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Ethiopia by E-mail

Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 00:13:34 -0500
From: "James E. Rollin, Ph.D." <rollin@uic.edu>

Hi everyone,

I am now working on getting my resident card. Jim has talked to the President and Dean at the University and they are preparing a letter for me to have to get my card. Then IFESH will take me to the office where I get it. So it will take a little while. I did visit the IFESH office and met the rest of the family like Ato Mamo (the IFESH country representative) wanted me to do last Tuesday. They are all very friendly and want to know how I like Ethiopia. I tell them Ethiopia is nice, cooler then I thought it would be and the people are all very friendly to foreigners. A lot of people, especially children, just want to say "Hi", ask your name and touch you. They are the ones around the schools we never go to. To get to the IFESH office we took a cab to the end of our street. There is a construction site there as they are improving the road to the new church. You walk through the site and then we walked to the next corner and caught a line taxi to the street IFESH is on. Jim said only in Ethiopia could you walk through a construction site while they are working.

Jim's mom, Betty, and our daughter, Shannon, went home on Friday Jan. 21 and got to Washington, DC and had to spend the night because of the snow storms in the Midwest and east. I talked to my mom that day and the storm had an effect on the phone connection. They finally got home on Sunday afternoon. Shannon told me I would not have that problem of snow when I come home in July. Jim said all I have to worry about then is thunderstorms. They spent the night in a luxury hotel in Washington (as Shannon put it). It was a Fairfield inn. I am not sure how "luxury" it was but they did have TV, wash clothes and shampoo in the rooms.

I have been doing some cleaning in the apartment, reading and just being lazy. I have been listening to the radio, it is company when Jim is at work. We are trying to get into a daily schedule now that we are here alone. Jim only worked 2 days while Shannon and Mom were here. It was nice that he did not have a lot of commitments while they were here. Jim goes to work at 7 am and is usually home around 4 in the afternoon. He takes the line taxis and is hoping he can teach me so I can come down to the university to visit. I can always take a contract cab. They hang around outside the gate to the compound or I can call Thomas if I know I am going in advance to go to the university. He is the cabbie we used while mom and Shannon were here. I like the way he drives, he does not always use his horn and get too close to other vehicles. The drivers here seem to see how many cars they can get into 3 lanes. They are always changing lanes to get there faster. People do not have the right of way here. The drivers seem to want to miss animals and other vehicles first. People just wait until the roads are clear or cut between cars as they are waiting in traffic.

Jim finally got a phone in his office last Thursday but it only calls other phones in the university. They are trying to get it set up differently. He goes to the Dean's office to use the internet and the secretary's office if he has to make out-going calls. Otherwise, he just uses his cell phone. Most homes and many offices here don't have phones. The people in them use their mobile or cell phones.

I guess that is about all for now. Not much exciting going on this week. I will write again in about a week. Bye for now.



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