No interview this week, I guess it will be in the next issue.
Summary of article in Billed Bladet #9, 2015.
Written by Ulrik Ulriksen.
This week basically covers the second part of the visit. That is the working part out in the field. The reception at the embassy will probably be covered next week as well.
On day two of the visit it was off to north-eastern Ethiopia, to the Afar region, where 92 % of all girls are circumcised and it is the most extreme form of circumcision that is. Girls marrying at age twelve is far from uncommon.
Here Mary went to the village of Afambo, and from here she opted to walk to the local school which is located quite a long walk away. So that she would have an idea of the daily life. (And girls are in danger of attack to and from school).
At the school there is a club for girls and they told Mary about their lives and their dreams for the future. One of them, a seventeen year old girl wearing a burqa (only the eyes are free) told about her attempts to economically independent. She had managed to but two goats and get them breeding and now she is making a profit from selling goats and as such she is a kind of role model. Mary exclaimed: "That's really well done. You (plural) are fantastic. You must keep fighting. And you must stand/stick together. Together you are strong".
The girls aged 12-18 were quietly working on changing things, changing the old traditions that in so many ways oppress women and and even though they were all circumcised they wouldn't allow their own daughters to circumcised. As one of the girls explained: "You do feel very ill when you are circumcised. When you get your period you can get seriously ill and dizzy and you have to see a doctor". (**)
Mary said afterwards about the prospect of the girls: "It's a process that takes time, but what I experienced with the young girls in Afambo is really positive. They will break the cultural norms and fight for their rights. They question circumcision and early marriages. It was also positive when in the village of Afambo that the girl Fatma and mother rose up in the middle of the gathering and then her mother said loud and clear that Fatma had not been circumcised.
The girl and her mother were still an accepted part of their local community, so there are some lights in the dark.
It will simply take some time before the problems are solved completely".
The third day started in the capital of Addis Ababa, where Mary and the delegation visited a women's shelter. There are two such shelters in the capital with a population of some five million. (*) Here 96 womenand 45 children had found temporary shelter. Many of them are rape victims and/or victims of domestic abuse. And a shelter it is! With a high wall and barbed wire. The place is run by the energetic Ethiopian lawyer, Maria Munir, who gave Mary a tour of the place.
One of the persons Mary met was a baby named Abel, who is the son of a rape victim (there is no mentioning that he should be the result of the rape) and it is he Mary is seen soothing and caressing in the footage: "Hi, little friend. You are lucky you were born here".
Towards the end of the visit, where Mary had heard several personal stories someone turned on the music and the women spontaneously danced to the rural folk music. Mary was asked to join in, which she did. Before she left Mary said: Remember that it is not your fault that you have ended up here. And keep in mind that it can never be your fault that you are subjected to violence".
During this visit Mary wore a necklace that BB writes she got in the capital, consisting of large beads and an Ethiopian symbol as a pendant.
But Mary also met two very formidable Australian women.
The 91 year old doctor Catherine Hamlin, when the delegation visited the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in the capital. She and her husband founded the hospital. The hospital deals with fistulas that are common when girls who are not fully developed give birth or simply as a result of being circumcised.
Mary said: "I've met several angels here in this country. One of them is dr. Catherine Hamlin".
Mary had afternoon tea with Catherine Hamlin after the visit to the hospital.
As is dr. Hamlin wasn't formidable enough Mary met an even more admirable Australian women, Valerie Browning. Who has worked as a nurse in the parched Afar region, at the Barbara May Maternity hospital since 1973. Valerie Browning has very aptly been compared to Mother Theresa, because just like the Albanian nun, she has has dedicated her life to working way out there, out in the field among the poor.
Valerie Browning gave Mary a hug and said: "You are a fantastic person".
But there is also the shoe-episode as you may recall. Where Mary cracked up because the Minister for Development, Mogens Jensen, was presented with a pair of shoes. And because they had never produced a pair of shoes
that big before! (Size violin-cases. DK-idiom). The shoe factory, SoleRebels, has been founded by a woman, Bethlehem Alemu. She is a socially committed woman who set up a factory in one of the more modest neighborhoods of Addis Ababa and here women and men work side by side.
Accorindg to BB Mary is a siz 39 and the minister a most impressive size 49!
The minister remarked: "We can sail home to Denmark in this size 49". And Mary cracked up.
(*) Actually no one really know how many people live in Ethiopia. The estimates are plus/minus 30 (thirty!) million.
(**) Presumably because the hole the blood has to come out off is so small that the blood starts to decompose so to speak. And the risk of a bladder infection must be very high indeed.
ADDED: Daily Mail with article, pic and vids: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz...-Ethiopia.html
A nice article from Royalista: Crown Princess Mary: I have met many angels | Royalista