Thursday, December 14, 2006

News from Ethiopia

To start off with, it looks as though posting photos will be pretty much impossible, so I'll have to illustrate these entries when I get home.

Quick recap of travel:

Emma, Jane and I hauled all of our luggage (9 units weighing 50 pounds each) and two carry-ons each to JFK on Tuesday afternoon, checked in at Lufthansa, and boarded our 4:30 flight to Frankfurt. Nothing of note to report about that.

Arrived in Frankfurt, wandered the terminal for a few hours waiting to board our flight to Addis. We were all getting very tired and rumpled by this time. Our first sight of Africa was our landing in Khartoum, at about sunset. The land from above looked very flat, and very brown, although here are there we could see green farm fields. Our stop in Khartoum was about an hour, for refueling. We took off in the dark for the 1 hour 10 minute flight to Addis.

At the airport in Addis we waited on line for visas, a rather disorganized process but not too bad. Then we collected all our baggage, and were grateful to find Nate Ripley, from AAI, waiting for us. There was another volunteer on our flight, whom we met at baggage claim, a college student intern who has already put in several months here on another occasion.

The orphanage van was loaded (on top) with all this stuff, and we took off for the guest house, arriving at about 10:30 p.m. local time. After some discussion, some light unpacking, we turned in. Awakened in the dark, in the morning, but the broadcast call to prayer from the nearest mosque. We had breakfast at around 7:30, started unpacking books.

By 10 we were ready to go get money and groceries. We walked up the hill, past tin shack barber shops and embassies of various countries -- mixed use zoning, I'd say. Following instructions we went to a glassware store in a mall to find Mike the Money Man, and change money. We then walked to the grocery stores, purchased food and bottled water for the week, and took a cab back. Thank goodness for Hayley, the intern, who speaks enough Amharic to handle these negotiations. After a quick lunch we walked over to the orphanage. More on that tomorrow.

For now we are back at the guest house sorting and sizing pajamas, and getting a little rest and green tea. Emma has already shot over 600 photos and she's now juggling various pieces of electronic photo equipment, electrical adapters and converters, and hoping not to either electrocute herself or blow up her laptop. Stay tuned.

Bye for now from Addis Ababa. Best Blogger Tips
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