Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Norwegian National Anthem

Hospital activity, Barb's new stove, Norwegian students

Activity continues at rapid pace in the hospital. The usual rotation of visiting medical personnel each month and new faces on hospital-related business reminds us of the significance of this facility and its mission. Mr. Kim is constantly meeting with visitors and dignitaries looking to MCM to meet their healthcare needs. Our new CT Scanner, C-Arm, and radiology equipment are ready to be installed and anticipate will be up and running by Christmas. Revised long-range plans were announced last week. The timetable for the medical school and nursing school has been accelerated, and expansion of the outpatient and inpatient facilities, including a new 4 story wing, will begin soon. It is exciting to be on board for the journey.
    We went shopping and bought Barbara a new stove. It’s about half the size of our stove at home. Cute little fellow. They sell the cord separately but no plug! So we searched and plugged it in. OK for the first 20 minutes but then the breaker flipped. How do you explain "blew a fuse" or "tripped the breaker" in Korean or Amharic in the middle of the night? Lots of sign language! She’s working now and Barbara has surprised herself with some great high-altitude creations (8,000 ft. here).

    The Norwegian medical students have left for Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro, do a safari, and then to Zanzibar before returning to Norway. They had 3 research projects they initiated here and presented  at grand rounds last week. On the night of their departure they all came to our apartment for farewell wishes. Seven students and 5 others of us gathered around our table in the tiny kitchen. It was a delightful, spontaneous, and cozy event. Their positive attitude and enthusiasm will be missed by all.

    Our Sign nail sets are on their way. We are anxious to use them in our treatment of fractures as this will be a big step forward in improving care. Dr. Luis Arrazola, a transplant surgeon from Seattle, has been with us doing biliary and hepatic surgery (not transplants). The surgeons are grateful for his teaching skills. The volunteer neurosurgeons from Denmark and Norway are much appreciated.

-- Don

Sunday, October 11, 2009


It has been raining here for several days and that makes for chilly days. Our next door neighbor, the mother of my little students, brought us an electric heater that looks like a fan. It even rotates. Quite interesting and efficient. I don't think I have seen anything like it in the states.
    We have been showered with kindness since coming. I have been brought pumpkin soup, rice soup, fried seaweed, potato pancakes, some kind of Korean sushi-type little rolls, and French fries, which by-the-way were superb and one of the best things we've had since arriving. A runner up in the food category are the homemade wheat rolls brought to us by one of the MCM doctors. His maid makes them and they are big, soft, and yeasty, with just the right amount of rye seed in them. Don and I could not resist and sat right down and ate one. Most of the bread here is quite dry and part of that may be due to the altitude and baking without making allowances for the 8,000 feet we live in. At least our two high-altitude cookbooks talk a lot about baking, especially bread, and the adjustments that must be made.

-- Barb

Friday, October 2, 2009

September 30, An Eventful Day!

Seventh-Day Adventist School/Clinic
Dr. Fekede and his sister, Harget, came to pick us up at 9:30. Dr. Fekede is an Ethiopian physician, living in California, but makes frequent visits to Addis and through the years has developed a school and clinic on the outskirts of Addis. The family of his sister’s husband have held this land for over 5 generations and managed to retain 35 acres after the takeover by the communists. They have developed this site into a school for pre-school children through the eighth grade. We toured the school site and visited the children in their classes, each with 50-60 students. It seemed that most of the classes had one or two teachers. On entering, the children would stand and with smiling faces greet us in unison, “Good morning!” They are taught English as part of the curriculum.
    This is a lovely setting and well-thought-out planning is evident from solar power and solar oven, to vegetable farming, a dairy, to crafts and seamstress courses for parents that might want to learn a trade to earn extra income.
A brand new out-patient clinic is in the final stages of preparation. It also is well designed and will be well furnished with modern medical equipment. We will explore the possibility of mutual cooperation with MCM. A hospital in Florida sent a container of medical supplies, which had just arrived. The clinic should soon be ready to open.
    Dr. Fekede and his sister, Harget, are dear new friends who made us feel like we’ve known them forever. We look forward to working with them in their ministry. (See slideshow in sidebar.)

Korea Day
While out on the farm with Harget and Dr. Fekede, I got a call to promptly return to the hospital. Mr. Kim, MCM administrator, asked me to attend a luncheon at the Sheraton with the Korean ambassador! What was this all about? It was only some men from the hospital staff being invited and the proper attire may require wearing a suit. It is Korea Day, but not really. Korea Day is October 3, the celebration of the founding of the country. But it’s Barbara’s birthday…however, she insisted I go, as Mr. Kim needed me. I did have teary eyes as I entered the room and was overwhelmed by all the things that she would have loved to see. There was a long colonnade passageway and at the end a reception line of 3 couples. I was pushed ahead to be first to meet the ambassador, his wife, attach├ęs and their wives. There was much bowing and greeting, even I got into the custom. The ladies dresses were stunning. I was speechless after the receiving line, and tried to absorb all that I was seeing and hearing. There were huge tables of exquisite foods from Korean, Ethiopian, Italian, to French pastries. These delicacies were a delight to the eyes. It seems that those in attendance represented every nationality.
    I was introduced to several groups of Ethiopian veterans. These were proud, distinguished gentleman, most in their eighties, who had served in Korea during the conflict in the 1950’s. A special fondness for Korea was evident and this feeling was reciprocal, I’m sure.
    “Dr.Pearson” I would hear, as I wove through the crowd taking pictures. Mr. Kim introduced me to so many friends of various nationalities. He was gracious and was always greeted warmly. My colleagues, Dr. Einar and Dr.Kjell Magna, joined us with Dr. Kim, the chairman of the MCM steering committee in Seoul, and Mr. Kim, MCM administrator. It was a memorable experience. Next year we’ll waive Korean custom, and we’ll crash the party with Mrs. Kim and Barbara! (See slideshow in sidebar.)

Birthday Party
A dinner party at the Top View restaurant was arranged for Barbara’s birthday. Lillian Eriksen invited 14 ladies to join together for dinner. Barbara’s comment, on hearing how many were to attend, was, “I don’t know 14 ladies here! Why would they want to come to a party for someone they don’t know?” It was indeed an international event with one lady from Finland, one from Sri Lanka, another American, and the remainder from Norway. Barbara met and made new and interesting friends, who were very special to come to her celebration.
    She received many wishes from America, hugs by the Korean family, and best wishes from the Norwegian medical students that are here. She was brought an arrangement of roses by Soon Jae, the MCM chef. “Debra,” Pastor Lee’s wife, made a 3-foot tall balloon “angel,” an art of creating figures by twisting and tying balloons. They brought her sweets and sang Happy Birthday to her. It was an unforgettable birthday! (See slideshow in sidebar.)

-- Don