Published: May 13th 2010May 13th 2010
I keep meaning to bring my journal to work so that I can whip a blog entry out at lunch; when I HAVE remembered to do this, I haven’t had the time and then I have stupidly left it at the office so I can’t write at home either!
So here’s the bullets version of some of the highlights of the last what? Three weeks?
• I got chased by a dog down a street. He was actually more of a large puppy and all I really wanted to do was stop and pet him because he was so freakin’ cute, but as the travel doctor completely terrified me to my core about the very real prospect of death resulting from rabies before I left, I did not. It therefore took me a good 5minutes to realize that he wasn’t jumping at me, but the bright orange clip dangling from a strap on my backpack.
• I had attempted muggings 2 and 3. That’s right, not once, but twice this month! The third was just a few days ago and it really wasn’t stealthy at all. I was out at night for dinner walking with two friends -
both of whom are fairly big guys - up a road to a place to grab a beer and this pack of about, 7 young boys crossed the street right into us. One tried to get into my bag but I pulled his hands away and then Etienne (L’s brother visiting for a few weeks) held his arms behind his back and sent him on his way. That one wasn’t so bad. My friends back home will know which bag I’m talking about because I am rarely found without it. It’s a striped green sac-purse with a zipper and a sort of latch on top. It’s very deep and slings across my chest and is therefore very hard to snatch/steal from. The 2nd attempted mugging was much more frightening. I was walking in the afternoon with two girls and two average-looking guys pulled a typical move: one ran into me and held my arm tightly, apparently apologizing, while another went for my pockets. But the first held onto my arm SO tightly that I knew something was up and was resultantly alert enough to feel the other one trying to get into my buttoned pocket. Again, just not smart: why
go for the girl with no bag and buttoned pockets? Anyways, I pulled my hand away and shoved the other guy into a car parked just behind him. Some guy down the street who had been watching this whole situation unfold told me that I was very strong and had done good, but I was still shaken nonetheless. (Since I know that a few people planning on coming to Addis in the coming months read this blog, don’t worry, Addis is still relatively safe for forenjis. Things can and do go wrong, and you will have frustrating days but just be smart, keep trucking, and you’ll be just fine!)
• I spent a weekend in the Netherlands! Bart, a new friend of mine from the Belgian Embassy invited me to the Netherlands Embassy’s Queens Day Orange Ball celebration. It was incredible! We got all fancied up (don’t worry, I was still wearing flip-flops) and walked through the beautiful grounds of the Embassy (narrow stone roads, full gardens, red buildings, view of the mountains) along a red carpet and into a white tented expanse of lawn with draped with orange decorations and hundreds of hanging lights. We were both a
bit nervous about the fact that we only knew of one other person would be attending the ball, but as soon as we entered we practically ran right into our friend Vincent, from Amsterdam, soon followed by a number of other colleagues and acquaintances. The night started out a bit rough for me. The guys were VERY excited to see raw herring with a garlic sauce at the buffet table; I was not. I don’t eat fish. Have I eaten it before? Yes. I have eaten raw fish before? Yes. Have I ever thought it was yummy? Heck no. But, as it apparently a Dutch delicacy, I gave it a shot. The first chunk had a bone right down the middle so of course I gagged as I removed it. They decided that that wasn’t a fair taste, so I ate another piece. Apparently, as a gesture of appreciation, they later brought me a “strawberry juice” which turned out to be tomato juice… WITH raw herring in it. THAT’S what you get when you hang out with guys. Ergo, we found Lisa who, upon hearing the story took her half-full bottle of Ambo and DUMPED it straight over Vincent’s head.
Actually, my "shop-guy" Shimelis, really did try to get this dog to come inside.
We spend the rest of the night socializing and dancing to music from all over the world performed by a multi-ethnic live band. It was SO much fun! The next night I met up with a few friends, P and Simon and we went to Amsterdam Restaurant (coincidence) to meet some new people, acquaintances of P: Marina, Julian and Helina. We had a great meal, and then took to Harlem Jazz just down the road. The following day, I was back at the Dutch Embassy with Laetitia, Vincent and Bart for a classical trio concert being hosted by Lisa at her apartment on the grounds. The music was beautiful with Lisa on violin, Canadian, David, on the French horn, and British, Brian, on the piano - with Adriane, on his first day in Ethiopia, turning the pages… mustn’t forget that. Haha Lisa had managed to ‘procure’ some Hoegarden, so after the concert we sat out in the garden and chatted for a few hours snacking on some of the homemade appetizer leftovers.
• This last weekend I took full advantage of Addis’ night… and early morning… life =P
• The rainy season has started. It’s a bit early,
Bus in puddle
this part of my street has since been torn up even more so much so that I dont WALK on it for fear of falling into a big hole. haha
but a colleague told me yesterday that it will get a bit heavier come July, but that the rains have officially come. It rains every day for at least a few hours a day and let me tell you, a HECK of a lot of rain comes down in those few hours. And rain, means mud. All of my pants now have mud spots up the back from my sandals. I would strongly recommend anyone traveling in the Horn between May and August bring rubber boots. I kid you not - it has become a social norm to walk around with bags on your head, pants tucked into socks or rolled up… As much as it is an inconvenience it is worse for the thousands of people that live on the streets. Yesterday I saw a severely physically disabled young man with his legs twisted up to the small of his back, feet inverted, with plastic bags tied all aver his body, dragging himself along a muddy heavily foot-trafficked sidewalk behind a row or parked cars. There are positives: rain-fed crops which make up over 80% of Ethiopia’s agricultural production are getting amply irrigated, and the rivers are flowing which
I lost to the Ethiopian Airlines guys, specifially Mayel this night. We are now tied. At what, I will not explain at this point in time. haha
I think is the reason that the electricity hasn’t cut out in the evenings since the rains started over a week ago.
• I attended a two-day workshop last week pertaining to one of our programs and another this week on the same program and have been assigned the task of writing a few sections of the Natural Resource Management Strategy which I of course have no idea how to do and it is unlikely that I will find anyone in the next week who has written a strategy outline like this for a program of this magnitude; hence, I have been advised to “Google it.”
Well gosh, that’s all I can remember right now. This weekend, a fairly large group of friends and I have planned a trip to what I refer to as ‘the Wasaga Beach of Ethiopia’, Lake Langano. We are going to Harlem on Friday night - as it is rumoured to be getting shut down this weekend - and then have rented 2 minibuses to take us down early Saturday morning where we have reserved 3 bungalows on the beach.
National elections are coming up the following weekend and honestly, walking around Addis,
you wouldn’t know. Some people think it’s a good indication of how the process will go; others think it’s the calm before the storm. Embassies and international organizations have all sent out warnings to their countrymen and staff in the event of any troubles but the general consensus is that IF there is any unrest, it will come with the electoral results towards the end of June.
Days of the Week:
Monday - Segno
Tuesday - Maksegno
Wednesday - Rob
Thusrday - Hamus
Friday - Arib
Saturday - qdame
Sunday - Ihud
Back - Koala
Kidding - Kelte
Can you help me? - Andelash chigrish
(I wrote down more in another notebook, but if I can’t remember them it doesn’t count!)
YOU KNOW YOU’RE IN ETHIOPIA WHEN…
… while your roommates family is visiting, they are forced to cook dinner in the dark on their first night and their sister comes out practically in tears because well, cockroaches love the dark.
… you come home from dinner and cant get out of the taxi until the brawl going on in front of your gate stops OR you come back from lunch
National Earth Day Conference
WOW.. hardly any of these pics are explained in this blog entry. Oh well. I attended the Earth Day Conference at the ECA building.
and you cant get into your office compound because there is an enormous cow in the way.
Well, me and my latest bacterial infection are going to go get a ginger tea!
There are more photos below