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Published: April 25th 2010
I had arrived in Ambo at around 4.30 on Wednesday afternoon (10 Feb). Tara, my new housemate, met us at the Green Cafe with the news that, that very morning, the local authority had decided to dump huge mounds of rubble in our street, ready for tarmacing. So the road was impassable. Our choices were a 200 metre trudge uphill to the house, or a 100 metre trudge downhill. The fact that I had arrived with three large suitcases plus a box of equipment from the Programme Office made neither option feasible. At this juncture I must mention the roads/footpaths. They are comprised of stones of various shapes and sizes; rubble you might put it. So the image that you may have of a stroll up the street on nice even pavement is totally inaccurate - think more of trying to walk along a pebbly beach or a dry stream bed. In sandles. Dragging three suitcases behind you.
Thankfully, Demis (an excellent driver) was able to drive around the back way and negotiate his way past two huge mounds of rubble to deliver us to the gate of our house. The house is surrounded by a massive stone wall, around 4 metres high, topped with broken glass. The gate is a dark green metal construction big enough (if both doors were open) to drive a truck through. There is a small door in the gate to allow humans through, and it opens onto a beautiful garden, full of trees of various shapes and sizes, palms, plants - some succulent, some flowering. A virtual paradise, appreciated not just by us, but by tiny birds with vibrant colours.
This went some way towards assuaging the disappointment I felt at the fact that the furniture for my room had not yet arrived. Tara had tried her utmost, and, in fact, later found a note from January attesting to the fact that she had attempted to put the wheels in motion then. But to no avail. That escapade was to take the entire day on Friday to complete.
The house, though, is a palace. Well, a palace compared to what I was expecting to have to live in during my time in Ethiopia. Two bedrooms, large lounge/dining room with beautiful wooden doors and wooden shutters on the windows. Mind you, the doors don’t tend to fit that well, and the bathroom and kitchen are pretty basic; but luxury in comparison to what I could be living in.
Except for the church
Thursday I spend pottering around, getting myself organised, resting. Tara goes to the university and tries to organise my furniture... apparently she can get the bed here but not the wardrobe because all the vehicles are in use. There is some talk of carrying the furniture to our house, but I suggest we wait until the next day when everything can come at once.
Friday begins, and so the adventure of the bedroom begins in earnest. Did I mention that there is neither a desk nor a chair in the office I am sharing with Tara? So I am trying to get five things accomplished today - bedroom furniture, office furniture, keys to the office, keys to the house and a sim card for my CDMA. This turns out to be overambitious to the point of lunacy.
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