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Published: March 27th 2008
The "small" market at Selka. The main market is on a Sunday.
Selka is a very small town 45km east of Robe, off the road to Sof Omar. I was supposed to have gone there on Tuesday afternoon in preparation to run a workshop this morning, but no electricity in Robe meant that the College driver who was to take me and leave me there, could not fill the vehicle with fuel. Instead, we agreed that he would pick me up at 6.30 this morning. He arrived dead on time! We then waited for half an hour for Lama, the Cluster Supervisor from Sanana Woreda Education Office. As there was no mobile network, and hadn’t been the previous afternoon either, it was impossible to contact him. It turned out that he had gone to Selka yesterday, not having got the message that I had left for him in his office to say that we were going today.
We arrived in Selka in plenty of time, where the School Director and Lama met me. A tour of the school followed, with requests for me to take photos of various individuals (those teachers who had painted pictures on classroom walls, the guard, the head of the school committee) as a way of motivating them.
The school is in a beautiful area with a backdrop of mountains. The Director has been at the school for just one year, but has done a lot to improve the environment, including ensuring that boys and girls have separate toilets - something that we would take for granted in the UK. There was then time to visit the Director’s house for breakfast of homemade bread and natural honey.
The morning workshop on Leadership and Management went well. Many of the teachers had travelled from satellite schools, with no additional payment or travel costs. It was humbling to say the least. Originally the plan was to stay overnight, then run a second workshop just for teachers from Selka School tomorrow. However, the morning participants were keen to have the additional training and asked if I would run it in the afternoon instead. So, after a lunch break, where we negotiated a dust storm and Lama invited me to a meal of bayonetu, and visiting the most exposed ‘mana fincaanii’ (toilet) that I have ever used, I ran a second workshop on CPD.
One of the things I love about my job is working with Ethiopian teachers. They have
Artwork on school buildings to make an attractive environment.
a difficult job, with average class sizes of 70 or 80 students and very few resources, yet they have a thirst for training and will walk 7km or more to attend a workshop. It is a joy watching them join in the Icebreakers and workshop activities with such enthusiasm. Embarrassingly, the workshop ended with speeches of thanks to me.
Lama and I had decided that we would try to get back to Robe this evening, but would stay overnight if there was no transport. I think he was keener to get back than I was. There was a Harar Brewery truck unloading crates on the other side of the square, and the Director soon negotiated a lift for me. We sat in a small bar and had a beer, much to the amusement of the 12 other (male) occupants. There was then a short wait with the Director, Vice Director and Lama - interrupted by a drunk and fairly abusive man (who kept telling me that I should “Go back!”) before I was given the privileged position in the cab alongside the manageress of the Harar depot in Robe, whereas Lama was in the open back - not a
One of the artists.
pleasant ride in the cold, dusty evening. The fare should be 10 birr, but the driver and manageress refused to take my money as I was a guest and a volunteer. The driver even dropped me at the gate of the College.
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