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Ethiopia by E-mail

Subject: Happy New Years everyone
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 23:25:28 -0500
From: Pat Rollin parollin9923@hotmail.com

I am writing on New Year's Eve to say Happy New Year's. We have not got much planned this year. We are going to straighten up the apartment today and do some laundry. Our friend Nathan from Chicago is coming to Addis to do research and teach for 7 months and will be staying with us until he finds a place of his own. We are looking forward to his stay with us and his being in Addis so we can visit with him. Then this evening we will go to Bombay for dinner and most of the evening.

I have been working at Gemini but have missed a few days because of the holidays and things will not be back to normal until after Ethiopian holidays this month. The Students are now getting ready for their Christmas and wanted to know how I spent mine. So I told them, it was a quiet holiday for us. We celebrated with our IFESH family. On Friday most of us went out to dinner at an Armenian Restaurant near Arat Kilo. Then Saturday we had meetings all day. The evening was a celebration of our Christmas and IFESH's 10th Anniversary in Ethiopia. We got to meet some of the people who helped start the program here. It was interesting to find out some of the facts of how it started in Ethiopia. Then on Sunday we attended church and went to lunch with the other IFESH volunteers then came home and had a quiet afternoon. We were out late both evenings which we are not used to being out late usually in bed by 8:30 or 9. then up early to attend the meeting with IFESH so we were tired. I guess are just getting older. I went with a couple of the students on a walk to the main Gemini office last week. I needed to buy some spices and I got a flat basket which they use to put on injera from the injera oven and a bag from Gemini. As we were walking we came to a tent across the road and the only way to get through was to walk through the tent. Just before we entered I asked what the tent was for and received the answer it is a funeral tent. So we quietly walked through the tent and after we got out I asked what that meant. We have seen tents up before but never paid much attention because we were not walking through them. The students told me that when a person dies here they put up the tent near the person's house so the mourners have someplace to sit and be with the family. They maybe serve a drink or some kolo but that is the way they mourn here. They do not have funeral homes and the families have the tents up for 40 days so people can come pay their respects. The person who died is usually buried or cremated within a day after they die. We have not had anyone we know die so we have not been to a funeral here. So I am still learning about Ethiopia.

Jim has worked everyday and is getting ready to start another class on Jan. 9th and getting ready to teach at the Police College in February. It is out of Addis and the Police College will pick him up the days he teaches and take him to the college and bring him home. It is about a 45 minute drive out of the city. He will be teaching 2 days a week. He is really looking forward to this new experience.

I hope every one has a Happy New Year and a wonderful 2006.



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