July 2010 marked the end of fifty years of MMM presence in Ethiopia.
It was hard to say farewell. Like Sisters Jo Ann Mullen and Colette Ryan above, our Sisters have covered thousands of miles using many means of transport, including jeep and mule. For some of their work they often remained away from their base mission for a month at a time, living in tents among the people in their villages.
Since we first went to Ethiopia in 1960, thirty-seven MMMs have served in seven of Ethiopia’s fourteen provinces and in the administrative region of Addis Ababa.
Sisters have been involved in work with people with Hansen’s disease, with people with disabilities, with pastoralists, in general medical services, in the struggle to prevent the spread of HIV, and in the care for those infected and affected by the virus. We were also involved in famine relief work, in running the health department at the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat, and in administration at the Conference of Major Religious Superiors.
Our years in Ethiopia included some of the country’s hardest times, when the Regime was oppressive and providing health services was extremely difficult. There were good times as well and we learned a great deal about the history and culture of this deeply spiritual country. Its Christian roots go back to Biblical times.
Before we left a careful review of our work during these fifty years was carried out.