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Ethiopia by E-mail

Subject: Hi from Addis May 7th
Date: Sun, 7 May 2006 07:46:48 -0400
From: Pat Rollin parollin9923@hotmail.com

We are doing well but have no water in the apartment again. The pump broke on Sunday April 30th and Monday was a Holiday so they took it away on Tuesday and it was supposed to be back the next day and another holiday was Friday so it won't be fixed until Monday at the earliest. Jim has worked all week and we both are having some sinus problems but have meds and we are ok. After the last water outage we bought two new buckets so we only have to go down once a day for water. If the water is not fixed by Tuesday I will be going to get water to wash clothes, but we can get along for about two weeks with out me washing. It's just at the end of the two weeks everything I have is dirty. Of course the students at Gemini made the comment I was becoming really Ethiopian carrying water. Although we talked to Yonas and he said I would not be really Ethiopian until I used the big clay pot and walked to the river to get water. I told him downstairs was close enough for me.

Of course we were really happy this week to hear my niece Sarah had a baby girl on Monday morning. Mother and daughter Kiersten Marie are doing well.

Jim, Nathan and Mel gave the entrance exam yesterday for next year's cohort. They have 240 people register and 205 people showed up for the exam. So they will be correcting exams and going through admission applications soon. They are not sure when. Melese the Associate Dean had a meeting that he had to attend so could not help with the exam so Mel went along to watch during the exam. Nathan and Mel had just gotten back around 10 PM Friday night from Tanzania. Nathan went to do some work but they did get short vacation in Zanzibar the week end before work started in Dar Es Salaam.

While they were giving the exam I was with Gurid a visiting professor from Norway who taught this week. She wanted to see some NGOs so we went to Gemini, the Alert Hospital and Trampled Rose. She wanted to see how some of the people at the NGOs lived and worked. It had rained so when we got to Gemini the students were reading in the library instead of out in the yard playing. The yard was a little lake and very muddy. We looked at the art room and went to watch the drummers practice in the music room and see the traditional instruments. The students were talking to us and one of them came to tell me that my friends were there. I did not know who they were talking about because I was not meeting anyone else there. I was in the art room talking to Yednkachew when Yonas came into the window and Dorothy Faller and a group here working on the Workforce grant came into view. I gave Yonas a big hug and said yes they were friends of mine but I was surprised to see them. They are here to work a Job Fair on Monday at AAU and have been doing a couple of NGO visits.

We left Gemini to go to Trampled Rose and got down the road and the road was closed. Thomas had to turn around and go back to Alert Hospital because they are making a nice new road from the Hospital to the road that Trampled Rose is on. So I told Thomas that we would stop at Alert next since we were going by it. At Alert Hospital we went to the store after driving into the compound. Before we got to the store we stopped to see the women who were crocheting, embroidering and spinning wool to get it ready to weave with. Then we stopped to see the weavers working in the one room. They weave the material which they use to make potholders, napkins, tablecloths and other items. The women sit outside on the ground or they have a couple of rooms where they sit and work. Gurid was looking at the crocheting and seeing that they were using some of the same patterns her grandmother used in Norway. They make doilies, curtains, tablecloths and vests that are crocheted. Gurid said to me she guessed the patterns are used around the world. It is the first time that I have actually seen the patterns they are crocheting. The pattern is a filet crochet which means start the first row with a chain then use spaces and solids to make a design. You can make flowers, animals, crosses or words in the design. A few were making doilies which were the pineapple design. Woman Spinning

At the Trampled Rose I took pictures to the women that I had taken a couple of weeks before and we saw all the people who are staying there. They are building a room so they can do laundry and have planted a vegetable garden. They are also going to build a classroom and craft room for the women to work in. They are doing basket weaving, they were spinning wool into string with a hand held spool for weaving along with the bead work they have been doing. I tried to do that at Gemini and I could not get it to work. Gurid took a picture of a woman at Alert hospital who was working with these tools and I will include it in this message.

After these visits we went to meet Nathan, Mel, Jim and the work force people at the Pizzeria for lunch. Yonas, Dorothy, Paul, Nada and Yolanda were there. They were very interested in Ethiopia but had not seen too much of Addis yet because they only arrived on Thursday and they are staying only a week so they did not know how much they would get to see. Gurid got to talking with Dorothy and found out they were both working for or attending CIP which is an exchange of Social Workers between different countries. It seems that the Social Work network is very big but in some respects everyone is connected. Gurid had been in Kalamazoo Michigan for 4 months in 1977 and has kept in touch with her host family and has visited them regularly since. She told me that she has been to Frankfort, Michigan to a summer home with 3 different generations of this family and now they have grown to 3 different generations of the same family. Gurid has come to Ethiopia to teach the Social Work Students and learn about another culture but said her visits are always too short to get to see much of the country here. So she was pleased to see a few NGOs. After lunch we came back to the apartment and walked over to the Market and around Bole Area and down to the Women's Promotional Center before Gurid had to go back to Abye's to pack to go home to Norway.

I only went to Gemini one day this week because of all the holidays. We received a wedding invitation to one of the students' cousin's wedding for next Saturday. We are to go to the church and reception in a park. Jim did not write the information down as to when or what time and the invitation is beautiful but in Amharic except the date May 13, 2006. So we will have to have it translated for us so we are on time. I am not worried about getting there because we will just have Thomas take us and we can call him to get to the reception later. Abebe is the student and he has been accepted at UIC for the doctoral program next fall. So we are hoping that he can come visit us in Michigan in the fall after he gets adjusted to America and Chicago. We are very honored that he thought to invite us so we can see a different part of the wedding ceremony in Addis. So next week we will report on the wedding and the customs we see at this wedding ceremony. We have seen different parts of a wedding and it seems the wedding here can last the better part of a week or two.

We have had a number of people ask us what Chat is. According to Lonely Planet guide book, Chat is Catha Edulis Forskal, an evergreen shrub averaging around 2 meters in height. It is also called QAT or Khat. It is found on the slopes of humid warm places in Africa between 1500 Meters and 2800 meters high. It is a natural and mildly intoxicating stimulant that has been consumed in Ethiopia and other regions for centuries and it is a legal drug here. The people here chew it to stay awake and feel good. We have not tried it because it is also bad if you have high blood pressure. It is the number one export with coffee coming in second. It is a cash crop but the doctor who came to the IFESH orientation said to be careful of it because you can get really sick. It is not a plant you can cook and it is not safe to eat because of the way it is grown and transported for foreigners who are not used to the different water and soil. Harare, where we went on our trip, is the Chat Capital of Ethiopia. So you see everyone with it and selling it.



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