This is what I am doing for 2 years...

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February 20th 2009
Published: February 20th 2009
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Ok everyone ... I am sorry it has taken so long. Reason one is because Awasa has decent internet speeds but Ambo has incredibly slow speeds and I couldn't make that jump again. So let's see after site visit to Awasa I was so pumped about what I was going to be doing. Then we went back to Ambo to finish our training. We all shared stories of what our sites are like. My site was called an Ethiopian vacation, which I can't disagree with I am totally spoiled being here in Awasa. Nothing really happened while we were in Ambo. We all just went to school and drank at night. No one got in trouble and it was fun. We left for Addis the wednesday before Valentines day. We got in at 4pm or so and got paid our per diem. We all immediately went out. Addis is a gorgeous town. Too much fun. We all went to a local Prostitute bar to get drinks. We really like to frequent "Prostie" bars as we call them because anywhere in city that doesn't have prosititutes, has 20birr beers. So we go to places with 5birr beers (roughly $.50) Also, prosititutes know whats going on in the city and some PCVs have been saved on numerous occations by "Prosties" helping them out of some precarious situations. So fast forward to Friday. We wake up early, get inaugurated by Ambassador Yamamoto, and meet a few people. We had an idea for valentines day that everyone should write a compliment about every other volunteer and put it in their designated envelope. This was such a good idea. Everyone had to figure out who put what. It was a lot of fun. Fast forward to Saturday, everyone jumped in vans and said our goodbyes. It was pretty sad, saying goodbye to all the people we had spent so much time with. But most of my best friends are also in the south and we rode in the same bus. Can't complain about that. So we all head to sites, I got dropped off with Chris and Rich also in Awasa with me and started unpacking. We got like $500US dollars to buy everything we need for our apartments, this includes flooring, curtains, stove, bed, everything. So when I got pickpocketed for $300 of that, it was a little disheartening. I filed a police report and everything. That only took 3.5 hours. Brutal. Then filled out all of the other paperwork and I should be getting some of the money back. Everyone was freaking out. I actually started questioning why I was freaking out. Then I thought oh wait. I'm white($$$), have my hands full(Opportunity), and its my third day living there(No one knows me). It kinda made sense after that. The more people see my face the more they realize I am not a tourist. I actually just want to find the guy so I can let him buy me a beer. That's a lot of money for anyone. He really scored big. Ok so my counterpart. My counterpart is PSI, Population Services International, they do international condom distributions and water purification. They are amazing. First they happened to be doing a workshop here in Awasa with all of the Addis people. They took me out for dinner and drinks a few nights, but more importantly they are also trying to establish themselves in the SNNPR( My region). So they took me and introduced me to a bunch of NGOs. Now I have everyone trying to give me work. Better to be overworked than bored. They also said they have a monthly meeting that all of the regional people have to attend. So Eric, Chief of Party, said if I ever needed a break for a few days I could go to Addis on "work" and it would all be covered. They also said they would cover whatever the Peace Corps didn't for the cost of a bike. Peace Corps reimburses up to 1000birr for a bike, but most bikes even the really crap ones cost around 2000. I love my counterpart. I am getting my house furnished but I need everyone's help. If you have any pictures or anything that you think I may need to decorate my house with, cook with, or read because books are so expensive here... I would greatly appreciate it. I had an idea to decorate my house in paint-by-numbers of famous paintings because it would be nice when I was done and it would take a while to do. I have about as many good ideas a day as I get mood changes. Its hilarious. I took up breakdancing yesterday and really impressed myself. Peace Corps encourages us to complete one task a day, and I have already completed the most work of the three in my town. I also started a 1000pc Puzzle my mom send me of houseboats in Seattle. I bought black and white checkered flooring for my two room masterpiece. I think I have max-ed out as far as stories go. um... oh travis, my friend, got medically seperated. They said Ethiopia couldn't support respiratory emergencies like asthma. It was a sad day. Anything else. Oh if anyone wants to write me a letter my address is ...

John Lamon
PO Box 1298
(No zip code)

If you write me a letter, send me a package, or anything, I will write you back. I have so much free time. Love you all.


20th February 2009

Dearest John...
You are a hoot. I haven't stopped laughing yet. Wait. Should I be laughing? Mike and I stink, yes, because we forgot about your box of goodies, but it is now on my weekend to-do list. Swear. Keep writing. These are absolutely priceless. I can't wait to see some pictures someday, but again, don't stress about it. I believe the mind pictures are better anyway. Does the break dancing count as a completed task?

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