In Yvonne's garden.
I was “Taking the Long Way” to come back to Robe. In order to avoid taking the bus from Addis Ababa, I accepted the offer of a lift with Teresa, a VSO volunteer friend who was coming to Robe for work - via Arba Minch and Dilla. Which are not exactly on the way! Having left Addis in the early morning light, we had lunch at the Tourist Hotel in Arba Minch, doing the journey much faster than I imagined was possible. While Teresa had meetings, I met up with Rob and Judi (more volunteers) for a cup of tea. How very British! We stayed the night at Yvonne’s (VSO) house, which has a wonderful array of wildlife in the garden and the most amazing view.
The lack of rains was much more apparent in the lowlands than in Bale. Although it is drier than I have known it, and the vegetation is brown in the mountains, here the cattle were noticeably thin - you could see the ribs of every cow and ox. The “small rains” are very late this year and a drought warning had already been given for the south of Ethiopia. It was sad to see.
The following day, I sat and read at the café in Arba Minch University while Teresa had meetings with the Higher Diploma Leaders. Then we were both invited into a lecture hall to watch Anto (one of the Leaders, who I know from when Clare worked here) give a presentation about his Action Research proposal. We left for Dilla, stopping off at Sodo to say hello to a volunteer there, then travelling back to Shashemene before heading south past Awasa.
On previous trips, I had noticed how the local housing (tukuls) differs in different regions. Even in a relatively short distance there are variations. Closer to Shashemene, some were beautifully painted, and some had the spike tops decorated. In Bale, tukuls seem to be much plainer and functional looking. As in all areas, housing in the towns tends to rectangular with tin roofs. However, on the road between Awasa and Dilla, these, instead of being faced with mud or plaster, were often covered with blocks of stone in decorative patterns. The tukuls also changed; those with walls of wood and mud giving way to those with walls covered by banana leaves, giving them a very shaggy appearance.
On the way from Arba Minch.
We arrived in Robe this afternoon, clutching bags of vegetables from Suzanne, the VSO in Dilla, who grows her own carrots, leeks, green peppers and parsley.
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