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Ethiopia by E-mail

Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2004 09:28:02 -0600
From: "James E. Rollin, Ph.D." <rollin@uic.edu>

Well, it has been a while friends. Things have been rushed but are much better now. I am settling in & have seen my apartment now. It needs a little work but should be ready soon. As I said before this assignment is funded by IFESH (International Foundation for Education & Self Help). They have had an orientation for volunteers like me. There are 14 of us here & another 2 will arrive later. For the last week where we have had Amharic lessons. I can now be at least polite & give a greeting in Amharic. We have been to several government offices, met people including the American Ambassador to Ethiopia. At the same time, our students arrived for their orientation to the program I will be teaching in. I have been busy trying to participate in 2 full time orientations.

The university grounds are very beautiful. It is one of the palaces of the former emperor Haile Selassie. It is much greener here than it was in May when I was here. It is the end of the rainy season & we have had afternoon storms. My office is in the new building on campus. So new that it is not finished yet. We are supposed to get phone & internet lines soon but I don't know what soon means.

Rift ValleyPhotos cannot capture the feeling of descending into the rift valley of Africa We went from Addis Ababa to Sodo Re, a resort & hot springs. We had a good trip, the hot springs were refreshing & the country side is beautiful. Sodo Re is in the rift valley and we descended from the high plateau of east Africa. Ethiopian Airlines Poster Addis Ababa is 8200 feet above sea level on a large plateau. where many believe humankind was born & the oldest evidence of human existence has been found. We also visited some beautiful crater lakes in Debre Zeyit.

I have enclosed a photo I thought would amuse you and a photo of a small village I am learning my way around Addis Ababa. I will write to you later, on the descent into the rift valley.



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