him, please let me know.

There is an Ethiopian saying that goes like this, “When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.”  If you all could throw out some webs, we can do this!


Bajaj, Tuk-Tuk, Rickshaw

Somedays, I forget how to count.  I told you all that I was going to do three projects before I left, I am adding a fourth…  I give more than I actually have…  I want to do more than is possible here…     I have told you all many stories about Bereket and Abiti.  Leaving them is going to be heart breaking.  There is really nothing good about me leaving them other than maintaining my own sanity (and not because of them).  They are growing up and I have tried to do my best to help them.    These boys…  oh man, am I going to be a mess leaving them.

Back to what I have done.  I got a bit ambitious and spent ALL of my money on a Bajaj for the boys.  I am going back to the US without a job, so it makes me a little nervous.  I know it will work out and I will find work.  This project is to help provide long term for the boys.  I really wish i could do it on my own, but I just can’t right now.

I tried to take a picture of the bajaj I bought, but it is out working.  In looking for a picture, I came across this blog on bajajs in Ethiopia.  It has lots of pics of bajajs.http://spiderwebsunite.wordpress.com/2011/03/27/ten-reasons-to-fall-in-love-with-a-bajaj/

A few months ago, I bought a Bajaj to support the boys.  I didn’t feel like it would be wise to just pay the school, family, rent etc for six month or a year because the money would be gone in no time.  I don’t mean this as an insult, but they would use the money as an investment… start a shop, buy livestock, etc.  If it worked, great, but it didn’t then there wouldn’t be food for them.  So, I had to find a way for money to come in on a regular basis.  The way it works is that I rent the Bajaj out to a driver and that money goes towards paying the boys rent, their school fees, food and for a family to care for them.  It will also provide a job for the driver and a small amount for the person helping with the financial side of things.  There is also a young lady with two kids whose husband left her.  I have been paying for her rent ($2.75 a month).

Here is a picture of my mom, Bereket, Abiti, Askale and her children.  These are the five you would be helping.

Here is a picture of my mom, Bereket, Abiti, Askale and her children. These are the five you would be helping.

I anticipate that the life of the Bajaj will be at around five years, hopefully longer.  It cost $5000.  If it last 5 years that comes out to a cost of $83 per month to support 2 boys, help a single mom of two and provide jobs for two people.  Or if you want to look at it in days, it is $2.74 a day or $19.18 a week.  The driver pays $108 a month after oil changes.  The extra $25 a month will be used on medical care for the boys, clothes, repairs on the bajaj, English class and other needs I have forgotten.

I don’t know where the project account stands at this point, but any money given over the amount for the last projects will go towards this.  If you can support them for one day, one week or one month that would be wonderful.  To donate online go to https://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/giving/wmm_doctors/.   If you prefer mail you can mail donations to

World Medical Missions
Project #003898
PO Box 3000
Boone, NC 28607

I cannot thank you all enough for your support and generosity!

The libraries are almost completely done.  We are just waiting for the carpenter to finish building the chairs.  I will get pictures up as soon as they are finished!

Bereket recently went and visited his family in the country side.  His older brother is still on the streets.  There are 5 kids at home.  He took this pic of 4 of his siblings by their home.

Bereket recently went and visited his family in the country side. His older brother is still on the streets. There are 5 kids at home. He took this pic of 4 of his siblings by their home.

Family Visit



My mom was able to come visit for two weeks.  It was a wonderful two weeks and she got a small taste of what Ethiopia is like.  She was able to bring 6 of my nieces and nephews along for the trip.  We had a ball!  Hope you enjoy the pics.
I think my mom is beautiful!!!


Mom and her grandkids

Visiting the crocs

Visiting the crocs

Brendan and Anna needed some help with this meal.  Way to much for the two of them!

Brendan and Anna needed some help with this meal. Way to much for the two of them!

Mom Learning to Milk a Cow

Mom Learning to Milk a Cow

Lake Tana

Lake Tana

Blue Nile Falls

Blue Nile Falls

Next stop Axum.

This is were the Ethiopians say the Ark of the Covenant is kept.

This is where the Ethiopians say the Ark of the Covenant is kept.



In the tombs underneath the stela in Axum

In the tombs underneath the stela in Axum

The Churches of LalibellaSONY DSC

This place made me think of Petra, Jordan

This place made me think of Petra, Jordan

Jake, Andrew, James and Abigail at St George Church

Jake, Andrew, James and Abigail at St George Church

St. George Church

St. George Church

The whole trip did not go without incidence.  Several times Andrew's head fell off.  Good thing I am a surgeon :-)

The whole trip did not go without incidence. Several times Andrew’s head fell off. Good thing I am a surgeon 🙂 and we had toothpicks!

And at last an update.  $6500 has been raised for the projects so far.  My mom brought over the two fetal monitors as well as some other medical equipment.  Daniel has been busy logging the books and painting the libraries.  The shelves, desk and tables are made or in the process of being made.  Next step is ordering the chairs and cryogun.  More pictures of the library to come when it is completed, hopefully in the next two weeks.  My nephew, Jake, is having a birthday party this week and he has asked all of the people who are coming to give to these projects instead of gifts.  He has such a beautiful heart!  Thanks to all who have given or plan to give!

One of the students helping to paint the library, Wollaita style.

One of the students helping to paint the library, Wollaita style.


I was walking home from the hospital and a family invited me to sit with them for lunch.  I sat in the grass on the lawn of the hospital.  They offered me a jug and said “drink”.  I took the jug.  It smelled sour.  The liquid in it was white and chunky.  They told me it was milk.  I drank some.  It was more sour than it smelled.  I asked them what type of milk it was and they told me it came from their sheep.  They poured more out of a very ornate jug.  It was a tall flask, wrapped in leather.  The handle was along the side and had shells sown into it.  The lid was bright yellow with a leather top, covered in seashells and small beads cascading down the sides.  The women then fed me.  Not fed me as in offered me food, but took their bread and injera fir-fir (an ethiopian food) placed in their hands and put it in my mouth.

They wanted to know all about me.  Where was I from?  What languages did I speak?  How did I learn Amharic?  Do I know Oromo, their first language?  Their questions kept coming.  We all laughed as I stumbled through my stories in Amharic.  I was eating with the son, father, mother and two wives of a man who had just had surgery three days prior.  When we finished eating the women placed their veils back over there faces.  The only part of their face that could be seen was their eyes, but as they spoke, this time, I could hear the smiles on their faces.  God has given this muslim family the gift of hospitality.  I felt so blessed to be a part of their family for lunch.

Later that afternoon, I brought them every “American” food I could find in my house.  They got to try fruit leather, star bursts, different teas, pixie sticks, some cheese…  The father of the patient absolutely cracked me up!  He LOVED the pixie sticks.  He hid one up his sleeve like a magician and would occasionally sneak a taste of the flavored sugar.  As the tasting continued, the crowd grew.

One little boy, now nine, was born with an imperforate anus, meaning he had no exit for his stool.  He had seen someone for it and they just form a hole with their finger.  They didn’t find the right hole, so his stool just leaked out of him.  He was here to have an anus constructed, but it had failed, so they had to give a colostomy (his stool went into a bag on his stomach).  He became a part of my daily fun rounds (singing, treats, dancing and telling stories).  One day I brought him a pixie stick.  He told his dad that he didn’t want to eat it because he wanted his little sister to know how wonderful it tasted.  His dad convinced him to eat it because it was a gift for him.  The next day, I brought one for his sister.  You should have seen his smile.  He was delighted that his sister would also get one.  What a precious boy!

Another girl had been here for a month or so for skin grafts on her arm.  At the age of one she had tipped over the kerosene fire used for cooking.  After the accident her arm had healed with the forearm attached to her upper arm.  The skin grafts will give her the flexibility back into her arm.  Her dad was here with her.  She was quiet and shy, but was would seek me out everyday.  I would see her peaking over a counter or around a door.  Some days I would talk to her and she would run away, others she would jump on my lap.  My favorite day was when her mother and little brother came to visit.  She screamed and ran over to me and jumped up into my arms.  She wanted me to meet her family.

Peaking over the counter tops.

Back to the other family.  Over the next few days, I had the joy of spending time with this family.  The father has three wives.  The youngest hadn’t come to the hospital because she was pregnant with his twenty-sixth child.  They taught me how to say things in Arabic and Oromo.  The father had made sure all of the men in the family knew Arabic, so they could read the Koran.  When he was discharged, they invited me to their home.

I have tried to visit, several times, but it just hasn’t worked out.  I initially wrote this blog almost two years ago.  I left it unfinished thinking that I would be able to share with you all about the trip to their home, but it hasn’t happened.  I remember feeling so blessed by all of these people.  I remember thinking about how God has made us all so special.  He has taken the time to make each person wonderfully.  And I remember thanking Him for reminding me of this.  It is as simple as the children’s song “Jesus Loves the Little Children”.

I want to update you on the gifts you have given.  I have now posted about all three of the projects. In 19 days (as of October 29) you all donated $2, 271!  I had about $1000 in the account already.  So that puts us over $3,200.  My mom is coming next Sunday (YAY!!!!), and she will be bringing two fetal monitors.  Daniel has put in a request for the carpenter to start building the shelves for the books.  Next week, we are planning to paint one library.  And the 5,500 books made it to Soddo!!!!  We have 2 months left and I know we will be able to get this done because of how faithful you all have been.  Many Thanks!












Pickles and Ice Cream

“Pickles and ice cream, please.”  I have been waiting to actually hear a pregnant woman ask for this combo, but I may be waiting for many years.  While we are on the topic of pickles, I thought I would tell you about some.

Sick patient.  Check.  Surgeon.  Check.  Gowns.  Check.  Laryngoscope.  Check.  Light to laryngoscope… not functioning.  Laryngoscope:  appears to be a mid evil torture device, but is used to see the back of the throat to make sure you put the breathing tube , for surgery, into the lungs and NOT the stomach.   Not a big deal to have a light bulb go out, unless it is the only one in the hospital.  Next step, checking all the broken laryngoscopes for a functioning bulb.  We found some bulbs that worked, but they didn’t screw into to light socket.  They were all either too big or too small.   Solution:  pull a MacGyver.  Since we didn’t have any duct tape we used surgical tape.  The light bulb then screwed in perfectly.  We taped it into place on the outside for extra support so she wouldn’t ingest the bulb and got started on the case.

There are many things here that are solved via a MacGyver move, but many things cannot be taken care of with duct tape, a safety pen and a piece of gum.

Another problem is not being able to appropriately monitor a baby during labor.  It was not uncommon to lose a baby during labor.  Let me just clarify that most of the babies that die come in dead, but we also lose them in labor.  In the last month, we have had three babies, three beautiful, healthy babies, saved because of being able to monitor them during labor.  When I first arrived at Otona hospital the only way to monitor the babies was using a pinard.  You put one end on your ear and the other on the mother’s belly.  Then, some dopplers were donated and an electronic fetal monitor (this means you can watch the babies heart rate over a period of time, not just listen with your ear, but see it). When I left the hospital I brought the fetal monitor with me to the Christian Hospital, so now they don’t have one.

PINARD. Yep, this is how we do it!!!

Back to the good news.

Two survivors, were a mom and her little girl that we had to deliver at 30 weeks because her mother was very sick.   We had induced mom because she was so sick and the treatment/cure is delivery.  The baby was doing great and then suddenly everything changed.  We were able to get the mom to the operating room in a short time and  out came a little girl weighing in at three pounds.  She has been an amazing fighter.  She on medications to remind her to breath, she has had some problems maintaining her temperature, she developed an infection, is on medications to prevent seizures…  BUT I think she is going to make it.  She is now 2 weeks old and up to 3.4 pounds.

Saved Lives!

If you are not medical, you may not want to read this paragraph.  It isn’t gross it is just explaining the medical condition of the mother.  The mother had developed severe preeclampsia at about 27 weeks and we had been watching her for over two weeks when she went into HELLP syndrome.  When I opened the mothers abdomen for the c-section I was met by a massive hemoperitoneum.  Blood was just pouring out.  I couldn’t clear it fast enough to even see the lower uterine segment.  Finally, I just swiped the uterus with the sponge and cut where my memory told me I should.  I was asking for blood for the mom and all I could think was we are going to lose her.  I was scared the mother had gone into DIC, had a uterine rupture or had a liver rupture.  I got the baby out and we suctioned out the blood.  The uterus was completely intact, except for my incision.  I closed the uterus as fast as I could.  The incision and uterus weren’t bleeding that much, so I figured she wasn’t in DIC.  I had done a pfannenstiel incision, so I couldn’t see the liver.  I felt around the abdomen softly.  The bleeding, where ever it had come from had stopped, so I closed her up in order to get her out of the OR.  From my reading, I think she had a liver rupture or tear in Glison’s capsule.  I will never know because I didn’t look.  Scary.  Then and now.  Mortality for a liver rupture with the best of care is up to 60%.  Somehow her body took care of whatever the issue was.  It may have been the prayers that were going up.  It may have just been God’s hands, I know it wasn’t mine.

Another baby was showing signs of distress and the midwives were able to do a vacuum delivery to expedite the babies birth.  Healthy little boy.  Dr. Mark was also able to do an emergency c-section to save another, now, healthy baby.

Sophie Ness, Dr Mark and I have been doing weekly classes with the nurses and midwives on how to monitor the babies while the mom is in labor and looking for signs of distress.   Most of the work for this class was done by Sophie.  She made books explaining the patterns, found strips to review and made tests.  We just finished the coarse this week.  The difference in the 2-3 months of class has been huge!  We are now getting calls that aren’t just the baby is stressed, but accurate descriptions that help us know if we need to run or can walk to the hospital.  It has been so encouraging to see this!!!

Otona Hospital still does not have electronic fetal monitors.  They do more deliveries and are taking care of the poorer and sicker patients.  A lot, not all, but a lot of our really sick, scary patients have been transferred to us from Otona.  The doctor there has asked if I have a fetal monitor they can use.  We are always using the ones we have at the Christian hospital, but I would love to be able to give them two monitors.  I found a monitor that has good reviews and looks like a perfect fit.  One monitor is only $1400 plus shipping.

I went ahead and bought two on faith.  I do NOT have the money in my personal savings accounts to pay for these, but you all have been faithful in giving, so I know the money will come in.  Thank you for all that you do!!!  To help look at the right of the blog.  There is a link to donate or an address if you prefer to send in a check.

Spoiled Plans?

This week I had to go to Addis.  The hospital van was in Addis, so I called to make sure I could go back to Soddo with them.  We were planning on returning at 930 the next morning.  The next morning a meeting was scheduled, so the departure time moved to “after the meeting.”  Once the meeting was finished, around 1230pm, business was not finished, so the departure moved to the next day.  Then, I got a call around 4 pm saying that the next day there would be some detours on the way.  So I called my friend, Mami, to see if any of his vans were going to Soddo.  One was leaving now, so I rushed to the van.  I hired a private taxi and was trying my hardest to get there as fast as I could.  The entire way there I was getting calls from the driver saying he was leaving and didn’t want to wait any longer.  I wasn’t sure I was going to make it.

Well, I made it and it was me and the driver.  Yep, that is it!  No other passengers.  Next, we headed back into town (where I had come from) and got the tires inflated, got some new filter put in, then stopped to pick up the rest of the passengers.  The driver decided coffee would be a good option, so everyone unloaded and had coffee.  Then an officer came around.  Not real sure what was going on, but it involved almost taking the keys and lots of talking.  When he got in I tried to distract the officer and improve the mood of the bus by talking to him in his tribal tongue, he just responded to all I had to say in English.  He wasn’t impressed, but the rest of the bus enjoyed it!  Then, we stopped to get gas and then we went to another place for water and snacks.  I had now been in the van for almost 2 hours and was closer to where I had started than I was to Soddo.

This whole time I was just laughing inside.  I kept wondering where we would stop next.  Let me just say, “Welcome to Africa!”  Actually, I should say welcome to most of the world.  This trip may have been delayed, but there were a lot of things that happened on other trips that didn’t happen on this one.  We didn’t have to dodge too many donkeys, cows, camels, goats, sheep, monkeys, chickens…  We didn’t get a flat tire.  We weren’t in an accident.  The steering wheel didn’t fall off.  The axel didn’t break.  There wasn’t an electrical fire.  We didn’t have flat tires.  We weren’t transporting any chickens or other animals larger than roaches.  We didn’t get stuck in the mud.  I wasn’t sick the entire trip.  We weren’t asked to help pull the plane out of the hanger.  There wasn’t an avalanche of rocks that blocked the road.  I didn’t have to hitchhike…  The list could go on and on.

When I was in college I fell in love with the world.  I had a serious case of wanderlust!  The problem was that I didn’t have money.  I saved my pennies and would travel any chance I got.  I don’t travel like most.  What I mean by that is I spend as little as possible.  For example, I spent 4 months in South America and the least expensive hotel I stayed in was something like 14 cents.  The most expensive was $7 and I was furious that I had to pay so much.  I traveled around the continent on a budget of about $100 a month.  What that means is you take local transport and stay in the hotels the locals don’t want to stay in and get to experience a whole other part of what life there is like.  It is not a luxury vacation, it is better.

The rest of the trip to Soddo was uneventful, well, except for the hyena.  I am pretty certain I was the only one entertained by the hyena.  My fascination with them may never die.  I hear them every night, but almost never see them.  The elusive hyena! So for the rest of the ride to Soddo I was thinking about all the road drama in my travels…

While trying to get to Brazil, I snuck onto a train and just kept jumping seats as people claimed theirs.  When the conductor came along, I bribed him and ended up with the best seat on the train.  Not that I would suggest any of you do this, but this is what homesickness did to me!

One time a window fell out of the bus while we were driving along.  The driver just went back and got it and put it in the back to fix later.

On a boat ride out to an orphanage I was going to volunteer at, we ran over a dug out canoe and chopped it in half.  Luckily, no major injuries.

Another time the road was so muddy, it took us five hours to go nine kilometers.  I think snails leave trails faster than that.  At one point, I thought there was absolutely no way we would ever get out of the mud because it was above the top of tires on one side of the bus.  Thank goodness for the tractor that happened to come along!

On a horse ride in Costa Rica, I was dying of thirst.  I had been the “monster in the bathroom” part of the night.  (I wouldn’t suggest eating the steak at that hole in the wall, but I no longer remember the name of the place, so I can’t really help you avoid it.)  Then, we got stuck waiting for three hours on a pile rocks for the horses.  I arrived at the river and all I could think was “I have to drink this!!!”  So on the island, in the middle of the river, I jumped off the horse to drink from the river.  I realized I couldn’t hold the reins and drink the water, so I let go of the reins.  The horse was gone in no time, so I ended up wading across the rest of the river and then waiting for my horse to be found.

An axel on one of the buses broke and we crashed in the jungles of Paraguay.  The only way out was through a window.  The men got their machetes out and hacked through all the brush, so eventually we could go through the door.  Everyone pooled their food and drinks and we had a little buffet for dinner.  It wasn’t much, but we all had enough.  We ended up sleeping over night in the bus and building a fire to keep the animals away.  We were out in the jungle for about 10-12 hours until the next bus going the right way came along.  You get to know the people on the bus this way.  You get to hear about where they are going, who they are visiting…

Another time, I was in the back of a pick up truck and the steering wheel fell off.  That was the end of that trip.  We all got out and sat on the side of the road waiting for another truck.  I was in Northern Bolivia and the only white person in the truck, so I was their entertainment.  We couldn’t communicate with words.  Some one pulled out some paper and a pen and started drawing pictures: fish, bows and arrows, a river, huts.   About that time one of the men started explaining things to me in Spanish.  We ended up getting in the back of an Isuzu truck to get to the next town.  It was a tribe that only had about 1200 people left in it.  They mainly ate fish.  They caught them with little bows and arrows.  The tips of the arrows had something on it to slow down the animal or knock it out.  They lived in little huts that could easily be moved.  It was a treasured experience to get to meet these people.

In Guatemala, they know how to stack people into buses.  I was in a “chicken bus” or old school bus.  The lady standing in the aisle smelled horrible.  She was short, so her armpit was on my shoulder.  I was having a hard time with her body odor, but when her sweat started dripping down my arm, I lost it.  I was crawling over the people in the seat next to me and dry heaving out the window.  Now that I tell you that story, I am not sure if it was me or my friend that was dry heaving out the window.  Funny, how those memories get blurred.

While in Egypt, I had to stand for most of a 9 hour train ride because some men convinced us that we were sitting in their seats.  The ticket was in Arabic, so we thought we had misread it.  Little did we know that if you give up your seat to someone, even for lies, it now is theirs.

In Thailand, I was riding in the back of a covered pick up truck.  At the front of the bus was some Thai with numbers next to it, so I thought maybe it was the cost for the different destinations.  I pulled out the guide book, which had the cities in Thai and English, so I knew the fare.  When the guy collected the money he asked me to pay double, but I pointed to the sign and everyone laughed.  I paid the posted price.  I also learned that you shouldn’t touch anything that belongs to the monks.  I was trying to help a monk with some of his things and someone told me to stop.  They explained that if a woman touches his things, then he isn’t supposed to touch them.

I was on my way to Peru and had an overnight stop at Lake Titicaca.  The bus driver saw that I was alone and so he persisted in following me.  I went to the busiest part of town and looked for other gringos.  I saw a big table of white people in one restaurant, so I ran in and told them all to act like they had know me forever.  They immediately got up and were giving hugs, kisses on the cheek and an invitation to dinner.  My stalker left and I had a wonderful dinner with a group from Australia.

I will stop rambling.  I wouldn’t change any of these situations for a smooth ride.  So many times in life we may be upset about what is happening in the current.  I know I am guilty of this.  I am soured by the bad of the moment instead of soaking in what I can be grateful for.  How many times have I been distracted by the inconvenience that I have missed out on something amazing?

Please share your stories!  I would love to hear them.

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declared the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

A fly that has no one to advise it, follows the corpse into the grave. ~Gambia Proverb

Any guesses on what the next project might be? Here is another clue.

If you think education is expensive try ignorance. ~African Proverb

We, well primarily you, are going to help finish two school libraries here in Soddo!

Before I go any farther I want to let you know that as of the end of September, Glass of Hope has raised over $79,000 for the well!  Thank you so much for any of you that donated!!!  You can continue to follow the progress of the well at www.glassof hope.org.

Now, back to the libraries.

There are two libraries and 5,500 books will be arriving to Ethiopia on Friday.  I am very excited to be partnering with two other people in this project, Daniel Thornton and Zeleka Cholcha.  They have both spent lots of time, energy and money on this project!  Let me introduce them:

Zeleka is a contractor that grew up in Soddo.  If any of you have been following the construction at the Christian Hospital, he is the contractor of the homes for the physicians and the PAACS residents.  He was once a student at the Otona School.  He understands how important his education is and is giving back to his school by generously building a library.  The library is currently under construction and should be done in November.

The Otona School Library that Zeleka is building.

Daniel, a Peace Corp Volunteer, has been in Ethiopia for over a year and has been working in the schools.  You may have also heard his name because he has been instrumental in helping with the street boys over the last year.  He got them registered in school, was having breakfast at his house for them before school and was at my house for all the lunches and anything else with the street boys.  Here is what he has to say about his time here in the schools:

One of the primary deficiencies of the Ethiopian student is creativity.  This essential skill that should be engrained into every student is simply overshadowed by the ability to digest information through rote memorization.  In the mind of an Ethiopian student, there is one answer for one question.  Books are an instrument that can be used to break this bond and induce creativity.  Through the injection of books into the daily lives, they can be introduced to information that will challenge the way they think and help them define new ways of absorbing material.

Daniel has a shipment of 5,500 books arriving in Ethiopia Friday.  These books have been obtained through Books for Africa, which is an international organization that ships containers, each holding around 22,000 books, all over Africa.

So now, back to what this project is about.  We have “libraries” and books.  What we are missing are shelves, chairs, desks, tables, cabinets and some paint.

Books waiting for a shelf at one of the schools

Here is the breakdown of the costs:

  • Chairs (40 at $24 each) $960
  • Tables (6 at $58 each) $350
  • Shelves (7 at $193 each) $1350
  • Cabinets (2 at $85 each) $170
  • Desks (2 at $225 each) $450
  • Paint (10 at $6 each) $60
  • Small tables (4 at $85 each) $340
  • Transport of Supplies $170
  • Just in case prices change $170

Total $4000

You may have noticed that I only mentioned one school, but said two libraries.  The other school the books will be going to is Abiyot Chora.  They already have a library and a librarian, but do not have many books.  This is one of the school where Daniel has been teaching.  This school is also dear to me because it is the school that took in the street kids last year, free of charge.

A.C. School Library

The current library.

$4000 is our dream goal.  If you give just over $2,500 we will be able to buy the basics.  If you give over $4000, it will go towards other projects.  One of the projects I am considering, but do not yet have approval for, is putting in a toilet at the school.  Last year, at parent teacher conferences, they said the toilet is full.  It is just a hole that is dug deep with some sticks and dirt as walls around it.  There is a flush toilet, but the kids have to pay to use it.

Another way you could help is by sending children’s books.  This would allow your children to be a part of the giving.  You can mail an envelope here first class (USPS) for $16.85 (weight up to four pounds).  When I checked on the weight of children’s books most paperbacks were around 4-5 ounces and hard backs around one pound.  Remember that English is NOT their first language, but they are learning it.  I have already purchased some children’s Bibles in Amharic for the library.  They can be sent to me if you send them in December.  After that, please send them to Daniel Thornton.

You can mail these books to:
Stephanie Hail
Soddo Christian Hospital
Box 305
Wollaita Soddo, ETHIOPIA


Daniel Thornton
Peace Corp
PO Box 210
Wollaita Soddo, ETHIOPIA

To donate online go to:


Put my name (Hail, Stephanie) into the search at the bottom of the page and you can give online.  All donations are tax deductible.  If you prefer to mail in a check send it to:

World Medical Missions
A Ministry of Samaritan’s Purse
Project # 003898  (don’t forget to include this on the check!)
PO Box 3000
Boone, NC 28607

For any doubters on the importance of education the World Bank website talks about education being central to development of a country.  The benefits are vast.

For the individual:

  • Improved Health
  • Increased productivity and earnings
  • Reduces inequality

For society:

  • Drives economic competitiveness
  • Has synergistic, poverty reducing effects
  • Promotes peace and stability

For girls

  • Lowers infant and child mortality
  • Lowers maternal mortality
  • Protects against HIV/AIDS

And now to close with some African Proverbs about education.

Give advice; if people don’t listen, let adversity teach them. ~Ethiopian Proverb

The iron never takes advice from the hammer. ~Congolese Proverb

Ears that do not listen to advice, accompany the head when it is chopped off. ~African Proverb

If you educate a man you educate one individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family. ~Fante Proverb