Hamlin Fistula UK

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Desta Mender Special Feature - Scenes of life at the Village

Desta Mender is a place of great activity and regeneration.  Ladies whose injuries are not totally curable can come here to live while they adapt to their changed circumstances.  Here they learn new skills which will equip them for life back in their villages, allowing them to be productive members of their communities.  The Village is self-supporting, growing its own vegetables, raising its own dairy herd and also chickens.  The ladies all join in the various chores, learning as they go.  The name Desta Mender means Joy Village and it truly is a place of hope and happiness.  Some photos here show the various skills that the ladies are perfecting which will enable them to sell goods and earn their keep.  These include cookery, making traditional Ethiopian woven dishes, knitting, fine embroidery and sewing with an aim to advancing to dressmaking.

Many ladies make these baskets with quite intricate patterns in them.

Here, one of the ladies is knitting a shawl.  
  Some of the ladies are keen to learn sewing and they produce gowns and other accessories for the operating theatres.
And as all good seamstresses know, pressing is one of the most important contributions to the finished garment.  
  The vegetable garden provides food for the Village as well as surplus produce which is used in the main hospital in Addis.
  The cooks with the excellent feast they prepared and served to the UK Trustees during their visit to the Village.

The Village

A collage showing the homes and the central tukul which serves as a community centre.  Ephrem manages the Village with expertise, skill and compassion.  An example of his skills - he's even learning how to make apple pie in order to use up some cooking apples from trees they planted.  Apples are not endemic to Ethiopia but everyone loves them.  The next trees to be planted will be eating rather than cooking and these can then be sold to help support the Village.

Midwifery School

The Hamlins first came to Ethiopia to set up a midwifery school but when they saw the extent of the fistula problems, they dedicated their time and talents to treating the unfortunate victims.  Forty years passed before the original dream could begin to take shape.  Adjacent to the original Desta Mender site are the grounds for the Midwifery School.  There is a school building already being used and another being built.  Annette, the current Head of the school is overseeing everything and bringing it all together.  There are students hard at work learning their skills, and accommodation in the traditional village style is provided.  (See Midwifery College page for current status.)  





This site was last updated 20/10/10