Monday, 2 November 2009

Life is agreeing with me - hurrah for Harrar!

So tomorrow is November 1st...and my computer has reminded me that daylight savings time has kicked in the UK which means we are now 3 hours ahead here in Ethiopia...but the weather here is turning warmer by the week and Addis life is feeling ‘sunny’ too.

What an amazing place and time...I have to keep pinching life here feels like the ‘precious present’...not least because I feel so privileged.

The week off for half term hols is coming to a close and it has been a fun one...experiencing travelling 500km east in a white carriage ...that translates in white landcruser in Ethiopia... through incredible landscapes...passing through Awash and seeing herds of camels under the protection of the fierce Afar nomadic people...climbing high into the mountains and enjoying the spectacle of vast mountain regions stretching as far as the eye could see...farming going on in age old ways long forgotten in the mechanised west...terraced hillsides filled with all so important crops that yield some of the best peanuts I have ever tasted.

My favourite part was the drive down the winding hillside into Dire reach the sleepy town that plays an important role in the importation of goods by rail from Djibouti... nights spent in Room 104 in the Selam hotel... One highlight was an evening meal in a local family's house complete with bonfire outside and a traditional coffee ceremony...very intimate and lovely to be part of a household.
Retelling this part would not be complete without telling you about Ethiopian working for an English company here in great is her thoughtfulness and ability to read your mind that she called ahead to the hotel and had them make homemade ice cream...delicious. Many great memories on this trip and as they say in Mamma Mia dot, dot, dot!

So back to life in Addis...I have learned allot...and am getting to grip with how to live in Ethiopia...I feel safe and have learned how to get around in line taxis which are basically shared minibuses that travel on main routes through the city the average journey costs economical...then there is a contract taxi system ...basically like taxis at home where it is point to point and costs about £2 subject to your bargaining skills or alternatively you can hire them by the hour for £5 for 2 hours and £2.50 an hour after that...this is great especially as there is a taxi driver who lives near us that I can call and he will pick up from the house...important after dark...I would not walk alone after dark anywhere.

Shopping for food is not easy but Desta the maid takes on that responsibility and is a great cook...lots of vegetarian food...rice and no losing weight as the carb intake is high..well that combined with meals out and of course a glass or three of wine!

So I have moved house ...again it is close to school ...a ten minute walk and two other teachers and I are sharing a lovely new spacious house...we are the unofficial UN...England ...USA and Ireland...great to have company and a bit of craic...lots of space for guests too.

School is great...I have 25 kids and a classroom assistant...the school is a fee paying school and although the children come from wealthy families the school is very poorly resourced...we have books but very few resources like games or puzzles...I am glad to have brought what I did with me and I have made some purchases from Amazon which amazing delivers to Ethiopia...and Colette Delargy of Maths Buddy has come to my rescue – sending me a box a maths games faster than the speed of light – so far the kids favourites are addendum and cross three puzzles.

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