Friday, June 11, 2010

1/3 Through: Reflections

So today, when I had a look at the calendar, I realized that I had completed one third of my placement. I was a little bit shocked. Five weeks in, with only ten more to go. Time is flying by, I'll be back in the valley before I even know it. Speaking of the valley, I had one very special treat brought to me by a friend which was... an apple. My first apple in five weeks, which was probably the best tasting apple I ever ate. Just because I was craving one so badly. I had to peel it, which was sad but necessary due to food safety. And it was ice cold because it was in the fridge. And it wasn't very crunchy, but it really hit the spot and I was very thankful that it was given to me. It was a very thoughtful and appreciated gift.

Dave and I have had a fairly uneventful week, we've continued to work on a presentation for graduating students and put the finishing touches on today. It's a presentation on how to find a job after graduation, improving your CV, finding financial aid and scholarships to continue education and how to do well in interviews. It's a pretty simple, presentation but we tried making it a little humorous. Hopefully it goes over well, that is taking place on Monday.

Dave and I had a chance to play veterinarian the other day with 400 two week old chicks, we were inoculating them against some sort of parasite. We got to mix the vaccination and then, administer each one to the patients. The chicks were so small, you could pick up four gently with two hands cupped and they wouldn't scratch or bite. Very sweet little things, after they were finished we moved on to the Rhode Island Reds which were also quite nice, but not as fun as the little chicks, as they had developped talons (Dave and I both avoided scratches luckily) and really negative attitudes about having someone putting medicine into their eyes. We did all of them in about two and a half hours, it was most definitely a valuable experience to have.

I've started a new thing, where I draw whenever I am waiting for people who are late. It's just a way for me to calm myself down, because I still get antsy and annoyed when people are late, without excuse, and without apology... for every single thing. It's the way time works, and I knew it would be my biggest struggle in Ethiopia, as back home I crave structure with time, and like to plan and organize. Here it doesn't work so well, Dave is more like the Ethiopians and has no trouble just sitting back and waiting. But, it really irks me. I am getting better with it, but I'm still not over it. So Drawing is a new way to calm myself down, and chill out so to speak. It's teaching me to be more patient, and I think that's a good thing. As I had no patience for people being late back home, now I feel that I am becoming a lot more tolerant.

This weekend Dave and I are hopefully/potentially touring a palace in the hills outside of Jimma with two local teenagers ( ages 18 and 19). Their names are Samuel and Isaac (two easy names to remember for once). They approached us last week at a pool in town, and surprised us with very clear, very natural sounding English. I'm excited to hang around people my age, as my only friend close to my age is Dave (three years older), everyone else for the most part is 10-15 years older than me. I've been able to get along with people older than me, very naturally. But it will be nice to hang out with some people my own age again for sure. The whole "just starting university age" everyone else has a degree and a career and they have that whole thing that I really don't understand yet.

When we met Samuel and Isaac, the first few things they asked were "What are your favourite movies?". They're big into anything English, and I think watching movies has really made them strong speakers. They also must practice speaking English with each other frequently, as they speak better English than most of the faculty here on campus. They also were asking about slang, they go to school at a Catholic school where a few Americans come in the summer and teach kids slang. They were trying some lines like "How's it hanging" and "Wuzzup". It was too funny.

I've found myself getting VERY tired of the same four foods here at the cafeteria (kai-wut, egg sandwich, pasta with onion and tomato and baiyonet). So I've been eating a lot of avocados in replacement of lunch or breakfast to try to change things up. Dave and I have also done a little cooking, mostly eggs. We have two burners on a hot plate to use, and limited groceries. We usually just do omelets with lots of vegetables. We are getting really used to spice, and usually put multiple jalapenos into them. I had a scare the other day with jalapeno and eyes, I was cutting one into fine pieces and got a squirt into the eye. So I ran to the tap with my eyes closed, as was just about to rinse them out. When I remembered that I would likely get an infection from pouring untreated water into my eye. So then, I ran back to the room and got a bottle of spring water and flushed my eye for a few minutes. It stung like a lemon in the eye but ten times as intense. Luckily, David had a bottle of contact solution that worked like an eye rinse as well. So I got it all under control after a few minutes. I recommend to anyone cutting jalapenos to keep their face away from the cutting board, it will save a lot of discomfort.

Anyway, I am going to get a bite to eat.

Attached are a few photos. One of a few chicks we vaccinated, one of the hens, one of an omelet we were cooking and one a very small praying mantis I found while washing my hands this morning.



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