A Story of Sorts...

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Africa » Ethiopia » Southern Nations Region » Awasa
May 7th 2009
Published: June 17th 2009
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Peace Corps has a very strict policy about traveling within country but without taking vacation days. This is a policy I that I adhere to without reservation.

Did you know there are two Mexican restaurants in Ethiopia? One in Debre Zeit and one in Addis.

On a side note I want to tell you a story. A Peace Corps Volunteer had a friend come into town the other day. They had a great time and when it was time for her to leave, he decided that it was in her best interest not to let her ride the bus alone. This PCV recognized an opportunity to get a burrito as she only lives two hours from a city which contains one of these Mexican joints. He decided to accompany her on this journey to her house. Ok, I can’t do this third person stuff any longer. I wanted a burrito bad. So CR(Cecelia Rose) and I took the 5 hour bus trip up to a bus stop town called Modjo. We sat there for a bit trying to decide whether it would be alright to go straight to Debre Zeit, where we planned on crashing at another PCV’s house that had no idea we were coming. After trying to call for ten minutes with no service, we grabbed a bus. This is really what it sounds like. You stand on the side of the road until you hear your destination being called from a bus. At this point you wave your hands for them to stop. 1 hour bus trip. 1 hour walk. I already know what I am going to order. I want the nachos, the Tijuana steak burrito, and the hot chocolate cake. It was enough for 2 people to enjoy for a nice dinner or for me to eat in 10 minutes. We actually saw the PCVs we were looking for at the Mexican place so that worked out better than we could have imagined. All of us watched a movie and crashed on the couches. In the morning CR and I went to the road and caught a bus. I got off halfway and started back south. I got a call on the bus ride from another PCV, Marina from La Mesa, California. She called because her town was becoming too much. She said tell me something to cheer me up. So I said I will be there in 3 hours. She lives just a little northeast of my town so it was not a problem changing travel arrangements. The road was horrible. Just imagine trying to off-road a greyhound bus. I tried to get some sleep but I kept getting woken up because of Ethiopians taking pictures of me. It sounds weird but it happens. Being white in this country is the same as being a rock star. Even still, that doesn’t mean I have any sympathy for Britney Spears though. I got to Butajira, where Marina lives, and stayed for 3 days. We had a blast. The first day she had mentioned she hadn’t explored one area of her town. So I said I would go with her the next day. We just walked for about 5 hours. She lives in the middle of this amazing mountainous terrain. Our journey was extended by our desire to hike the next biggest peak we saw. I left on the third morning and came back to Hawassa. I got off the bus and walked the stretch of area known for harassment. It was incredible. The “you, you, you’s” were probably more present than normal but it didn’t bother me. In fact, I felt like I was back at home. These weren’t strangers yelling at me. These were my friends who I decline Chat (an illegal drug in the states but legal here in Ethiopia, which I am not allowed to consume) from everyday or take coffee with occasionally. I started out this trip with a very low morale but came back having a renewed sense of home. I think for that, Peace Corps, if you are reading this, I shouldn’t be punished for going on an illegal vacation.

Also, I am not sure if you can see the comments on this blog but if you can, check out the one by Abebe something-or-other. It’s pretty good. I wrote him an email expressing how much I enjoyed his comments on my blog. And that I am happy to know that someone with an electrical engineering degree from Addis Ababa University (amazing what you can find out from google-ing someone) was reading my blog. I did tell him that he did have a few small problems with his English. So I showed him what he wrote and how it should have been written. I went on to say that though his mistakes were small, the reader would only focus on his mistakes and how to correct them as opposed to taking in the intended message (Mike Stokes - I know my English is horrible and that I should take some of my own advice, Haha!). I will let you know how he responds. I am going to go to bed. Night everyone.


17th June 2009

John, I was getting worried about you! This is the first email I've received from you in a couple of months. And this one is from May?! Are you okee okee?
19th June 2009

Nice Adventure
Hi there... sometimes the best adventures are the unplanned or unauthorized ones... Sounds like you are having a blast there and sometimes it takes you going on a journey and returning home to get the feeling that you belong somewhere (I think that made sense)... Anyways I head to Addis next month I will have to check out this Mexican resturant that you mentioned... LOL... Anyways your last blog was from May hopefully things are well there...

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