Things don’t always go as planned. Such was the case for my trip to the Bale mountains, just as it was the case for a woman riding on my bus out to the mountains.

The woman was pregnant, and her goal was to get to her hometown of Robe to have her child. She didn’t quite make it. About 1 hour into our 8 hour trip, the bus came to a stop. I asked the girl next to me what was going on, and she motioned to her stomach and said “baby.” About 10 rows up from me, the woman was giving birth.

I saw the birth, and I saw the newborn child, but that was not was amazed me the most. The strength, teamwork, and care of every person on that bus was ever-present. Men and women alike immediately came together and took action. Both genders helped in the delivery, a skill that not many Westerners have. They organized quick transport to the nearest health clinic. They collected money from almost every passenger to help pay for the new mother’s health expenses. They took care of the new mother (who encountered some difficulties during birth), her child, and all of her belongings. They cleaned up afterwards without a complaint. It was teamwork at its best, despite the fact that the people did not know each other or the mother 1 hour prior to the event.

The bus, but not the birth. I didn't want to take a picture of the birth.

The bus, but not the birth. I didn't want to take a picture of the birth.

My entire trip was as unexpected as the birth. I was going to return to Addis on Monday morning, but I just got back (on Tuesday evening). I was going to go hiking in the Bale mountains, but I never made it there. Stories and pictures will come tomorrow, after I have recovered from my 12+ hour return bus ride.