SWEEP Banner

Ethiopia by E-mail

Subject: HI Everyone from Addis
Date: Sat, 14 May 2005 19:32:51 +0300
From: Pat Rollin

Saturday 7 May
We have had a good week. I did laundry and worked on my bedspread I am making for the spare room. Jim taught this week and Thursday was a holiday in Ethiopia, Patriot's Day and their was no school and some stores were closed. I worked at Gemini on Wednesday and then on Saturday we met the students at the National Museum for a tour of the place. Jim went with me. Getting to the museum was interesting because they are having an election in a week and they were having a political rallies at the Meskal Square so they had streets closed to traffic and other streets people were walking down and they had all the traffic on one side to the street. Buses were full of people going to the rally with people sitting on roof(top). They had big stake rack trucks (like Dump Trucks) loaded with people standing in the back of them. The horns were all honking and everyone was shouting for their group or political party. But since we don't understand Amharic we did not understand much. At the museum they had a staff person give a talk about the museum and history of Ethiopia. It was in Amharic so we did not understand a lot. Although once in a while he would say something in English. There were two others ladies from New Zealand with us. They are working with Gemini to train the students to be coaches for sport teams. One was talking to Jim about being a Social Worker and starting College in Toronto, Canada next year.

Addis Ababa National Museum The students were really happy to tell Jim and I about the exhibits in the museum and their country. We took a lot of pictures with a disposable camera so I can give some prints to the students. We saw Lucy and were told by the students how she got her name. In Amharic her name is Denkenesh or Birkenes. It means you are wonderful (or amazing) in Amharic.

Jim had several of my students escorting him through the museum, trying to teach him Amharic and explaining the history of Ethiopia to him. They showed him cultural artifacts and explained them to him. They seemed to enjoy showing off their heritage. The picture included shows a group of the Gemini youth in front of Haile Selassie's throne in the National Museum.

While we were at the museum with the group, two younger girls came in and attached themselves to our group. One named Naomi told us they were supposed to be at the museum to learn about Menelek II. She followed us all over the museum and we spent most of our time in the anthropological area and the art area and did not spend much time in the Menelek II area. When she was ready to leave, she said goodbye. She asked Jim to take a picture of a model of the Axum Stelea with his camera and show her how the camera worked. It is a digital camera and she was excited to see the photo on the view screen when it was taken.

Sunday 8 May
We went to church this morning and the roads are still messed up with the political rallies. We saw a marching band parading down Bole Road. So all the traffic was on one side of the street. Bole is a divided street with about 4 lanes going in each direction. We understand the election is next Sunday. Jim thinks everything will still be messed up. They have a lot of extra police and soldiers armed with AK-47 out on all the major roads and streets. There are two opposition parties and the party in power is the EPRDF (Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front). There is a lot of tension & suspicion of the ruling party. The ruling party primarily represents the Northern Tigray people. The Amhara have formed a coalition with them but are unhappy and the Oromo are unhappy with the Tigray & Amhara. One party that represents Oromo people was declared illegal by the government. One of my students in field placement was accused of using a "political" word while working in the field with a community. A complaint was made to the regional government. The government sent out investigators and the organization dismissed him.

Saturday night Jim was getting ready for bed and turned the hot water heater in the bathroom on and came out to get his book so he could read in bed. When he turned on the living room light it popped and all the electric went out in our apartment. We checked the breaker box and the one switch was off so Jim reset it. The power did not go back on. We called the only number Jim has to have anything fixed and they told us we would just have to wait until Monday morning at 8:30am. Jim could not talk to any of the neighbors so when we went to bed it was after 10 PM. This morning we finally got to talk to the next door neighbor and he took Jim to the guard shack at the gate and they got a man who had a key to check the main breakers in the room where they keep the electric meters. They reset the switch and came up and checked and we had power again. So now we know who to see in the building about the electricity when it is only our apartment that is out. The lights in the hallway were on and the neighbors had lights but did not answer their door. I told Jim to makes sure the fix-it man from the University starts telling people who to contact in the building if this happens. The University should not have to come out for switches that just need to be reset. On Monday Jim called to say they were coming to pick up the hot water here and by the time they got here the power was out again. This time resetting the switch did not work so Tuesday morning they came out with a electrican and he said there was a loose connection in the breaker box and it has worked every day since. They told Jim they would be back on Friday to deliver the hot water heater so yesterday Thursday the man called Jim because no one was home to let them in. He was suppose to be here at 9 AM Friday but so far has not shown up and Jim took the day off work to be here. Jim is grading papers from his last class so he is getting something done today. But sometimes you just wish people would show up when they promise.

I worked Gemini this week and the students were all happy because we gave them pictures that we took with a couple of disposable cameras Shannon left here. I am not sure they have their pictures taken too often. I have taken a lot of pictures at Gemini with the digital camera and this week we gave Gemini Kids & Backpacks Meron a CD with all the pictures I have taken. On Wednesday at Gemini Meron and the preschool teachers gave out the back packs that my sister-in-law Sheila and brother Terry had mailed us from the United States. On Thursday all the students came back with their back packs on. It was really cute. Sheila had received the back packs from a drug representative she knows. Meron also gave the teachers pens which Sheila and Terry had sent also. I took pictures and we will include one in this newsletter. The second picture is of the children at Gemini showing off the backpacke.

Thursday 12 May
The mainenance people called Jim at work to find out if they could get into the apartment and replace the hot water heater. They were at the apartment. I was at Gemini and Jim was working. They had told him they would come Friday morning.

One of Jim's students called us about 4:30 to ask where he was. They were having policial rallies down by the university and he wanted Jim to go home if he was still at work. He told Jim we should not be out last night because of all the rallies. Of course about 6 PM it started raining really hard so maybe the rallies did not last long. I was told yesterday that Sunday is the election but they will not know for 27 days who wins because it takes that long to count the votes. We are not in the rainy season yet but for the last week or so it has rained everyday at some point. Doing laundry has been really interestig but I get it out and either it rains right after that or it will stop dripping and I keep a close watch and bring it in to dry in the spare room. It never rains all day just some part of it.

Friday 13 May
The maintainence people had promised to come in the morning but never showed up. Jim had waited at home for them instead of going in to work. They finally showed up in the afternoon and said they did not know where the water heater was but they would find it and deliver it Monday morning.

I guess that is about all for this newsletter. I will write again next week.



For text-based links to pages on this site's navigation menu please use the site map.