We had a day off yesterday and the Rotaracts planned a variety of tours for us to choose from – a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the island monasteries , a short trip down the Blue Nile , a hike to visit the Blue Falls (spectacular) and/or a trip to Gondar to see the ancient castles. It was a welcome relief for fresh air, sunshine and some beautiful scenery. Now we are rejuvenated and ready for tomorrow’s surgeries.

We have seen and assessed 107 patients ranging in age from 8 months to 72 years. As of the end of today, we completed 54 surgeries. We have an additional 24 surgeries slated over the next two days for a total of 79. Our numbers are fewer this trip but several of the surgeries have been long repairs of burn scars which take many hours to complete. We have had two children with malaria and one with possible typhoid which we treated prophilactically.

In rural Ethiopia, the women tend to do the work on the farms so it is often the fathers or uncles who bring the children to the clinic. They are great caregivers. One young father was helping all the children in our very crowded post op room.

Many children arrive in rags ,filthy dirty-the showers are not working so we try to do sponge baths before surgery and give them the children’s clothes we have brought with us .We have been giving some of the adults our own shirts to wear.

It is 7:30 pm now, many of our team are still with our patients. They often don’t get back to the hotel until 8 or 9 pm.

Our post-op patients often have no water, juice or food for their children as all their Birr was used to travel here, often very long distances. Thanks to your donations we are able to provide juice and water. Most of the babies don’t have diapers so they pee and poop on the floor which creates havoc for the other children and staff.

Some of your cash donations have gone to purchase the apple juice and water. One of the biggest hits has been the soccer balls that were purchased prior to the trip. Soccer is “the” national sport evidenced by the large crowd in a makeshift theatre across from our hotel, with rows of wooden benches and a sheet for a screen.

Every day there are “happy tears” from staff, patients and families. One 12 year old boy was so excited that he can now go to school! Long days but well worth the outcome – so rewarding to see young children, even toddlers see their new smile in the mirror with expressions of disbelief. The operative word here is KONJO (beautiful).

We are grateful to be able to make this happen. Your donations have changed the lives of 79 children, many families, and all our staff.

AMESEGINALEHU – thank you in Amharic