Meeting Ephrem in Norwich

Blog post written by Revd Canon Nick Garrard, one of the HE Trustees

(as published in the Yarmouth Mercury)

Recently I had a fascinating lunch at Norwich Cathedral. The jacket potato was good but the company made it really special. The special guest was Ephrem Abathun, Director of Hospice Ethiopia

Ethiopia has a population of 100 million people, but only one hospice. Hospice Ethiopia operates out of a rented office in the capital, Addis Ababa. It has no inpatient unit (there are no hospice beds anywhere in Ethiopia), but a trained, dedicated team of nurses and a volunteer doctor take palliative care to patients in their homes. They also provide small grants for food for patients and their families who cannot support themselves. A couple of years ago, Norwich Diocese sponsored a second car, which enabled Hospice Ethiopia to double its caseload. They also train medical staff in pain relief, aiming to make the country’s hospitals ‘pain-free’.

Ephrem came on a whirlwind tour of England to learn more about our care methods and to talk about his hospice’s work. I was struck by Ephrem’s warmth, passion, and eagerness to learn. He was particularly interested in how we provide spiritual care for terminally ill patients, especially through the work of chaplains like my wife Helen, who is chaplain at Priscilla Bacon Lodge. Ethiopia is one of the world’s poorest countries but also the most religious. Two thirds Christian and one third Muslim: 99% of its people said that faith was important to them, compared with only 30% in the UK. Engaging with patients’ faith would help them make their spiritual journey to the end of this life and beyond. Ephrem wants the support that dying people and their families receive to be spiritual as well as physical and psychological.

Ephrem’s vision is to create a centre of excellence in Addis Ababa, where medical professionals can see palliative patient care in practice, to learn new techniques of symptom control and pain relief, and above all, to meet the needs of the ‘whole’ person. In a country where hard-pressed medical services concentrate on treating curable diseases, Ephrem’s hospice is a small voice crying out. But big things come from small beginnings, and change can come quickly. I told Ephrem about my great-grandmother. In the 1900s, she helped my great-grandfather run a pub in a poor area in Norwich. Without any training, she nursed cancer patients and performed operations next to the kitchen fire. Their pub was in sight of the hospital, but no one could afford its services. So much has changed here since. So much can change in Ethiopia too. As Christians we hope for things as yet unseen and, as St Paul tells us, hope does not disappoint us.

 

Ephrem visits the UK!

We have had a very busy and enjoyable week with the Director of Hospice Ethiopia, Ephrem in the UK. First stop was the University of Surrey for a workshop about a research project looking at using mobile phone technology to extend palliative care and symptom control to remote rural areas of Ethiopia. The rest of his stay has been in Norfolk as guests of Hospice Ethiopia UK. While here he spent a fascinating day at Priscilla Bacon Lodge (Norwich) and The Market Surgery (Aylsham), seeing first-hand how palliative care is delivered in the UK.

On Saturday, Ephrem gave an informative presentation at St John of the Cross church, Aylsham to local supporters about his tireless work to relieve the suffering of the dying in Ethiopia. The audience was much moved and over £400 was raised to aid his work.

We’ve also endeavoured to give him a flavour of life in the UK. Fish & chips at Cromer was a must – the first time he had seen the sea – as well as visits to Norwich Cathedral, Aylsham & Holt market towns. His final visit was to Aldborough Primary School, who have been loyal supporters of Hospice Ethiopia. A question & answer session stimulated some very insightful questions from the pupils.

On leaving Norfolk Ephrem said “Of all the varied experiences this week, the most memorable was visiting a patient in their own home and seeing patients at Priscilla Bacon Lodge.”

Ephrem uk visit cropped

1960s Burger & Boogie evening

1960s evening

What a swell party that was… and we raised over £5000 for Hospice Ethiopia!

Many thanks to everyone who came to the ‘Burger & Boogie 60s-style’ night for Hospice Ethiopia on June 15th.  Now that the dust has settled we can reveal that the event raised over £5,000, which is a fabulous effort and testament to the generosity of all those who support us.  Included in that are several kind donations from people who couldn’t attend the party itself, but wanted to help with the fund raising. 

Special thanks also to everyone who helped, especially Lord and Lady Dannatt, who generously gave us the use of their beautiful home, and all the donors for the raffle and auction of promises.  So many people gave freely of their time, including all our wonderful volunteers, our brilliant DJ Dan, and of course our demon auctioneer Dave Robinson. 

Words can’t express how grateful we are to you all.  As you know, the money will go to fund the wonderful work our friends at Hospice Ethiopia are carrying out.  Your generosity will make a huge difference to desperate people. 

Thank you. 

 

Patient story

Your donations have helped transform the life of Patient M, a 30 year old married woman with two girls. She has HIV and colorectal cancer for which she has had surgery and the formation of a colostomy. She was suffering from the worst possible rectum pain, with a foul smelling wound on her bottom, anxiety, sadness, poor sleeping, and a poor appetite. She used to survive by doing daily labour work and her husband the same. She became bankrupt when bedridden and suffered a lack of adequate food for her and her family. Her husband was struggling to taking care of her because of the bad smell, lack of his nursing skills and lack of wound dressing materials.

patient M

The Hospice Ethiopia nurse has seen M in her home and delivered holistic care and support (after a thorough assessment) including pain management, wound care, psychological support, financial support (Comfort Fund), food support, gauze and solution for wound care and has taught M’s husband how to care for her wound.

Spring fundraising

Fundraising has got off to a good start this year with several successful events in Aylsham and further afield. Steph & Wendy’s cake stall raised a magnificent £140.65 and Tim Morgan swam 5km (the third year running that he has swum in aid of Hospice Ethiopia UK) and raised an amazing £1,388. Sue & Jamie enjoyed a warm reception at Horncastle Lions and Rotary club dinner and following their presentation were delighted with over £1,100 being donated.lions horncastle

Upcoming event

1960’s style

Burger ‘n’ Boogie

Saturday 15th June 2019

At

The Mill House, Keswick, Norwich

By kind permission of Lord & Lady Dannatt

in aid of Hospice Ethiopia

2 course meal + dancing+ auction of promises+ raffle from 7pm

Tickets: £35

(£30 early bird bookings before May 1st)

Tickets from: Clare Glenn 01263 734853 or Eventbrite

Successful fundraising in November & December 2018

We had a number of successful events to round off 2018; in particular the Big Give, which ran from 27th November to 4th December. We had hoped to raise £8,000 which meant we needed our donors to give £4,000 which would then be matched to raise £8,000. In fact, our donors gave £5,007 (£4,000 of which was doubled) and with Gift Aid the total raised was over £10,000. A fantastic result, which we could not have achieved without so many of our donors taking part.

Other events included Mary Lamb’s Open House event in December, which raised over £2,477, and the Bridge event at the Bishop’s Palace in Norwich, which raised over £1,450.
Below is our Hospice Ethiopia tree, at the St Michael’s Church Christmas Tree Festival in Aylsham:
Xmas tree
Many thanks for all your support in 2018 and wishing everyone all the best for 2019!