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Ethiopia by E-mail

Subject: Hi everyone from Addis
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 13:39:48 -0400
From: Pat Rollin parollin9923@hotmail.com

Donna came in on Friday morning and as sometimes happens her luggage did not arrive with her. She had spent the night in Washington, DC before the flight left for Addis Ababa so she thinks the luggage was just forgotten because of the long layover. I found some clothes to lend her for the weekend. Hopefully her luggage will arrive and she can get in today or tomorrow. She was a little tired from traveling but was ready to go on the weekend with us that afternoon. We went to Weliso to spend the weekend grading entrance exams. Weliso is a small resort & farm town. Mel and I did not have to work Tukel so we went in the town to the local market and some shopping at the business district. I bought a couple of more shawls and some little baskets. So my gift shopping is moving right along. The first night we got to stay in a Tukel that had walls & roof of woven wood. They told us these were the first class rooms. The resort we went to stay at had different type of huts built representing different areas and ethnic groups in Ethiopia. So we took pictures of all the different shaped and construction material houses. Then the second night we moved into the main hotel and the second class rooms. That room had a big bathroom with a sunken bathtub and was very big. I could not see the difference between the two rooms except the second one was a little warmer because it was made of brick where the first one was a thatched roof and woven walls.

The first night we got there and had dinner and Jim, Nathan and Mel went for a swim in the pool fed from the hot springs. The next morning they got up, we had breakfast and they started reading Theses.

After they were all set up, Mel and I went with Addis, our university driver, to go to town. Addis met a young man whose family shares his village in Addis Ababa so they were talking and the young man, Mulugeta, went to town with us. On the way in he told us he was working at a Mirco Credit NGO as an accountant. He asks if we wanted to go to the local market or just shops in town. We told him that we had never been to a local market and would like to go look around. The local market was just a dirt road and it had rained so it was a muddy field. They displayed the vegetables and fruit on the ground on mats. The clothing shawl, material and gabis were on tables and a frame they had made to hold the cloth. The boots and shoes were on mats again. Some of the booths had protection overhead but a lot of the Dikdik booths were just out in the open. On the one side they did have some actual booths made of metal or tin but they were selling mostly European clothing and shoes. We then went to the shops in town which were not much bigger than the booths at the local market but they were selling batteries which we needed. We walked around that shopping area and Mel took some pictures. Then we were invited to stop and see Mulugeta's parents' house and they had a very beautiful garden. We drove around town a little then back to the resort for lunch with the whole group. While we were waiting, Addis pointed out a small antelope called a dikdik in English. It is about the size of a medium sized dog & it is full grown.

After lunch we started helping them with the exams. Mel checked exams to make sure everyone answered both questions and cross off an names on the exams because they were only supposed to use their ID number. I started entering the scores in the computer and checking the graded exams with the scores to make sure everyone was done. So we worked until after 7 and went for dinner then to bed. We got up for breakfast and while waiting for breakfast the rest started grading exams and we finished by 11 so we got to take a sightseeing trip to Wenchi, a crater a lake, on the way home. It was a bumpy road like the ones where Jim and I grew up but we were riding along a road that took us up on the ridge of the mountain. It was a beautiful trip and then we started down to the crater lake and it started hailing but stopped before we reached the bottom so we all got out and walked around. Then we had to climb back out of the crater but we had a good driver and a 4 x 4 of course, although they had a lot of horses waiting to take people back up the mountain if you wanted to hire them. Then it was on to Ambo where they bottled all the mineral water they sell in Addis Ababa. Along the road Carrying Plants we took pictures of women carrying heavy loads of plants up the mountain. They use the plants to brew an alcoholic drink. Jim had visited here last year and was told by his guides that the area was called Shombo which means "broken" in the local language, Afan Oromo. The land is broken, formed by volcanic action along the north edge of the rift valley. It is a harsh land to live in.

We stopped to get some drinks at a hotel with a beautiful garden. Jim and I had went to the vehicle and everyone else was in the hotel and it started to rain as we got into the car. So we called Nathan to tell them it was going to rain which Jim had told them he thought it was going to storm. By the time they made it to the front of the hotel it was pouring and they waited while Addis pulled in front of the hotel. Then they finally decided to run for it with umbrellas opened wide but they still got wet. So when they finally got into the car Donna asked for another shawl and we had given them a towel to dry the seat off. As we left Ambo, Melese decided we had to get fuel. The drive to the fuel station and the road were covered with a river of water 6" deep. Once the rain subsided, we fueled up and then on to Addis Ababa on a road that they are just building. As a result, some of the time we were in the ditch driving.

Pat Rollin


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