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Ethiopia by E-mail

Subject: Hi everyone from Addis Ababa
Date: 15 Mar 2006 18:23:32 -0800
From: Pat Rollin parollin9923@hotmail.com

It has been a while since I have written. We have both been busy. Jim is teaching at the police college and doing field placements for the first year students so they can start in April. He has also been grading papers and reading thesis proposals. So 3 days a week he goes to AAU and 2 days to the police college. Jim is supposed to get to go on a ride along one of these days to see what police officers and stations here look like and do.

I have been still volunteering at Gemini and the English teacher needed Friday to Wednesday off so he asked me to teach his classes which included Saturday. So this week I worked 4 days last week and Monday this week. It is harder to teach on Saturday because the 4 to 8 grades are the students and they do not understand as much English as the older students. So one of the art students stayed with me to help translate for the younger grades and left me with the 8th graders.

A week ago Sunday we were asked by the Musicians at Gemini to come to a concert at AAU. At first they thought the program would be on Thursday which was the celebration of the Victory at the Battle of Adwa. But then I was informed it would be on Sunday evening then Sunday afternoon. We went to the Hilton Hotel to pick up a lady from France who is teaching the art students, then to the campus to find the Gemini group. As it turned out the Gemini group was working with the Drama Class from AAU and we were there for the final exam of the Drama Class. Joetta was with us and they put us in the front row and then put a chair in front of us. It turned out that the chair was for the teacher who was an IFESH volunteer 3 years ago. She is an Ethiopian who had been raised in the USA and had decided to come back to Ethiopia to live. She is teaching drama and was happy to see Joetta. We had met her once last year at a wedding but I am sure she would not have known who we were but having worked with Joetta she knew her right away. The Drama was in Amharic but the acting was really good and we were able to follow the plot even if we did not understand the words. The Gemini Musicians were good and a couple of the drama group from Gemini were extras in the show so we got to see them doing something different. We were even interviewed by ETV but since we do not have a television we did not know if we got on the news. Afterward, we stopped back at the Hilton for a drink with Jane and then home. Joetta had just come back from India and spent the weekend in Addis with us before going to her university Alameda. She left Monday morning. We have had a little company because Teydin, Allie and Jan had just come back from Egypt and then Jan and Teydin went on a tour of the historical route. So Teydin and Aliie spent one night and then when Teydin came back she spent another night before going back to Awassa. I think most of their traveling for right now is done. Most of them had a month off teaching for semester break. Jim decided to teach at the police college so he had no break.

We have been having a lot of meals with Nathan and Mel. I went to the phone company to pay bills and took Mel with me so he can see the way it works. Of course since we are foreigners we are treated a little differently. We do not have to stand in the long line outside to pay the bills and Nathan's and Mel's bills were not ready yet. We went on Tuesday to pay the internet bill and Mel's and Nathan's bill was ready. They send no bills out; you just go to the company to pay the bills. We went also to the Mapping Authority to get maps. We got to the door and the guard asked us what we wanted and we said to buy maps so he took us to the room we needed to go to. The man in that room asked what we wanted and I said to Mel "how many maps do you want?" and the man told us we were only allowed one each so we told him we each wanted one map of Addis and one of Ethiopia. Then he gave us a slip and told us to go upstairs to room 412. When we walked out to find the stairs, the guard came to ask where we were going and took us to the room upstairs we must go to. There, we gave the slip of paper to the lady and she went and got the maps and wrote out a receipt and told us to go across the hall to pay. At the room across the hall they wrote out another receipt and took the money. Then we went back to the first room to get our maps. Mel bought the maps in his name so I guess I can go back if we want more maps for Jim and Nathan. The maps were very cheap there. I had bought one map of Ethiopia on the street they started at 120 birr and Jim got them down to 60 birr but they tried to make us feel bad at that price. The map at the Mapping Authority costs 28.75 so they are making a profit on the street. I just don't know how they get more than one map but maybe they can buy as many as they want. The tourist shop has not had any since we came back and Allie's friend Gina said she went to the Mapping Authority and found maps. Mel was saying it was interesting that every person had to write a receipt and then the first person must put the receipt number on her receipt for the receipt where we paid. They do not use computers to track what is going on. We also saw an atlas we liked and did not ask the first guy if they were available and the first lady told us they are finished. So we did not get one of them. I will look at the store and maybe go back to try and get one. After that we went to see if we could get Mel a mobile phone and card. We went to a number of places only to be told we needed a residents or drivers license for Addis Ababa. An Ethiopian Residents Card which I have would not work. So we struck out. We were told maybe we could get one at the main Telecom office near the Stadium but it was almost lunch time and everything closes here for 2 hours especially government offices. Nathan did go yesterday to get his resident card and will pick it up today. He went early and it was not too busy. They have started doing things there on a computer so they took his picture and will have the card ready today.

I guess that is all the adventure for this week. We are doing well and keeping busy. Bye for now.



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