Project Stories:

Providing relief in the African bush

A review by Daniel Warkentin

by Daniel Warkentin/LKO, 2016/02/04

Since nearly four years now humedica regularly sends intervention teams to the South of Ethiopia to provide essential medical care for the members of the Kara tribe, which lives very secluded. Recently, nurse Daniel Warkentin from Rengsdorf was part of the team. His review illustrates what kind of challenges such an intervention far away from any civilisation may involve.

In between adventure and assignment

„I have been looking forward to this three weeks intervention at the end of 2015 for a long time. I was eager to learn what would await me in this country at the horn of Africa still unkown to me. The plan was to provide medical aid for the Ethiopian Kara tribe in cooperation with local helpers, who had worked time and again within this tribe in South Oma Valley for a while now and had already established good contacts.

To reach our goal, we had to cope with several impediments such as difficult weather conditions and therefore had to reorganise our plans time and again. Due to the fact that the rainy season started a month later than usual, the streets we had to take on our two-day tour from the capital Addis Ababa to the South were in a bad condition and sometimes even impassable. Just a few kilometres away from our destination we finally had to stop and decided to set up our camp in the village Korcho 15 kilometres away.

First we had to find a suitable location for our camp, i.e. near the village but also far enough away to allow a certain degree of privacy under „jungle conditions“. Having found an appropriate site we set to work and in the pouring rain constructed our camp in the middle of the African bush.

Thanks to the help of the local villagers we even had fresh water from the nearby Omo river in the first days. After filtering it with the so-called „Muringa“ root, we could take a shower observed by the cavorting monkeys. By starting our assignment this way I rather felt like taking part in an outdoor adventure than in a humedica intervention in the beginning.

But quickly the medical treatment of the Kara tribe members had to follow. A school served as central place and storage for our medics, where the patients could describe us their afflictions with the help of a translator. Besides prior diseases such as malaria, infections, stomach pains and vitamin deficiency we also medicated several wounds.

After having treated the Kara people in the Korcho village for one week, we decided at short notice to help also its neighbour tribe Hamar. In the village Turmi we found accommodation in the facilities of another relief organisation, from there we travelled to several Hamar villages to provide medical aid.

During our three-week assignment we could treat about 1.100 patients. I sincerely hope that these people in the deepest Africa do not only remember us because of the healing pills, but can also confront their often harsh daily life strengthened and motivated by the practical charity.

Overall this was a very challenging and strenuous time and I think that after these three weeks every team member was glad to return home safe and healthy. Nevertheless, in the course of this assignment I could gain experiences I would not want to miss. It is rewarding and encouraging to know that our live is in the hands of God and his plans for us are the best.”

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