Norma – Midwives Save Lives

Jackie introduced Norma. As one of our best known members, Norma hardly needs an introduction. She encompasses all that is good about Rotary. Always positive, welcoming, and a tireless volunteer, Norma is a friend to everyone she meets.
Norma loves to travel to remote and unusual locations, so when the opportunity to visit Ethiopia to see the work being done to help midwives by our district, in partnership with Cuso, she did not hesitate to go.  
The Midwives Save Lives (MSL) initiative will help reduce deaths and illness in women and their newborns and ensure safe childbirth by strengthening the availability, access to and quality of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health services delivered through midwives Ethiopia. Activities include developing and delivering training, mentoring and providing equipment to midwifery instructors, and facilitating meetings to review and discuss national regulatory and licensing infrastructure for midwifery.
The four-year project (2016-2020) will send more than 50 volunteers to these four countries, with approximately 13 short-term placements (one month) and more than 40 long-term placements (up to one year).
Norma shared images of the hospitals and clinics she visited. They were in poor condition, and lack basic medical equipment. As a result, most women do not give birth is these facilities, and infant mortality is high. While the people are very poor, the hospital staff members they met were positive and very welcoming.
After touring with Cuso, Norma took the opportunity to explore the country on her own and traveled north. Ethiopia is a very old country, with a rich history. Her tour included the following locations:
Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa is Ethiopia’s capital and the country’s commercial and cultural hub. Its National Museum exhibits Ethiopian art, traditional crafts and prehistoric fossils, including replicas of the famous early hominid, "Lucy." The burial place of the 20th-century emperor Haile Selassie, copper-domed Holy Trinity Cathedral, is a neo-baroque architectural landmark.
Gondar is known for the walled Fasil Ghebbi fortress and palace compound, once the seat of Ethiopian emperors.
Bale National Park
Bale National park is located 400km southeast of Addis Ababa, Bale Mountains National Park contains a spectacularly diverse landscape. The high altitude, afro-montane Sanetti Plateau rises to over 4,000m and includes the highest peak in the southern Ethiopia highlands. It is home to many endangered species.
Aksum is known for its tall, carved obelisks, relics of the ancient Kingdom of Aksum. Most are in the northern Stelae Park, including a huge fallen pillar, now in pieces. Centuries-old St. Mary of Zion is a Christian church and pilgrimage site believed to have housed the biblical Ark of the Covenant. The neighboring Chapel of the Tablet is said to contain the Ark today.
Lalibela is a town known for its distinctive rock-cut churches dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, which are pilgrimage sites for Coptic Christians. Carved out of rock, the subterranean monoliths include huge Bete Medhane Alem, and cross-shaped Bete Giyorgis. Many are joined by tunnels and trenches, and some have carved bas-reliefs and colored frescoes inside.
Norma was thanked by Nilam
Unfortunately, Norma’s slideshow presentation ran into technical issues, and time ran short. However, in thanking Norma for her presentation, Nilam let her know that we would like her to present more about her trip at a future meeting. We look forward it!
A copy of Norma’s presentation will be posted on our website.