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Ethiopia by E-mail

Subject: Hi Everyone from Addis
Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2005 18:15:06 +0300
From: "James E. Rollin, Ph.D." <rollin@uic.edu>

Another week has gone by. We are doing well. Jim taught everyday this week. He had to make up the class they missed because of the Victory of Adwa. We had a house guest this week from Wednesday to Sunday morning. Carolyn who is with IFESH in Mekele, which is north of Addis about 372 miles (She said it would take two 12 hour days traveling to get there), stayed with us. The roads to Mekele are really rough and they can only travel about 35 miles an hour. She was here on vacation and she had some business in Addis to take care of. Since we have a spare room and I am here, some of the IFESH people want to stay. Carolyn said we should open an IFESH hotel. I said we would let anyone stay who needed a space if we have one. But it has to be on a first come first serve basis because we only have two extra beds. Carolyn and I went shopping on Friday and to the seamstress all the IFESH teachers use. I don't think I will have her make anything for me. She does good work but she is refugee from Kinchasa in the Congo in West African and she does a lot of patterns and styles and colors from there. I want something but I wanted it from Ethiopia so I am still looking.

I worked at Gemini. The teaching is not getting any easier and I think about quitting but I made a commitment and I will stay until June. The students want more grammar then I am comfortable with. I do not want to tell them anything that I am not sure of. No answer from me is better then a wrong answer. They think English speakers should understand all the rules. The only bright spot was I got to sit in on the preschool class and they don't care if you understand grammar rules they just want to hold your hand and touch you. I was in there class for their Amharic lesson, their dance class and lunch. So I got to help serve them food. I am looking for a couple of books on English for Ethiopia so I will go to the university and Jim and I will check the book stores there next week before I go to class on Wednesday.

On Saturday Jim, Carolyn and I went walking, window shopping and to a different grocery store about 2 1/2 miles away. Bambis is a store everyone has told me to go to and we just have not gone. It was a nice walk and I got a little sunburn again on my neck and face. I guess I have got to buy a big hat or get an umbrella. Bambis was a nice store but a bit more xpensive then the stores we have been shopping at but I was able to find Mexican spice and yeast which I have not found any where else. I wanted chili powder and we found some there. I bought a little coin purse and we got a few other things like peanut butter and apricot jam. Carolyn wanted to stop at Dembel (a small US/European style mall) to see if she could get HIV AIDs posters at the office there so we got her some to take back to Mekele. Then we came home rested and fixed dinner. Carolyn is vegetarian so beans, rice and tortillas was a good meal for her and Jim really likes it. She took the recipe and bought the flour and baking powder she would need to make them when she got home in Mekele.

St Matthew's Church Today we went to church and then out to Bombay Brasserie (Indian) for lunch. Jim took some pictures at the ST. Matthews church so he will include two in this message. One of the outside from across the street of the church and the other is a stained glass window in the church. St, Matthew's Window The middle pane reminds us of the Chicago Temple Sky Chapel. The window on the left represents St. Matthews on one side (this church), the right pane represents the Ethiopian tradition that the emperor was descended from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

This week in Ethiopian Orthodox Church started the 55 days of fasting before Easter on May 1st. They do not eat meat, milk, eggs, cheese, butter and no coffee. They do not get married during fasting times because they are not to have sex either while fasting. They always fast on Wednesday and Friday except non-fasting weeks following the holidays. The 55 days after Easter is non-fasting time. We are getting ready for Easter here and next week is Palm Sunday. We are not sure how much of the Holy Week Celebration we can attend because of Jim's teaching schedule and the late services we may have trouble getting a cab or line taxi. So we are trying to figure out what we are doing.

I guess that is all this week. I hope this note finds every one in good health and getting ready for spring to arrive.

I will write again soon. Pat & Jim


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