Rental Values.

Maybe because we want too much, but the average Australian now has difficulty in buying a home. The cost is high, and many rent all their lives.

A relative of ours went out to the hospital where we worked at no cost to the hospital or government except that they were to provide housing. He stayed for about 3 years working during the day in the hospital area as a general, very handy, handyman. He taught a lot of evenings and weekends in a local church run vocational school. So rental was free but I wonder how much it would have gone for on the market as a rental property? I’ll show you a few pictures to put in a brochure. The young local graduated doctors refused to live in it. Could you blame them?

The entrance
Going inside
The lounge room
The toilet
The kitchen

There were pretty good views nearby.

A panoramic view from the hotel where official hospital visitors stayed.
The left hand lake as seen in the photo above now viewed standing outside his back door! You could increase the rental for the view! Lake Abaya is 60X20 km at its longest and widest points.

As I said above he stayed for several years and in his spare time and at personal cost did an enormous amount of work on it as part of his gift to the work. When it was finished and he was thinking of leaving, he was invited to leave soon. They wanted the renewed house for visiting lecturers.

(In praise of him he also started a tax free fund for a building for the locally run vocational school. It is now up and looking good!). His reward is in the satisfaction of a job well done. His thanks will ultimately come from above the clouds.

Dominic Cartier

Looks or Character? – A nightmare!

I remember hearing a famous speaker talking about the above subject and coming down on the side of character but also saying but noone wants to sit down at the breakfast table every morning looking at a nightmare! Some of us have the problem with even looking in a mirror!

According to my policy I warn you that there are two pictures under the line – with no sores nor any blood – but seeing them is essential to reading my thoughts for today.

Continue reading “Looks or Character? – A nightmare!”

Pictures or Words?

Already some people have indicated their gladness because I put a marker across my posts if I’m going to show a few medically mild photographs. We all have different backgrounds but I’ve been thinking a bit lately about this issue. I wonder what people do when watching a news presentation about rioting or some natural disaster or catastrophic event and a nasty scene comes on. Do they immediately turn them off? Is it possible or wise to hide from these terrible realities?

Thinking again, I wonder if more damage is done by what enters the mind via the eyes or through the ears. Reports of the political discussions about the very abnormal sexual behaviour being accommodated, or the legal destruction of life, both at its beginning and its end, entering the mind by reading or hearing, in my thinking, immunises minds against truth. I’ve read of high school kids being expelled for insisting that there are only 2 sexes. I personally think the authorities should be expelled.

Some may explain me away as a psycho-pathological religious nut. But it is they who are forsaking science for emotive who-ha. Please don’t think that I’m totally naive.

I had a young trainee Orthodox priest come to me with his penis halfway severed through because he, as a normal young man, was having difficulties balancing normal human reactions to the monasteries insistence on celibacy. He was trying to cut off his problem.

I’ve had to deal with a pre teenage child brought up as a girl but with strong desires to be male. On examination he had testicles but a grossly deformed penis, and no female organs. I won’t show you the pictures, which I have.

I’ve had to deal with a young man who often had meals with us, who as Orthodox got a Muslim girl pregnant. He was too terrified to tell his father so he used me as a listening ear. I said if you want an abortion you’re talking to the wrong person. He replied that neither he nor the girl wanted that. They had obviously discussed it. We had good talks, but in the end I said he had to talk to his father but that I would go with him. I had discovered that he was the illegitimate son of his father, but had been brought up with the family’s other children by the father’s wife and treated as one with the other kids some older, some younger than him. 

The father booted him out of the house and stated he never wanted to see him again. We cared for him until the ‘mother’ persuaded his father to take him back some weeks later. 

The girl was not prepared to meet me, but the young man and I had input with her. She, too, was unprepared to talk with her family. He could have remained quiet but she had an expanding reason to do something. So while her father was away she spoke to her mother who demanded that she have an abortion. The mother explained that her father would kill her if he ever found out that she was pregnant and particularly to an Orthodox boy. Eventually she was, very tearfully, dragged off to the local American run abortion clinic and the child’s life terminated.

Am I being judgemental in discussing these things? I guess the answer in some ways is ‘yes’. Are there many things with which I disagree? Celibacy should be chosen not forced; a decent look at the child could have seen testicles and no vagina; he explained that he had erections but although everything became hard nothing stood up except for an intense C-shaped thing; intecourse runs the risk of pregnancy – so although not uninformed the pair were stupid. I would say that intercourse is intended to be within marriage but I recognize that is an unpopular concept these days. However, the knowledge of pregnancy prevention is well known and easily obtained; I can’t understand the parents behaviour on either side. Am I judgemental? Maybe, but I sought to help without verbalized criticism to anyone except for the young man, who was like a son to me. Certainly I didn’t reject him.

I loved treating kids. Under the line are some of my ‘kids’. I challenge you to look at them and see them as real people! You will see some dressings but no open wounds.

Continue reading “Pictures or Words?”

Haile Selassie – a slide discovered.

I’ve mentioned Emperor Haile Selassie in previous posts. I’ve met him, liked him and thought that he did a lot to help his country advance. He created an elected government with partial power. I think basically as an advisory body; he gave up a palace to open the country’s first University; he was very cooperative with foreigners in the country, who were there to help with education and health etc.

He was put under house arrest when the Derg arrested him and took over power. A bit later he had prostatic surgery and was doing well. He was seen on the day before his death by the Professor of Medicine (who had looked after me when I had heart problems) and was declared fit and progressing well. The next day the Professor was ordered to sign a death certificate. I presume he requested a post-mortem, because of his good health the day before, which was denied, and within a couple of days the Professor was dead, and nobody knew where the Royal remains were.

Years later, after the Derg was overthrown, the truth came out. He had been suffocated with a pillow and buried five metres under Mengistu HaileMariam’s desk. Mengistu was the Derg leader. His remains were dug up and buried with much pomp and ceremony in the church where his Majesty had regularly worshipped.

I could say a lot more very interesting stuff about him but I came across a slide in my present cataloging mania. The background to it is interesting, or at least it is to me.

The emperor, in his care for the very poor, had a hospital (Kidus Paulos, St Paul’s) built for the free treatment of the very poor. In the the foyer there was a beautiful mural painted in his honour. With his overthrow his followers felt that the Derg would certainly destroy the mural. So they rapidly but carefully had a false wall built to cover it. The wall wasn’t discovered by the Derg.

After the overthrow of the Derg, when I returned to Ethiopia, I was appointed to Kidus Paulos and was there when the false wall was pulled down. Hence the picture below.

There are some very interesting things about the mural.

  • He was a short man but he is the tallest in the picture. There is a foreigner in the line up of dignitaries and the medical advisor to his government was a Scandinavian.
  • The hospital building looked just like it is painted in the mural.
  • The angel has its wings painted in the Ethiopian flag colours, but interesting in that the order is reversed. Usually the green is on top. In times of war they are reversed so that red is on the top.
  • It was the sunrise of a new era of caring for the poor and the crowd is obviously ecstatic.

Dominic Cartier

Who deserves or wants praise.

Getting old, if nothing else gives you time to think. Someone very generously nominated me for an Australian medal, and justifiable or not, it was granted to me. Twice I’ve been nominated as Australian of the Year, but I didn’t by a million miles deserve it and didn’t get it. Perhaps what I cherish most is a simple piece of paper which my medical students gave me when I was retiring.

So what am I really writing about?

We had the chance to listen in on zoom to a funeral this week. The funeral of an old lady who died at 96 in an old folks home, well cared for but at the end separated from her family because of the Covid precautions, except for daily visits by her husband. She did not get the disease. She had written a book about her experiences, which I had enjoyed, but the funeral service was a great reminder. Her husband outshone her in the eyes of the world in which they lived, or so it seemed to me. But as I listened to the service, heard the eulogies and then watched the slide show, I couldn’t help thinking that she deserved an AM much more than I do. As a child she only had an education up to grade three, but then as a young adult went on to become a triple certificated nurse. Became a nurse in the back blocks of Ethiopia, raised a family of four and still managed to achieve what I mention below. There are now tens of thousands of women emancipated and brought into real liberated life, in the Omo Valley region of Southern Ethiopia because of her work amongst women in the churches which were founded through the work of her husband and others. You could almost envisage a halo hovering above her coffin. She was a great lady.

Or I remember bringing a young down-country teenager who had never played a musical instrument, nor ever even seen a piano, into a room where a lady was playing beautifully. He listened in amazement, and when she left he went and sat down at the piano and played with the notes. Minutes later he was playing the tunes of the local songs he knew from his countryside background. Amazing – to me, who occasionally while singing accidently hits the correct note! What talent. I remember a visiting doctor friend saying that he wondered how many young geniuses were lying with bare bottoms up to the sun just watching a few animals.

Or now we have a young man (at least 25 years younger than me) living with us so that my wife and I can remain living on our little farm. He’s very naughty because he does lots of things that he doesn’t have the pieces of paper which the government want tending to confuse them for ability. He fences, builds roads, adds a patio, builds a small kitchen and replaces cracked walls inserting windows to bring light into a darkened area, puts in electrical points, answers all my questions that I need answered to keep my computer working, and many other things. But no one employs him because all of his Tertiary degrees (4) are seen as impractical. They are linguistic and theological and not seen as practical. His wife left him, so some denominations have taken away his licence to preach; others are so liberal that he cannot sign their bases of belief.

Among my slide sorting I have come across two pieces of paper which give me more joy than the several accolades which I have been given. I share them with you.

The undersigned were all final year medical students, who asked me in addition to teaching them medicine to give them some Bible teaching. You may be able to understand why sometimes I found their English a bit difficult.

They are more important than this…

There were a number of expatriates, mainly from India and the Philippines, but I was the only white person in the department of health and there were only two of us on staff in the University. Arba Mintch University had 39,000 students in 2018. The hierarchy of the University were very gracious to me but the words of a child patient and of 5 students mean more to me. I’m not ungrateful for the several go away functions and the gold medal, but a patient’s or a pupil’s thanks is worth so much more.

Dominic Cartier