9.24.2007

Hallelujah!

So we haven’t been able to get onto Blogger over here in Ethiopia . The internet here is really quite crappy so we’ve been limited to emails and the occasional Facebook visit. We are just going to send updates to our parents and they will post on here for us so you can all keep up to date with what we’re doing. Please still leave us comments and the ‘rents will just send them to us.

We’ve been here three weeks already and we’re settling in and getting used to all the different things. After a week in a hotel we finally moved into our place. When we went to look at it, it was just a concrete shell. No carpet, no closets, counters, etc… Just concrete floors and concrete walls with a bathroom and kitchen sink. The school furnished it for us and now it feels kinda like home….. minus a few things. We don’t have running water during the day and have a big plastic tub we fill to flush the toilet, wash hands, cook with, wash dishes with etc… during the day. Water comes on sometime at night and occasionally is quite late so we don’t have water all day. The power here is also a little touch and go so we often lose power and our power switch seems to be finicky so our power sometimes just goes. The things we take for granted back home.

Otherwise we are settling in here. The apartment is decent sized. The school provided us with a TV dish that gives us a couple English channels. We are learning foods we can cook here. We are learning where to shop close by and where to eat. Our area is pretty scarce for restaurants so we’ve been cooking mostly.

Outside of our place we have also been settling into our jobs. I have had my first week of classes and teach two Grade 1 classes, two Grade 2 classes, a Grade 4 class and a couple short kindergarten classes. The Grade 4’s are my most frequent class as I see them 7 times a week. All the others 3 times and the KG only twice. Hopefully they are getting a KG teacher and I won’t teach them all year. Just not my thing, especially because they don’t really have any materials for them. The teachers I work with are friendly and even though the school is somewhat unorganized I am enjoying it so far. I walk to work and back each day which is about 30 min. each way. I walk through a busy area and sometimes have the time to stop for a coffee and watch the bustle. Everybody walks here. When you walk you have to dodge the goats, donkeys and cows. There are beggars everywhere. People walking everywhere. The roads are potholed and dusty, even if they are paved. Walking to school can be quite the adventure!

Nolana has been talking to a couple organizations and hospitals here. She agreed to help with a center for youth to learn about AIDS when it opens and she has spent a couple days already at a Mother and Children’s hospital. It doesn’t seem to be too busy there because it is new and she will likely only go in once or twice a week. She has a meeting with the Dean of Medicine of the largest public hospital here in Addis on Tuesday and I am sure when she goes there it will be more than busy enough!

Just today we went to church for the first time. It was an English service but still mostly Ethiopians. Maybe about 300 people. And it was totally what I envision African Christianity to be. It was an energetic, passionate, sweaty service. The kind of worship where an hour goes by and you actually only sang maybe 5 songs. Every fourth word is “hallelujah” or “amen” and the crowd loves to get involved. It was long (two and a half hours) but it was pretty fun and quite good. There is another English service closer to us that will probably try out too. It was quite a large service so that can be hard to get involved in.

We are growing used to all the changes. The lack of water doesn’t faze us much anymore. The power out is a minor annoyance. Hand washing our clothes seems normal to Nolana now. Being accosted on the street by everyone wanting money doesn’t seem too foreign. Africa is busy, dirty, and crazy but it is seeming not so odd. The people we have met have been phenomenal to us and it offsets the people who try and rip you off. We are making some friends and I am sure as we find our routine and get out and explore more it will only get better. The first week was a shock but now we’re feeling a lot better about our decision to be here. Even though being home made us realize what great friends and family we have, we are enjoying the challenge and adventure that living in a country like Ethiopia offers.

Hopefully we’ll be posting more as we figure out all the glitches and even though internet here is SO slow we’ll try and send pictures to upload because pictures tell more than my words ever could. Hopefully this finds you all loving whatever adventure your life holds. Keep us in your thoughts.

9.06.2007

We are here!

Wed afternoon update:
Well, we arrived in Addis Ababa safely in Sat night. We made all our connections and the only delay we have was a longer delay on the plane in Kartoum than expect. All of our luggage arrived too! Hooray!

We got picked up by the school driver and Derek, the other foreign teacher at Eric’s school. The school set us up at a hotel for the first night or two because our place wasn’t ready yet. On Sun morning, the school director picked us up and took us to the school and then showed us our apartment (a short mini-bus ride from the school). Here are some pics of the apartment he showed us. It was basically a cement box which he was going to furnish… to what extent we are not sure. It had three rooms plus a very basic bathroom. The bathroom was the only room with a door. The only thing in the other 3 rooms was a sink in the kitchen. Anyways, since Sun we have been told everyday that we would move in tomorrow. It is now Wed and I have stopped repacking everyday! So we might move in tomorrow but it will be a different apartment than he showed us but in the same complex.

Eric started work on Monday. Monday they had a training day. Tuesday was a half training day which included him giving 2 presentations. Tuesday afternoon, Eric and Derek went into town to find some more school books without any luck. Derek also showed Eric around a bit and showed him how to take the mini-buses. The rest of the week is just class preparation for Eric at work.

As for me… I have been just hanging out at the hotel everyday not knowing if we would be moving that day. I am not feeling too adventuresome to go out and find my way around yet. Just waiting to get our place and then I will start exploring. I do have a meeting next week with an organization here that I might volunteer with depending what exactly they do and what kind of work they would have for me.

So hopefully we will be moved into our place by the end of the week. Then we have from Sat to Wed to find our way around and get settled. Next week is the Ethiopian millennium so Eric has no work Mon to Wed. Then classes start for him on Thurs.

So that is our first update. Hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend at home!

Thursday morning update:
Well, I wrote this on our computer at the hotel yesterday and then took it on the USB thing to the internet cafĂ© where I waited 10 mins for one internet page to load. After ten minutes and no results I gave up and decided to come back later. When Eric got home, we went to the hotel restaurant for dinner and just as we sat down, the power went off (our first of many power outages, though Eric already had one at school). So it remained off until bedtime and obviously I didn’t get back to post this thing. That was fine though because we got a candlelight dinner out of it. Then this morning we woke up to no power again… but finally it is back on now and I am going to have a hot shower once the water warms up and then go post this thing (priorities!).

Oh, and apparently we are moving this afternoon!

I can't get the pics uploaded. Too slow. Sorry!