Blogs from Jimma, Oromia Region, Ethiopia, Africa - page 5

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Africa » Ethiopia » Oromia Region » Jimma January 27th 2010

We went up to Jimma University prior to a meeting with our preceptor. Their faculty lounge has wifi and we tried in vain to connect. A man sat down near us. We started talking a bit and as it turns out, he is a surgeon who is working for the University. He asked us what we were doing here and we told him we are in public health; he asked if we had seen the hospital to which I said: only the out-patient, no in-patient. Classes were cancelled for some reason and he said he would show us around after our meeting if we so wished. Our meeting was off campus and lasted maybe an hour. It went well. We called the doctor and he told us to meet him at the hospital. He introduced us ... read more

Africa » Ethiopia » Oromia Region » Jimma January 26th 2010

The city’s landscape can change pretty quickly. All of the streets are fairly dusty. Some of the streets have store fronts on the road, others have ditches that fill up with water. You need to walk over five foot-long make shift wooden bridges to get to the store fronts. There is corrugated aluminum siding along most of the roads. There are sections of the aluminum that actually serve as doors to people’s houses. You move them away and before you is a small courtyard that usually has a small vegetable, fruit, and coffee garden and a modest home. It is sort of like the Labyrinth starring Jennifer Connely and David Bowie, where the worm shows Jennifer how to actually get into the Labyrinth.... read more

Africa » Ethiopia » Oromia Region » Jimma January 26th 2010

We are here to do a study on obesity as it was one of several topics that Jimma University said they were interested in. After walking around Jimma a little, we were a little concerned at the lack of larger people. When we met with our preceptor he said “I think this is a good study, but what is obesity?” We were like “oh. My. God.” It is true that there are a couple of obese people and it is becoming a problem. How big of a problem? I guess we’ll find that out. My academic response (which will most likely appear in some form in our paper): Many developing countries are going through a process of rapid urbanization where rural people flood into urban areas. Among the many health problems facing these areas is dual ... read more

Africa » Ethiopia » Oromia Region » Jimma January 26th 2010

Have you ever been helped by an Ethiopian and said “thank you” to them in their native language, and then they laugh? What’s the deal with that? With the help of the other group we have picked up some of the native language Omharic, not Amharic which is spoken in Addis and is, I guess, the National language. Whenever I or anyone in the group says anything in Omharic, the response is always a laugh, followed by a response if needed. It’s a polite laugh, not a condescending “hahaha, you’re a stupid foreigner” laugh. They just seriously get a kick out of us speaking the language; it never fails. I’m just a funny rock star, people love me. It does get tiring though. You begin to understand how celebrities feel. Every day you have to be ... read more

Africa » Ethiopia » Oromia Region » Jimma January 26th 2010

On Saturday one of the students organized a trip to Jafar’s Palace, which as it turned out was not very old. I am not sure how far away the palace was from our hotel, it probably wasn’t that far, but the roads made the trip lengthier than it could have been. We flew down the paved part of the streets, but we took a turn down a side street and things got a little bumpy. The roads in Jimma are kind of like Los Angeles, there are the main highways bisecting and travelling through the city, main streets, and everyday surface streets. Instead of the 405, Jimma has a paved, sometimes obstructed road, Sepulvada is replaced by a dirt/cobblestone road, and the surface streets are occasionally impassable. You know when you are on a rollercoaster and ... read more

Africa » Ethiopia » Oromia Region » Jimma January 26th 2010

We switched hotels from Syf to Central Jimma Hotel. The rooms in Syf were fine, one side faced the road, the other a lounge type area. I faced the road and it was pretty happening except from maybe midnight until 4 a.m. when it is relatively quiet. I thought the other side would be less noisy, but I was told by my compatriots that it wasn’t. Showers, when there was water, were freezing. How they managed to have cold water, I don’t know. It’s pretty damn hot outside and it’s Ethiopia, shouldn’t the showers be about room temp at the coldest? Nope. Freezing. The rooms did have tv with a movie channel. I didn’t really watch it, except for a Jean Claude Van Dam biography that kicked ass, but I thought it would be nice to ... read more

Africa » Ethiopia » Oromia Region » Jimma January 26th 2010

Ethiopia is really unique. They are mostly Orthodox Christian which is a very old sect of Christianity, hence the non-Gregorian calendar. Last Tuesday they celebrated Timkat, which we think is the celebration of when Mary was told she would carry the son of god. The group of 7 from Assendabo stayed for a long weekend and we got our preceptors to take us to the celebration. We met them at 11am, 5 in the morning, and they took us to the festivities. The roads quickly turned to cobblestones and mud, and a small trickle of people coming towards us quickly turned into a flood of people. We were in two groups, and the group I was in was ahead of the second. There was a hill towards our left and the road curved sharply down to ... read more

Africa » Ethiopia » Oromia Region » Jimma January 26th 2010

The coffee people and we have become pretty good friends with a local twenty year old named Joseph. He wanted to take us out and show us a good time, so we went to a dance hall. It was pretty quiet at first. We had some drinks. Soon enough there were people dancing. Ethiopia is pretty much the complete opposite of the States. Instead of groups of women dancing and men watching, it’s groups of men dancing and women watching. I am not going to go into it, what happens in Ethiopia stays in Ethiopia, but I man-danced the night away. We were with the German and every time I wanted to take a break, as it was absurdly hot in there…and slightly awkward, he wouldn’t let me. He being a German wanted to drink a ... read more

Africa » Ethiopia » Oromia Region » Jimma January 26th 2010

After a night of man-dancing Joseph invited us to his house for a coffee ceremony. The process was very interesting. His Auntie prepared the table and coals. She roasted green coffee beans that they picked from their own plant inside the house. Joseph then ground them up outside, and his Auntie used the grounds to prepare the coffee in a ceremonial pot. I am not a coffee aficionado, but the coffee was black, thick, and fantastic. Everyone said it was the best cup of coffee they ever had, regular coffee drinkers included.... read more

Africa » Ethiopia » Oromia Region » Jimma January 26th 2010

One day it rained a little, no big deal. The next day it was a bit overcast, nothing too foreboding, then BAM! The loudest thunder I had ever heard. A second later, there was a torrential downpour. The hotel has a section of ceiling that is corrugated metal and the hallway leading up to that section was deafening due to all the rain hitting the metal. Roads and pathways are pretty muddy. I was told Jimma University had to close for the day. Evidently it’s not even close to the rainy season. As one of the city folk said “the weather is fucked you know? I think it is all the America, Europe, an’ China,” to which I interpreted, “rain is highly unusual for this time of year. I believe that the weather patterns we are ... read more




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