Excerpt from the Soroptimist International Blog »
Our new Juniper Café is soon to be opened near the lake at Desta Mender, and set among many juniper trees! It is near our teaching or conference centre where we hope to attract groups, who want a pleasant place to hold a day conference, and where they can buy food from our café. We are enormously grateful to the Soroptimist International organisation for raising all the money for this café through the 2007 and 2008 President’s Day Appeals, called “Restoring Dignity”. We want to thank the President of the Soroptimists for those 2 years, Margaret Lobo, for choosing the Hospital to be the recipient of this large donation – which also paid for a hard-top vehicle for use at Desta Mender. We hope Ms. Lobo will visit us for some celebrations in May or June and will then be able to unveil a plaque in the café telling of the assistance provided by so many Soroptimist women.
We are sure this will be a great attraction, not only to help us financially, but to make known the plight of so many fistula sufferers in this great country.
Dr E. Catherine Hamlin AC
About Desta Mender: Rural Village for patients who cannot be completely cured
A small number of patients (about 3% of those treated) are so badly damaged in childbirth that they cannot be cured. These patients are fitted with an external bag for their urine. Continuing medical care is essential. Yet despite this affliction, most of the patients are able, and want to do some light work.
In 2000, the Ethiopian Government gave the hospital a parcel of 21 hectares (60 acres) of rural land outside of Addis Ababa for them to build a “self-help” village for these patients. A large dam to provide water for the gardens and livestock, has been built.
A “Design Plan” for the overall development of the site was prepared by an Australian Architect, Mr Ridley Smith. An Ethiopian firm of Architects, Abba Associates from Addis Ababa, has supervised the construction.
The building development of the village has been completed. Patients are moving into occupation. The village will initially provide accommodation for 100 women. There are ten self-contained cottages. Each cottage accommodates ten patients. A supervisor lives on-site and there is adequate staffing.
The residents of the Village are being taught skills in agriculture, farming and craft work.