We can’t quite believe that we are at the end of our penultimate week out in Ethiopia. The time has flown by before our very eyes! Before we update you all on our progress, we want to just say how amazing it has been working with the staff out here. Their willingness to skill-share, embrace new challenges and try something new is admirable.

In Gerfersa, the mental health rehabilitation centre, the staff are now at a point where they are able to lead the sessions. This means that they will be the one to play with the resident during the session, and interact with them through music. Each staff member is developing their own methods of interaction, which is great to see. One of the staff members in particular commented on the changes that they are starting to see in their resident’s behaviour both in the music sessions and outside – such as an increase in concentration. They also commented on how happy their resident is when they are told it is time for their music session. Another staff member also commented on how the resident is now aware of which day their music sessions will happen and they will come to the room for their time. This is great to hear and more than we could ask for!

At ENAID, the centre for adults with learning disabilities, the staff members have also started to lead activities within the music sessions bringing their own ideas and creativity. One staff member brought in some traditional Ethiopian instruments to use to lead her activity, which the adults really enjoyed. The adults at ENAID really enjoy dancing to the music so this is something we have supported and encouraged in our music sessions.

Finally, at the hospice our focus is mainly on their day-care patient group, which runs every Thursday. Sadly, their social worker who usually runs the sessions has left due to funding. However, one of the nurses is now going to take over the group. She told us today that she is extremely happy to be doing this as the music helps relax the patients and also boosts her mood. The group at the hospice consists of about 12 patients. At the end of each session we ask how they are feeling after playing music together. One of the patients told us ‘music is like our medicine’, with another patient saying to us ‘it makes me forget that I am sick, I have no pain when I play the music’.

Going into our last week, we will really focus on tying up any loose ends and making sure the staff are happy with what we have taught them. We are leaving a handbook for each centre full of activities we have done in the music sessions, as well as tips and advice for future work. We have also planned a celebration event for each centre to say our farewells, our thanks and leave a certificate for proof of the training with them.

Ciao for now and we look forward to our leaving you with our final blog next week!

Lily and Hannah