Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Meskel at School

Meskel Angel

Meskal is a great festival, celebrating the Feast of the True Cross , on September 27th. According to tradition, it celebrates the finding of the true cross on which Jesus was crucified. Saint Helena found the cross in Jerusalem by following the smoke from a fire. People celebrate Meskal by lighting a huge bonfire in their town square. They file in procession to the fire carrying burning torches. The celebration can last all through the night.
This is one of my Year Three Angels...I have to keep pinching myself...what a wonderful class of great kids!

Tuesday's nights are not meant to be like this...are they?

Well it all started with a parent conference after school and then a 30 minute walk to the Hilton.

I joined the Hilton club so that I can swim there...taking advantage of the great thermally heated pool.
Very relaxing swim that was timed nicely to coincide with Happy Hour! Well you do have to reward yourself....right.
Met up with some friends and happy hour at the Hilton then turned into listening to a band from USA playing at the Sheraton...and then like Cinderella I had to dash home in a white carriage by midnight... but still have my glass slippers.

Yea on reflection Tuesday nights should be like that!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Random thoughts in first month

It took me 2 weeks to even notice they were driving on the other side of the road!

I thought I was being bitten by mossies when it was really flees in my bed and had to move out of my house while it was fumigated.

I asked my maid to buy me bananas and she bought me 30! Yes three zero.

One month in Addis

Well I have been here one month and need to put some time and effort into capturing life or at least a tiny part of here month in I would say I am humbled. Humbled by the people and place and privileged to be able to live here and experience it all first hand.

Life is good...the pace is slow and things are not easy to do but each day I learn a little more about how to live in Addis. It has been an amazing few weeks...power cuts have been sporadic of late and the weather is warming up. Last weekend was the first chance to try to figure out the crazy geography of the city and start to build up my own map in a city with few street names and it feels good to be able to hop in a line taxi and navigate to a few places. Line taxis are minibuses that travel on set routes and cost 1 to 2 birr so making it inexpensive to get around. Managed to get my hair done at Boston Day Spa...a haven of luxury in Addis followed by a fab fish curry in the Limetree...Had goat at Zebra grill...spent Sunday swimming and relaxing at the Hilton and then cause the Armenian club was closed ate at Lucy’s – great food...lamb my skinny clothes don’t fit yet!

Another big breakthrough is my maid Desta...who can communicate in English. She shops and cooks and the food situation has improved greatly. She can make rice and pasta and some meat sauces. It is hard to explain the help this is and my intake of bananas has decreased...I am soooo looking forward to the mango season!

Typical day...cornflakes...fresh OJ...banana for break...cold rice and sauce for lunch + pineapple...pasta or rice and beef sauce for dinner. There seems to be days on end when some of staff are eating out so that is good.

School is fab...the kids are lovely and the staff really is all laid back and a great place to teach... My title is Miss Mary...we are all having fun together. I have taken on the role of numeracy co-ordinator and will provide inservice for the staff...took my pupils to the IT suite this week...they have two formal IT lessons with the teacher every week...and the teacher has a daughter in my class. It was all good and there is great potential for my kids to integrate a lot of ICT into science, maths, topic work and English. It is great to be able to put it all into practice... The kids are very appreciative of everything and I am seeing an improvement in the standard of their work. I am pleasantly surprised in my enjoyment of teaching literacy - probably because for these kids it is so important... we have been doing story settings and reading the little wooden horse. The whiteboards are a great help in all that we my purchases on ebay of markers was a wise move. We have been making line monsters and torn paper monsters in school so the classroom is looking good.

Today is the eve of Meskel – a celebration to remember the finding of the true cross that Jesus was crucified on. We celebrated on Friday in school and it was singing and dancing and have captured it on video and camera. That was followed by an evening at Top View Italian restaurant hosted by the school for teh was good to meet some more teachers and then we headed onto Illusions to hear some teachers ( David from Scotland, Pablo from Spain) and the secondary head Resh play in their band...we all had a great night and early morning!

Headed out today with Christine form New York ( who tutored child stars on broadway etc including the Jonas brothers...that bit is for Katie and Claire... and Caroline from Leeds to see the Meskel celebration in the centre of is lovely ...about 10,000 people in an open air amphitheatre listening to a musical celebration that culminated in everyone lighting candles, a huge bonfire and fireworks...humbled simple and the audience in awe.

Next instalment...will I be moving to a mansion in Addis? Tune in to find out...

So everyone if you managed to read all that you will see that life is very different, exciting and fun and I am still smiling.