Saturday, October 24, 2009

Why use a lawnmower when there are so many goats in this town? 10.21.2002

We’re nearing the end of week 2 as trainees, and we actually find out our site placement at the end of week 3 (on HALLOWEEN! Although I’m fairly positive that’s not a celebrated holiday here in Ityop’ya L) So I will know in a little over a week where I’ll be living for the remainder of my time here. We have a week-long site visit during week 5, in which we’ll get to see our future homes/communities. I’m excited but also pretty nervous about the whole ordeal.

This morning we went to the local public health center to learn about the services offered to HIV+ individuals, as well as educational services/programs they have going on. When we walked onto the grounds, I noticed that the grass was very well kept and then saw a bunch of goats grazing away and realized that’s how lawns are kept up here – no gas powered machines, simply grazing animals. So resourceful…Language lessons are going…Amharic is very difficult, and I’m still getting used to being on a regular schedule, as that’s something I haven’t done in awhile. Nor have I used my brain this much in a long time, or since being in college (so almost a year!) Basically, I am really headache (according to one of my host brothers, when I was trying to explain that my head hurts from learning Amharic…).

Highlights of my week: Passed my first Amharic language test (Saturday, 10.17) I learned how to do laundry by hand (Sunday, 10.18). I used a variety of buckets and a bar of laundry soap, then hung it up outside to dry. My parents called me on Sunday, which was amazing (you guys made my week!) :) I can also successfully use a šint bet (hole in the ground)…I wonder how people potty train their kids here…seems like it could be a dangerous situation. Lastly, we discovered the Ethiopian version of Oreos – they’re called Glory (so now we call them GloryOs) and are sandwich cookies with fruit-flavored cream (we’ve tried orange and pineapple). Normally, I’d pass on such a treat, but at this point they’re pretty fantastic (not to mention cheap).

The weather is here, wish you were beautiful (Jimmy Buffet!)…but really, the weather has been great – the skies are blue and everything where I am is lush and green, as the rainy season has just ended. When it’s sunny it’s HOT, but there’s often times a nice breeze, which makes the outdoors suitable for jacket-wearing.

The Ethiopian day starts at 6 (instead of 12 like I’m used to)…I still have my watch set to normal (to me) time, which is 7 hours ahead of EST…and my computer is still set to EST, so there’s much confusion when using my computer, looking at my watch, and the clock in my house. Ex: Computer: 3:30 My watch: 10:30 Clock in house: 4:30…Rrrrrrrrright. Have I mentioned that it’s 2002?!

I’m making good progress on the cross-cultural aspect of our training, as my homestay is continuing to go well – it must be as awkward for the family to have me living in their house as it is for me to be living with them. I’m very appreciative of them taking me in for 10 weeks – that’s a pretty long time to have some strange animal living in your house. My life seems to be a giant game of charades and largely consists of me pointing to things and stating the Amharic word if I know it, and asking what it is if I don’t. They’ve lately been giving me warm, sweetened milk with my dinner, straight from a cow, mooo! And I learned that an Ethiopian rooster says “Ko ko looooooo” as opposed to the American rooster’s “Cock a doodle doo”…

Ethiopian Calendar:

Mäskäräm – September – 9.11 – 10.10

T’ïk’ïmt – October – 10.11 – 11.09

Hïdar – November – 11.10 – 12.09

Tahïsas – December – 12.10 – 1.08

T’ïr – January – 1.09 – 2.07

Yäkatit – February – 2.08 – 3.09

Mägabit – March – 3.10 – 4.08

Miyaziya – April – 4.09 – 5.08

Gïnbot – May – 5.09 – 6.07

Säne – June – 6.08 – 7.07

Hamle – July – 7.08 – 8.06

Nähase – August – 8.07 – 9.06

P’agume – 13th month – 9.06 – 9.10


  1. Sounds great! You seem to be adapting well of which I am forever thankful. Why are you keeping all of your stuff on EST? Your there, enjoy the fact that you have knocked 7 years off your life kid-o! You know, I would me in my mid-fourties there! An you would be a freshman again..oh boy... Love, Mommy

  2. Have fun, your more brave than the rest of us.!

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