Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Headed North - 11.01.2002(2009)

Happy Halloween a day late to everyone! We had our site placement ceremony yesterday, so it was nice to be around the other trainees on such a large holiday (ha ha). The APCD (associate peace corps director…another acronym for your dictionary) brought us some American chips from the Embassy, as the candy was all sold out. Long story short, the chips were simply amazing (Doritos, ruffles, sun chips, yummmm)! :) Enough about snack foods and more about site placement – after training, I will be moving to the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia. I’ll be living in a fairly small town (population of about 17,000) just outside of the regional capital, Mekele, which is part of the historical circuit in Ethiopia. In total, there are 5 people from my training group moving way north, and I think there are 5 current PCVs up there now. I guess my region is kind of like the Marines of Peace Corps – the few, the proud. I get to fly up there for my site visit, but have to take a bus back, which will be a 2 day journey…

Starting tomorrow, I will begin learning Tigrigna, the language spoken in the Tigray region. It is similar to Amharic and still uses the Ge’ez script instead of Roman characters for the alphabet…holla! According to my host family, “Tigrigna is hard. Amharic is easy.” I beg to differ, in that Amharic is extremely difficult, so we’ll see about this new language! I get to visit my site starting next Saturday, and will spend a week there, getting acquainted with the town and my host organization, which is the town health center. I’ll get to see my future house, and according to my site description on paper it’s a large room in a shared compound with my landlord’s family. Sounds kind of like a dorm room…My town does have a post office, so that’s rather riveting. During my site visit I get to set up my P.O. Box – meaning I’ll soon have a new mailing address.

Not too much has been going on at all besides language class and technical training. Last weekend I discovered the deliciousness of peanut butter in the nearby big city, so I bought a jar…thrilling, eh?! I’ve decided that hand washing laundry is not very fun and is rather time consuming. took me close to 2 hours to wash my sheets, a dress, a skirt, a couple shirts, my PJs and some undies. Before I left, an aunt and uncle of mine gave me some boxers from their recent trip to Alaska that have a bear on the rear eating a salmon that says “Bite me” – I wore them to bed a few times this past week, and have been getting bed bug &/or flea bites (not at all enjoyable). Bad karma? The boxers will be retired for awhile…

We had Sunday Funday in my town today, and a group of fellow PCTs from a nearby town came and we played American football, soccer and frisbee. I wore a pair of long athletic shorts and felt a bit scandalous, as I haven’t seen my knees in public in a month now! Unfortunately, the backs of my knees got sunburned :( It’s kind of entertaining to see the enormity of the crowd us farenji’s draw…people gawk and stare when you’re not doing anything, and even more so when you are doing something that’s watchable! After sport, we were all invited over to one of my classmate’s houses for lunch. We had typical Oromic (the region we’re currently in) cultural food (including injera!), and it was actually one of the best meals I’ve had in Ethiopia.

I milked a cow yesterday – for the second time in my life! It’s much harder than it looks – you really have to squeeze and pull hard for the wätät (milk) to come out! I’ll be leaving my host family Tuesday for an extended vacay – not really a vacation, but we have a workshop in Addis, followed by our weeklong site visit. Even though it’s at times awkward living with them, I have come to really enjoy their company. I learned today that they grow barley (gabs), wheat (sïnde), and beans (bak’ela) on the family farm. The barley is being harvested right now, so we have two gigantic piles (I actually have no idea how to describe them – more like large circular stacks that are taller than myself) off to the side in our compound. Not sure what they’re going to do with it…

I am really looking forward to getting away for awhile…I can only eat so much firfir for breakfast…I’ve been reading my travel book about Addis and there’s quite a variety of restaurants (many serve pizza!!) and just a change of scenery/no full days of language classes will make for a nice break. After site visit, training will be halfway over – time seems to be passing quickly! I’ve already been gone for one month – but who’s counting?!

I heard the Gators beat Georgia – and we’re still number one :) Happy November – I’ll let all you curious readers out there know how our counterpart workshop goes, as well as the big site visit!

1 comment:

  1. Geez Laura, If I lived as an exciting a life as you I would have something to write about! However, the fair starts tomorrow and I will get to hand out some rossettes (that is ribbons in FAIR talk) to the best bovines. I will let you know which beast wins! Love, Mommy