First they uncovered Lucy, and then Ardi, and now I’m the first of its kind to exist in the land-locked country of Ityop’ya – a bipedal, land-dwelling whale with reptilian skin! Hearing you’re fat/HUGE multiple times a week does nothing good for one’s ego, but such is a very common way of living here as a female volunteer. It gets reallllllllly old, and somewhat painful on the inside, especially when weight is a sensitive subject where I come from. Let’s hope I don’t develop an eating disorder while I’m here! I have to keep a sense of humor about the situation (and with most aspects of life here), because there’s not much else to do. And tact is a difficult concept to instill in grown individuals…
A lot has happened since my last post (it’s been quite awhile!) – most likely a few Ethiopian holidays have been thrown into the mix, along with more awkward moments. Woo hoo…February 11thth anniversary of the TPLF’s (Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front) struggle against the Derg regime. And then came the commemoration of the Battle of Adwa (where the Ethiopians defeated the Italians), and finally, the Muslim holiday that celebrated the birth of Mohammed. There really are a lot of holidays here. Next weekend is Fasika, or Easter, which is a widely celebrated holiday. It also marks the end of their 55-day fasting period (no meat, eggs, dairy), so people are getting really excited about the prospect of eating meat again. Animal slaughter party 2k10 – my heart goes out to all of those poor souls that will have an end put to their life in just a few days time. (Lekatit Aserta Hada) by the Ethiopian calendar marked a big holiday, at least in my region. It was the 35
My group of PCVs recently had IST (In-Service Training) at a “resort” south of Addis, called Sodere. It was nice to get away from site for roughly 10 days and see everyone again. We spent a couple days in Addis, then were taken to Sodere for a week. We hadn’t been together as a group since our swearing in ceremony, back in December. The place had an Olympic sized swimming pool, another pool (both with hot water), a river, wildlife, and nature trails! There were also some obnoxiously sneaky little blue-testicled monkeys running rampant on the grounds. They were not at all afraid to approach the humans and steal things as well! Luckily, I did not have anything stolen, but some people in my group did. Among my other wildlife sightings: baboons, a hippo, a crocodile, warthogs, beautiful birds, and healthy looking horses.
Life continues to be dry here in the desert in every sense of the word – I feel it in the weather, my skin, and my sense of humor. My skin has become somewhat reptilian, and lotion has become a dear friend of mine. I am really looking forward to the rainy season, which starts in June or so. It did rain (actually it poured) the other day at my site for the first time in a couple months and then there was a huge rainbow in the sky – a pretty spectacular site! And also a small leak in my ceiling – time for repair!
About half of my group signed up to do a race down south in Hawassa on May 2nd – a 7k. Hopefully I’ll be able to run the whole thing, but we’ll see! I started “training” recently, and literally I have had about 20 people tell me they saw me doing “sport” in the morning. Nothing I do goes unnoticed in my little town. It’s kind of strange and overwhelming at times. Anywho, I’m looking forward to seeing my fellow PCVs again, and a new part of the country!
I also recently moved into a new compound. I had to move, as my landlords wanted to rent out their whole compound to make bank…so now the project manager of a large wind power project that recently started up outside of my town and some of the other workers live where I used to…good news is that Ityop’ya will have some serious wind power in three years time! My new compound mates are very nice, but it’s kind of like living with a host family again – we’re all situated very close together. And unfortunately, I no longer have a toilet – back to the old squatting position over a hole in the ground, aka quad-strengthening exercises. When in Ityop’ya…
I’ll try to update this blog more frequently – my apologies for it being so long! Hope all is well with everyone out there and we’ll be in touch! Check out my shutterfly site for pictures if you’re bored! The link is on the side of the page.