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Ethiopia by E-mail

Subject: Good morning from Addis
Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2006 02:57:40 -0800
From: Pat Rollin parollin9923@hotmail.com

Today is moving day for Nathan. Jim, Mekonin, and Nathan have taken all of Nathan's belongings to the villa. He now has groceries, the appliances hooked up and we have cleaned the villa. Yonas came over on Wednesday and washed windows. The men from the university hooked up the stove which is the same as ours: 3 gas burners, an electric oven & one electric burner.

We have had a very busy week. Last Sunday we attended Church then went to Bombay and had a quiet afternoon. On Monday I worked at Gemini and then we cooked dinner after a little grocery shopping. On Tuesday I did laundry while Jim and Nathan went to work. I picked up the apartment and we had dinner. But Wednesday we did cleaning at Nathan's, went to lunch, Nathan did laundry and we went out for dinner after moving the extra bed into the living/dining room so Teyden could spend the rest of the week with us. Just before we went out to dinner Jim and I heard chanting and went onto the roof to take pictures of the Bole Median Alem church. Then we heard closer chanting and went out to see and the church was meeting another church by Priests Carrying Tabots Saay Pastry and Bole Road was closed and there were crowds of people with 3 horses leading them and the priests with the Tabots processing to a field between us and the airport on Bole Road. So Jim and I went out and took pictures. We have attached a picture of the priests carrying the Tabots. They are replicas of the tablets of Moses & the Ark of the Covenant. All night you could hear the chanting while the people stood vigil.

Thursday morning we were out of the apartment at 8 to go to Timkat. Timkat is the celebration of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist and is the biggest holiday in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. It is much bigger than Christmas. We got to the field after the program had started and at first we were not able to get into the enclosure until one of the Graduate Students who is also studying to be a priest saw us and with the help of another priest got the police officers to let us in. So Zena explained a lot of the ceremony to Jim, Nathan and Teyden on the roof. This year we went with IFESH and were in the enclosure and Jim and most of the rest of the IFESH group went on top of a building to watch from there. But as most of you know I am not a person that likes heights so after starting to climb the open metal spiral staircase I decided to come back to ground level and watch from there.

They had a big pool in the enclosure with a statue of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus. On one side of this enclosure was a hose on a high pipe Timkat which sprayed water on the crowd and the other side the hoses which were manned by the priest. I got to see the priest spray a big crowd with a garden hose for all the time we were there except when the Patriarch was talking. I have attached a picture of that too. The crowd was trying to fill water bottles with the water. I saw a couple of police officers go to the pool and fill bottles for people in the crowd. It was not as warm as some days in Addis so I am not sure I would have wanted to be sprayed. Then we came back to the apartment with Nick and went out for lunch after making coffee.

I have found a way to make coffee that is not as long as the ceremony. We heat the water in a tea kettle, buy ground Ethiopian Coffee and then put a little charcoal in a metal tray and put it on the gas stove to heat and then make the coffee. Jim and Nathan said it is good and the pot will set on the burner that way. I told Jim was can use the brazier and roast beans sometimes.

Friday Jim and Nathan had hearings on the students proposals all day so Teyden and I went to the travel agent to get a ticket because Teyden is going to Egypt with Allie and Jan, then we walked from there to the Egyptian Embassy to find out about visas, went to the University to look around and then to Sheromedia to meet Ato Mamo's wife and son so Teyden could get a traditional dress. We came home and some of the churches were still celebrating so many of the roads were closed. We had to walk because the church next to the University was having services. Then we went to lunch and shopping at the grocery store and the Women's Center. Then Teyden left to go pick up her dress which she had ordered at noon and was ready at 5 PM. They special made it for her because she was going home to Awassa this morning she had to have it last night. Nathan and Jim got home and we went out for dinner and came home to a quiet evening. Teyden got home at 10 and we had ice cream bars that she bought us. This morning we had pancakes for breakfast and Teyden left from the bus depot and I did laundry. Tonight we are supposed to go out to dinner at Rose and Tim's place. They are a couple of other Fulbrighters who we meet at Church and Nathan knows. So that will be nice.

That is all for now, we will write again later.

Jim & Pat


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