A Town Called Addis (Thanks Peter)

Addis Ababa has been my home now for 10 days, more specifically the Holiday Hotel in the Haya Hulet district of the city.  Fortunately I arrived with minimal expectations and haven’t been disappointed so far.  Addis, as cities go, has very little to endear itself to the casual visitor – unless of course you consider half constructed buildings to be architectural masterpieces.  It is as though the builders got so far and then got fed up and started somewhere else.  I understand that it has more to do with several constructions running out of funds.

They may still be in that state when my time in Ethiopia comes to an end in 2 years’ time, but you have to hope.

I have a feeling that hope is going to be really important during my time here along with an ability to deal with frequent changes to what is planned.  Towards the latter half of the training week, my placement in Adola was confirmed. However, there remained an issue over where I would be staying.  There was a possibility of a house with water that belonged to the hospital, but this was later adjusted to something on the college site. This seems likely to consist of a small bedroom, a kitchen and a long drop out the back somewhere.  VSO have a list of furniture that they provide.  50% of this won’t fit. I’ll know for sure when I get there, and keeping hopeful it will exceed my expectations.

Water is not a part of the deal.  It is brought to the college by donkey.  I suspect that I am going to appreciate it all the more.   I have been informed that this will be resolved in two or three months… they just didn’t say which two or three months.

Wednesday 24th September is date for departure.  Four volunteers will travel down to Hawassa – about a 4 or 5 hour drive, and then I shall abandon them to continue alone to  Adola- I was told another 3 hours… I’ll buy the logistics man a beer if we make it that quickly.

I’m told there isn’t much (apart from a gold mine) in Adola.  Hawassa sounds a positive beacon of entertainment by comparison.  I have the feeling that I am going to be spending a lot of time in Hawassa.

While I will be glad to get out to my placement, and suspect I won’t particularly miss Addis, I know that I will miss the good company I have had over the past 10 days (yes, even Ted 😉 ).  Most people seem to have been heading out to various challenges from half-finished homes to lack of water.

I’m going to try to focus less on what I don’t have, and more on what I do – I’ll let you know what that is when I find out myself…

The real adventure is about to begin.

15 hours till Addis

It has been an interesting week… and I haven’t even left yet.  On Thursday I received an urgent message from VSO telling me I needed to contact immediately and for a moment I thought that I wasn’t going to be heading out after all.

When I finally managed to get in contact with my advisor I was told…”don’t panic, but there is a problem with your placement.”  However, I was also told, “you are still going out to Ethiopia on Saturday, but you might not be going to Bule Hora.”

This is the second change of location I have had since first hearing I was going to Ethiopia and each change has brought me to a slightly more obscure location!  The latest place has a brief commentary on wikipedia and mention is made of a nearby gold mine.  I shall probably only find out where I am going for certain at some point during the next week while we are training in Addis Ababa.  I say probably because there are no certainties, but that is of course part of the adventure.

The bags are packed and I am ready to go. I don’t know how I managed to fit in all the stuff I have – anti-malarialls, first aid kits, clothes, solar showers.  Probably won’t even end up using most of it and certainly intend to come back lighter than I leave.  The uncertainty has meant packing for as many eventualities as possible.  Thankfully the generous baggage allowance of the Ethiopian National Carrier has allowed for this, although I may come to regret it at the other end when I have to carry everything myself.

I realised, I think, when I wrote my first entry that it was going to be a long goodbye, and it certainly feels that way.  I am glad to have been able to catch up with so many friends the last few weeks and if I haven’t managed to see you, then I regret that it has not been possible.  You’ll just have to come out to visit me!

The next time I write here I will be in Ethiopia and this already adventurous journey will have begun for real.

7 hours to the plane, 15 till I land…