Dr. Ted Belanger, Spine Surgeon at Texas Back Institute has been leading a medical team to Ethiopia for the last several years. Their mission is to help people with severe spinal conditions with the latest in medical technology and techniques. Continue to follow their journey here on our blog.
Today is Dr. Belanger and Toni’s 12 year Anniversary! Abe, our driver, brought them an amazing bouquet of flowers this morning when he came to pick us all up to go to the hospital. Early this morning Dr. Cliff Hancock, Dr. Belanger’s fellow, flew into town. We showed him around the hospital and he helped us with clinic day. Toni reserved today to be clinic day to follow up with all of their patients from the past two years. Hymonat, amongst many others, walked in with a huge smile. Hymonat was a case from a couple of years ago who had ankylosing spondylitis just like Alayu Letek did this year. He was Dr. Belanger’s first case like that and brough him in the U.S. due to the severety of the case. Hymenat was found on the church steps a few years back after his family had abandoned him for his deformity. He now has a job and a place to live. He brought gifts for both Dr. Belanger and Toni and wanted “Cheryl mom” (Cheryl Zapata, Chief Development Officer at Texas Back Institute and host to Hymenat in 2015) to know that he misses her and that he says hi. A lot of hugs were exchanged today and it is truly amazing to see how lives have been changed. We finished clinic earlier today and got back to the hotel around 3 pm. Abe took Julia, April, Kevin, and Jonathon to the highest point of Addis to get some good pictures. We then went to see the largest open-air market in Africa. There were so many people and cars that we could barely move. It was really cool to see and helped us realize how many people there are in Addis!