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Ethiopia by E-mail

Subject: HI everyone from Addis Ababa
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 18:56:03 +0300
From: Pat Rollin parollin9923@hotmail.com

This is probably my last newsletter from Ethiopia. I will be leaving on Friday for Saginaw and to visit family and friends the next 2 1/2 months. It is hard to believe my 6 months in Addis is coming to an end. I have mixed feeling about coming home. It is hard to leave friends and not knowing how I will feel once I get home. Living in a country that is very poor and you have not many choices about food or what you want to buy then coming back to the US may be a very hard adjustment. Then knowing I am coming back in 2 1/2 months will be hard again. I want to see family and friends in the US.

This has been a very busy week. Nathan has been here for 2 weeks and left on Friday night late. I think he had a good and productive trip to Addis. He will be returning to Addis in January to do his research for his Fulbright and maybe teaching 1 class at the Social Work School. Sue was here to have her tooth fixed and the last HDP workshop this year. She will be back on Monday to see the dentist one last time. Then she has a few things to finish in Debre Birhan. She will be making a trip to Egypt and Turkey before returning to her family in the US.

We have been eating out a lot lately. Everyone has wanted to try a different restaurant here in Addis. So we have had a lot of get togethers. Jim, Donna, Nathan, Alice and Melese have gotten the exams graded. So we are about a half of the way to having a new class for next year.

We had a party on June 23rd for the Social Work School. It was an end of the year party while everyone was still together. It was a nice get together. I met a lot of students that I had not met before. They all wished us well and said they want us to come back in September. I think they are going to miss James. But then most of them are planning on working and getting ready for next year's classes.

On Friday we made a trip with Deribe and Amare to visit their NGOs in the Fiche, Debre Libanos and Muketuri areas. It was a nice trip. We stopped at the 16th century Portuguese Bridge and the Monastery at Debre Libanos.

It is a very pretty ride and it rained part of the way. We are now in the rainy season and it is colder here. This is the highlands heading to the northern part of Ethiopia. It is rocky and rough land, mostly formed by volcanic activity around the rift valley. There are steep gorges formed by the rain running off and it looks like a harsh land. Amare described it as broken. Farming here is mostly subsistence and done by hand. Jim saw the first tractor tilling the soil since he has been here. We saw a lot of farmers plowing with oxen and wooden plows.

Classroom in Fiche Deribe has a school which he works with in Fiche. They have 1500 students now and will be expanding in the fall to 2000. The students are from grade 1 to 8. They have just built a new building which was paid for by the Japanese. The classroom is a lot of desks with a blackboard. They don't have a library and books are scarce. Everything they learn is written on the blackboard by the teacher. I will include a picture of the class room. The Japanese, Chinese, and Norwegians are making large contributions to rebuild the infrastructure in Ethiopia.

Amare's NGO was a nonformal school and Gender Club. They teach students about not following all the old practices of early marriage, multiple wives and how to treat each other at Gorakitaba, which is a small village. There Tukul Interior we were able to go into a Tukul, which is their home. We will include a picture of this also. They live in the round mud hut with the donkey in one corner and the cattle in the other corner at the entrance to the room and the kitchen and bedroom at the other end of the building. All their belonging are in this space. They heat and cook with animal dung and wood which is also stored in the room. They were plowing the field to plant. They also showed us a guest house which was a single room with nothing in it but hay. They had decorated the walls with posters and they spread the hay out to sleep on so they are not on the ground.

Saturday we went to the NGO Bazaar and Alert Hospital and did some shopping in Piazza. I think I have most of my Christmas shopping for the family done. If I don't I will be mailing something to Shannon after I get back. I will wrap everything while I am in Michigan and Shannon will deliver it close to Christmas. We went to lunch at a very crowded restaurant which Donna discovered with a student who is also a Deacon in the Orthodox Church. The church youth are using the restaurant to make money to make a multi purpose center at the church. Then we came home and started packing to make sure we had enough space for everything. We are going to try and buy a new duffle bag to bring the pillar home we bought. It is too big for our bags. We think we will be ok if we get the bigger bag. Other wise it means a trip to DHL to see if they can send the package for us to Michigan.

Sunday we went to church and had buffet at Bombay Brassiere with Don, Joan and Susan. Don and Joan are leaving tomorrow for New Hampshire. Susan was in Addis to do some work and have the last appointment for her root canal. It was a really nice afternoon. Susan will be spending the night.

Jim still has a lot to do and hopefully he will be done with admissions before he leaves Addis on July 4th. I still have a lot of cleaning and a few more dinners to fix here. Bye for now. I will write when I get back to Michigan to tell you all I have arrived safely.



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