Ethiopia by E-mail
Subject: Hi everyone from Addis
Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2005 20:01:46 +0300
From: Pat Rollin firstname.lastname@example.org
We are doing really well. Ethiopia is quiet right now. The Election Results are to be released on July 7th. So hopefully the parties will have time to work on an agreement so everything stays peaceful. The Taxi strike is over and most business in Addis is back to normal. It rained really hard here this weekend and Melese told us it is the beginning of the rain season. We will miss most of the raining season. I went to Gemini this week for the first time in two weeks. My students were all ok but told me they did not go away from home the whole time the strike was on. The preschool students were not in class because their parents were still a little fearful of them coming out of their homes. They are to start next week. The 9th graders have their end of the year exams this next week then school will be out until September.
On Wednesday Zewdu took me to the main site for Gemini so I could do some shopping. I wanted a couple of baskets and I bought some earrings and a couple of shawls. We walked from one site to the other. I got to see the villages around the two sites. It was interesting and all the people were very friendly but Zewdu asks me why I said hi to everyone. I told him it was because I like to say hi and make sure people know I see them. The children who were out of school all came running up to shake hands and say hi. They were playing games like tag, football and some were working. It was a nice walk. At Gemini I got to go into the shed where they were making the baskets. I met Zewdu's Mom and Aunt and a lot of others who were making beautiful baskets. I have been looking at a really big covered basket but still don't know how to get it to Michigan in one piece. So I have not bought it yet.
Thursday I worked half a day at Gemini then we went to Sodore with Nathan, Alice, Melese, Donna, Claire and Jim. The group had meetings and worked on the schedule of classes for next year. They also started grading the exams for next year's students. They are about 2/3's done with the exams, one more day of work to go on them. It is about 3 1/2 hours from Addis. It is a beautiful ride. The countryside is very nice. The animals share the road with the cars and trucks. They have a lot of truck traffic coming to Addis from Nazaret where the trains bring goods in from Djibouti. But the train only runs to there and then the goods have to come by truck. They have no trains that come into Addis anymore. It is a resort in Ethiopia where they have hot springs and beautiful views of the country side. Claire is from France & is working with Abye on her master's in Political Science and International Relations. She came here at the right time to see an interesting political process. She did not have to attend meetings so I had someone to visit and go exploring with. We climbed up a mountain with a guide. It was a very pretty sight and we got to see a different view of the area. We saw a couple of Hyena dens, a rapids of the Awash River, and then the guide told us about the cobras and crocodiles they have in the area, which we did not see. They have troups of Monkeys living in the compound. So we saw a lot of monkeys and the babies are so cute. But they did not come to close unless you had food, then they were trying to share what ever you had. They would take food off the table while you were sitting there.
On the way back to Addis I saw my first camel in Ethiopia. We passed a lot of villages and stopped to take pictures. A lot of people were on the roads going to market and getting water. We will include some pictures of the trip. It was Claire and Donna's first trip out of Addis. They arrived in Addis about the same time and they really enjoyed seeing the country a little. Donna is trying to decide what she wants to see the rest of the time she is here. We have included pictures of the camel and Melese and Donna with a herd of cattle walking down the road on the way home from Sodore to Addis. After this we stopped at a couple of crater lakes and talked to a man who had just graduated for college in Debre Zeyit. We had a nice trip. Everyone felt the planning for next year and the exam grading went really smooth and they got a lot done.
After we arrived back at the apartment we had a little lunch and they started working on grading the exams again. So I included a picture of them working hard on the grading.
It is hard to believe that in less then two weeks we will be in Michigan. I have a 3 hour layover in Detroit before I get to Saginaw and Shannon offered to come get me but I don't want her to drive that far especially if the plane is delayed and I am stuck somewhere. I will meet her in Saginaw. Then she can drive me up to see our Mom's and family. I can sleep anywhere and in the car going up there.
We have not figured out our whole schedule while in Michigan. But it will go fast I am sure. Shannon has made us Doctor & Dentist appointments and we have other business we have to take care of. The most important business is visiting with family and friends.
Jim has to be back to Addis around the 20th of September to start getting ready for next year's classes. They will have two groups of students to teach. They will be hiring another professor hopefully before he leaves Addis we hope. They are interviewing a couple now. I am not sure when I will be coming back. I need to find out what they can do for me about this crown that does not stay put. That is one of the reasons I am going to the dentist on July 5th in case I need to see a specialist about the tooth and crown. I hope it does not take too long to get into see one if I have to.
Here are a couple of web sites that might interest you.
The first one is a site where Pat's students at Gemini took photos of life here. It is a good site. Make Poverty Disappear is a group that bought Nikon digital cameras and passed them out to selected students. Pat works with Betti and Ashe. Unfortunately last week, someone stole Betti's camera and she was quite upset about it. I saw some of her photos and they were good.
The second site is the site that I have sent out before describing the project that started our work here. It is called SWEEP, (Social Work Education in Ethiopia Project) and is a partnership between Addis Ababa University and University of Illinois at Chicago. If anyone would prefer to use the site rather than receive newsletters, let me know & I will remove you from my newsletter list.
The last site is International Foundation for Education and Self Help (IFESH) Teachers for Africa (TFA). This is the group that sponsors Jim here. For those who would like to volunteer and come to Africa, they have information there.