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Published: January 28th 2009
My final week in Ethiopia was a busy one. It started with a party, held at my house, which was mainly in order to celebrate Hannah's (VSO from Robe) birthday. I had hired a band - which turned out to be a man with a mixer desk. But the music was good, which was the main thing. At least until the power went off! The 2 hours were filled by Jeremy playing the guitar and volunteers singing. The main concern of the whole evening was whether Hannah, the guest of honour, would actually arrive in time as she travelled from Robe that day - but she did in fact arrive before most guests.
On Sunday, I went for a final 'jetwash' at the Filwuha hotel, with Hannah, Allie (VSO in Hossaina) Jane (VSO in Nekemte) and Jac (Allie's friend from the UK). Unusually the masseur was a man! It didn't worry me and in fact I had the best massage I have had there, but a couple of the group who were also massaged by men were slightly disturbed by the fact.
Sunday evening/Monday morning was Timkat. A large gathering is held at Janmeda, 5 minutes from my house,
so Hannah, Allie, Jac and I headed there on Monday morning. Hannah and I stayed for a while to take in the atmosphere, watch people being sprayed by holy water and long enough for Hannah to win a picture of Jesus in a tombola, then went to VSO. There were many processions across Addis, with the Tabots from each church being carried to the accompaniment of singing. One passed the VSO office. We were held up by several others as we attempted to leave the city after lunch, in a car with Allie and Jac, on our way to Robe.
We stayed overnight in Awasa, and managed to fit in a lake trip to see hippos before heading back up the Road to Robe. I don't know why I didn't expect rain, having lived there for 2 years. But it does rain in Robe!
It was good visiting the college to see friends and colleagues for a final time and to have one last trip to Sanetti Plateau to see Ethiopian Wolves - always a privilege.
Returning to Addis (leaving Hannah in Robe) we saw lots of wildlife just past Dinsho (including my first sighting of Hyena
in the area) and got back to the capital in time to hear Anita (VSO in Adama) sing at Holland House. Finally, Saturday was spent catching up with a friend who had come back to visit Ethiopia and having dinner with colleagues from the road safety office, who kindly presented me with an Ethiopian traditional dress.
Then, it was home to pack and I was ready (as ready as I could be) to leave Ethiopia.
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