Well I’m here in Africa, Addis Ababa Ethiopia to be precise. I’m here till Sunday as plane only goes to Gambella, the region where I’ll be based the next 6 months, three times a week.
Flight from Paris with Ethiopian airlines left a lot to be desired! No TV or entertainment apart from a guy on one side bowing to Mecca and the guy on the other continually crossing himself, both praying out loud. Thank god for sleeping tablets! But no blankets and it was so cold I couldn’t sleep and when I asked for water the airhostess pointed at a bottle and cup to go help myself! Anyway the moon was huge and appeared very close and then the sunrise was a spectacular blend of yellows and oranges topped with the purple/grey dawning over the desert!
Ethiopia is in the GMT+3 hours time zone, based on international guidelines. Please note that Ethiopians calculate the start of the day differently than most of us are used to, and per local Ethiopians calculations the start of the day (0 am) is actually already 6 am for most of us. Important to clarify / remember when scheduling a meeting for say 4 in the afternoon that you mean just that and not 10 in the morning local time.
Ethiopia follows the Julian instead of the Gregorian calendar, which consists of twelve months of 30 days each and a thirteen month of five or six days. It is 7 ½ years behind the Gregorian counting system. The Ethiopian New Year is on September 11th.
So as it is I’ve been travelling to mid 2004 and at what time???? NO idea! So in fact I’ve been going in in my thirties! Ha ha I wish!
I have 4 briefings today with members of the coordination team in Addis so I hope I can stay awake as I’m back to the not really here feeling! The coffee is very good and VERY strong.
My position as outreach nurse is to focus on under 5 years old and prenatal. And there’s no doctor on the mobile clinic and no midwife! But If I can find one I can employ them! There is health officers, sort of like training medicos that will be my main support until I can get the patients back to the clinic. So I’m feeling a bit more stressed about the clinical aspects now without much back up.
But no problems with ANACONDAS! Well not much but plenty of vipers, wild cats and huge 2 meters long lizards in the compound!!! Outside the main wildlife to be concerned with is LIONS! , baboons and mad cows with very big horns! Also a huge amount of gazelles and antelopes, and birds. They all say it’s a totally remote but fantastic place that’s unique! So anyway I like the sound of these cats, which I’m told aren’t scared of people and I’ll be interested to identify them as they are tall slim and have very long tails! Puss Puss Puss, I’m gonna get me a pet!!!
All the team I’ve met so far are really nice and seem pretty relaxed. A great mix of international staff. There are 6 in the Mattar team from all over so I can’t wait to travel to the field and get into it!