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Ethiopia by E-mail

Subject: Hello from Addis April 2nd
Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2006 01:09:16 -0500
From: Pat Rollin parollin9923@hotmail.com

We are doing well and have had a busy week. Sunday we went to church and had lunch at Bombay Brassiere with Mel. Monday I stayed home and did laundry and tried to catch up on house cleaning. We have had a couple more small problems with water. The water in the bathroom was working fine but the water in the kitchen was not working at all for one day. Of course it is better to have water in the bathroom then the kitchen if you can only have it in one place. But it is now fixed again. Jim thinks that they had to turn off the water in the kitchen because of a leak somewhere upstairs and that all apartments are on one line for the kitchen and another for the bathroom. So we just stay prepared with bottled, boiled water and heat water on the stove when the water is not working to do dishes. It is not something we think about all the time we just stay prepared. We broke the handle off one of our buckets so we went and bought two smaller ones that will be easier to carry if we have another outage. Jim called Ato Mekinon the driver at the University because we needed fuel gas for the kitchen stove so he went and picked us up two tanks and came and got our empty tanks so we are doing well on gas for the stove.

On Tuesday I went to pay the electric and phone bills. I picked up an old bill like I always do and did not take last month's bill. I got to the electric company office and the man who I always go to looked up the bill and asked me when last month's bills was. I asked if I could pay with the bill I had and he looked at me and said there was a problem and they needed last month's bill. He said he knew I paid last month but they were charging me for 2 months. So back to the house to find the bill then take it to the stationery store to have it photo copied then back to the electric company where I presented the copy and was asked for my phone number because you cannot pay the bill until the bill is prepared properly. I am still waiting for the phone call so I will probably get a two month charge next month too. I went to the phone company and got right in & out and the bill was paid. Jim was getting ready for Police College and we figured out we had to go shopping to get transparencies for his overhead presentation for next week so we went shopping but had to go to 4 different stores before we found any.

Wednesday I went to Gemini. They are doing a lot of improvements on the compound. They have painted the roof and eaves and they are mixing cement and putting it in all the holes on the walls inside and out and fixing the block gate outside.

Thursday, Mel, James and I went to the Trampled Rose to visit. Jim was doing a site visit as he has one of his students placed there for his field placements. I went to give out pictures that I had taken of the women there. I took more pictures and have to go back again next week. The women are now making beautiful baskets. I told Bizuayehu the office manager that when they get to the point they are going to sell some to let me know. I want to buy a couple. They have another injera maker and they now have an electric bread maker. They have a washer but no dryer for clothes yet but they will probably get one before the rain season starts in June. Mel had been to the first compound but they have now moved. When Nathan gets back from Lithuania we will go back and then walk over in the church yard.

Friday I went to Gemini again and they are now painting all the walls inside and out. Someone said they are going to have an inspection of the clinic so that room is getting done first. So all the patients were sitting out on the porch on benches waiting to see Sister.

On Saturday, Mulugeta, one of Jim's students, took us to see his NGO near Ziway. It is the Oromo Self Help Organization. They are working with several different communities in the area. They were set up to give out food relief during a previous drought in the area but asked the funders if they could also help the people to manage crops so they have seed for the next year to plant, water resource development and more modern techniques where they still use a hand plow and two oxen. They also have showed them how to plant multiple crops on one hectare of land so we saw them harvesting tomatoes, onions and potatoes. They have corn and drought resistant grains they have introduced along with a nurseries for fruit trees Mango, Papaya and Avocado. Jim always makes sure we see parts of a country that no other tourist sees. I was told Lake Ziway has a beautiful beach but we went to the other side where there was no beach. Just some fisherman and ditches & fences where they are trying to keep out the hippos out of the tree nursery. Unfortunately we did not see any hippos, they come out of the water at night & trample the tree seedlings but they don't eat the seedlings. I think they are doing a really good job of getting the local people, the local government and the aide people working together to improve the life of the whole community. They have turned over several projects to the local Jim with Arsi Oromo Spear communities and they are self sustaining & continuing. After seeing the sites we had a meeting with all the heads of the different departments and Jim's students who are there working. Then we had a meal of tibs and injera and a coffee ceremony but no vegetables at the meal. The local people in Arsi Oromo Spear this community are not fasting for Easter because most are Muslim. Then Jim was given an Arsi Oromo Spear which is 8 foot long and we have no idea how we will get it home. It is real and sharp enough to shave with. I told him now we have to find a shield to go with it but the shields here are made of hippo or rhinoceros hide & we don't know if they are protected species that would be prohibited from import to the US.

Tombstone On the way home Jim took a lot of pictures of birds and tombs along the road side. Mulugeta told us that the pictures on the tombs are whether the person is a hunter or cattle man and the larger and more pictures the richer they were. We took pictures of Abyssinian Ground Hornbill and Mulugeta kept saying when we only saw one that they are always with their mates. So at one point we saw 5 birds together. It was a really good trip but it took a half hour on very rough roads to get to the community and then we rode around the different villages. We left early in the morning and did not get back until after dark so we were gone more then 12 hours. Mulugeta was a good driver and I had no problems riding with him. On the road we were shaken but Mulugeta was really proud of the road and the way they have been maintaining the road. It was like being home on some of the roads we grew up on before they were graded after along winter. It has rained so there were puddles everywhere. Mulugeta told us on the way that the malaria risk is high right now and we told him that we take our pills every week in case we go out on short notice. Mulugeta asked Jim on Tuesday to go and you have to take the pills two weeks before you go into a malaria area.

So we are back at home, the water is running and we are getting ready for church. We hope this note finds everyone doing well and enjoying warmer weather and getting ready for church on time because of the time change.

Pat and Jim


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