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Published: November 16th 2013
All us foreigners are called faranjis. If you hear people mention the word “faranji” in a sentence then you know that they are talking about you!
I have survived 5 days in the university guesthouse (more now but it has taken be 5 days to get round to finishing and uploading this entry)! Went for apartment 2 in the end. No sign of the rat – long may it stay that way! I have had water in the morning for the past 2 days, which is nice, but it is always disappointing to return home to find yet again that I am out of water. I have to go to the communal tap and lug buckets of water across the courtyard and up 2 flights of stairs. It is really irritating.
The apartments are in a sorry state – mould on the walls, leaking, and cracked toilets, leaking ceilings, broken windows, doors without handles, no water. Did I mention the lack of water!!!!! Each flat has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, a lounge and a kitchen but in most flats only half of it is habitable so most people stay on their own. One of my bathrooms is so disgusting (don't worry, won't go
into details!) that i shut and locked the door when I arrived and it will remain that way. I must try and not turn this entry into a massive rant but I have a feeling it may. Sorry! We all understand that this is Ethiopia and not the UK but there is no excuse for poor management, rudeness and lying. Someone built these flats with care and now they are falling apart. If the lack of water was a central supply problem then I understand. It isn’t. It is because the manager can’t be bothered to fix the cracked water tank above my flat. When you move in you are supposed to be given clean sheets, a duvet, a blanket and some crockery. I had to fight to get them to give me a glass that wasn’t cracked. They told me that the duvet was clean – it stank! I have attached a photo of what was in the water after soaking it. Disgusting!
Some money was stolen from one of the apartments last week. It was an inside job – someone had a key to the balcony door, searched through everything systematically and found some US dollars hidden in a
bag, under some clothes in the wardrobe. The manager gave the following excuses:
- A rat stole the money (?!?!?!?!??!?!?!)
- The wife stole the money so that her husband would get fed up of Ethiopia and then they can both move back home
- It is their fault for having money in the apartment
This manager is a horrible man. He told me this morning that I don’t have water in the evenings because I leave the taps running all day. I told him to stop being so ridiculous. I have shouted at him many times. I don’t normally shout at people but this man makes me mad. Pretty much everyone who lives here has had a shouting match with him. 3 of us complained to the university dean about him (as it is a university owned building) so hopefully things will get addressed.
Anyway, on a more positive note, the people here are great:
Heather and John are a couple from Canada. They are the parents of our faranji family. John is a VSO volunteer working on quality assurance in the university. Heather was a chef in Canada. Result! She has cooked for me many times. I am going to be the only person
who puts on weight in Ethiopia!
Fiona lives next door. She is an obs and gynae registar from the UK working for VSO. Wendy and Sarah, also from the UK, are teaching on the nursing Msc course. Clara is a German medical student on her elective. Maxi, based in Germany, is here for a few weeks doing some research for her PhD. We also have an “old” Tom and a “young” Tom who are American. They both work for the university. It is a very sociable place and we all help each other out. I have showered in most of their apartments!
We also occasionally pick up strays. A VSO teacher working in another area of Ethiopia was trekking in the Simien mountains with her friend. Her friend fracture dislocated her knee and so they came to Gondar hospital for medical attention. We sorted her out pretty quickly and once they put a cast on her leg managed to get her to my apartment. She was dehydrated and in agony so we gave her morphine and put up a drip in the lounge, hanging the bag of fluid from a coat hanger. It was much better for them to stay there than
in the hospital! Hopefully her insurance company will arrange a flight home for her today. If you can't help a brit abroad then who can you help?
Bye for now
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