Full Immersion

8 hours of hard sleep was not quite enough, but a hot shower, breakfast of lentil wontons, mango smoothie and French toast along with 2 strong cups of buna helped. As did 15 minutes in the sunshine and blue sky’s of a perfect Addis morning. It was great to be back in the city and reuniting with my great colleagues.

We saw a car back over a woman’s foot in the middle of a busy road…no police called. No report filed, no ambulance. The driver and other passers by were very helpful, but she just hopped to her car on her good foot and, we assumed, went to the hospital.

It was full immersion into African culture today, starting with time. When I am here, it is very easy to be patient. Traffic jams and long lines are to be expected. We left for Hawassa at 2:30. It is a typical 6 hour drive. At 4:30 we were still in the city…a stop at the bank took about 45 minutes. I waited happily in the sun shine. It is 8:30 now and we are still driving. It is pitch dark. Dark like you cannot imagine in the States. We are driving down a 2 lane road, paved, but with lots of bumps. We are speeding up and slowing down constantly. We have to stop for goat herders, cows, donkeys pulling wagons, none of which I can see until they are exactly in front of us. There are no reflectors or reflecting clothing and when a black boy, dressed in dark clothes, is herding a group of brown goats across a completely dark road….it is a miracle they make it!

I have used a toilet that I was not allowed to flush, because the bathroom attendant does the flushing for you. I also used a toilet with no seat, which really should not be a big deal, I have used MUCH worse, but, it is still a not my favorite.

We (Adey, Dinke, Jill and I) spent some of the ride talking about the difference between Ethiopia and America. We notice a big difference in structure, order and time. Can you imagine waiting at a bank for 45 minutes or walking a herd of goats down the busiest road in town? In the states the streets are empty and quiet. With the exception of a few big cities…here, everyone is out walking, playing, sitting, selling. Even in big cities in the states people are not just squatting on the side of the road chewing on a stick. And none of this is bad, in fact it is what I really like. It is just so different!


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