Friday, June 4, 2010

Four weeks in

So today marked four weeks since my departure from Canada.

I am doing very well here. The food is finally agreeing with me all the time, I've made lots of friends, and the climate is just right. We've been experiencing some AMAZING rain storms, which feel like the end of the world is coming. Truthfully, it's a little bit scary at times. But it's so neat.

David and I have been hanging around a bit with some European surgeons, medical interns and registered nurses. They're very kind, and really refreshing to talk to. It's just such a nice thing to have someone else who's first language is also English. You can make subtle jokes, and it's just nice to hear some opinions from other "farenjis". (foreigners). I even get a couple of words in in French here and there.

Dave and I are doing well outside of campus now, and we enjoy taking walks around town to the merkato, or to the Variety Café, which serves delicious fresh juices.

As far as work goes, we've been doing a variety of things from writing and narrating a documentary, to designing a device to minimize dropping impact for avocados. We've also edited papers, marked exams, reformatted a course calendar, been interviewed for Ethoipian television, created a presentation on preparing resumés and job interviews to name a few.

A few funny things have happened, that have really made me realize that I'm in a different country.

Taking public transport to the bank, someone hopped on the bus with a rooster tucked under her arm. That just cracked me up, because the "bus" (basically a glorified van) had already about 25 people in it. And here this woman was, bringing on livestock.

The other day a group of kindergarten kids came to campus for a tour. I got mistaken for being of Chinese descent, which was hilarious. The kids all started yelling "LOOK! CHINA! LOOK CHINA". I never really considered myself to look Asian, but apparently to those little guys and girls I did.

Also with younger kids, Dave and I were hanging out in the garden before supper and some of the faculty's children approached us and began rehearsing their English lessons from school. Here were two of my favourite ones, you'll have to imagine these tiny little girls maybe five years old and three feet tall talking in robotic english back and forth. Too cute.

The Phone Conversation

Girl 1: Hello is Meron there?
Girl 2: Yes this is Meron.
Girl 1: I need your help
Girl 2: What do you need my help for?
Girl 1: I lost my grammar book
Girl 2: Where did you lose it?
Girl 1. Yes, I left it at the academy
Girl 2: Oh, you can borrow mine
Girl 1: Thank you so much
Girl 2: You are welcome. Goodbye
Girl 1: Goodbye.

Situation II - Birthing

Girl 1: Where were you today
Girl 2: I was at home
Girl 1: Why?
Girl 2: My mother has given a birth
Girl 1: What is the sex?
Girl 2: Female
Girl 1: Congratulations
Girl 2: Thank you
Girl 1: Good bye
Girl 2: Good bye

Often walking through the town, we hear these situations being played out again and again. Obviously, a big class that practices the same dialogue.

Oh, and I'm going to have some photos added later.

Keep Happy and Healthy,



  1. Hi Paul
    Great job on the blog ! Thanks for taking the time to prepare it. I'm glad you've adjusted to the food - it'll make for a better experience for you. I enjoyed reading about your experiences there - and I love the pictures. Keep safe

  2. Hi Paul
    You are doing a great job. Of course it is a life time experience at a very young age. Your are a best fit for this job. Isn’t it amazing to be in place where human race has actually evolved and spread to different places and races. Blog is quite interesting and funny, reminds me of my Country ( India). People do travel with livestock in buses. I think other then your work experience you are bring a very good “take home message” ( Water usage) which i really liked and appreciate if you spread the message here. In years to come water will be as expensive as any precious metal or may be more. Keep up your good work. See you in winter semester.
    Be safe, Enjoy every minute you are there. You might not get this opportunity again.
    BTW, Do you get coconuts? If so do drink lot of coconut water. It is a natural diuretic.
    Custard apple will taste really good and sweet if it is fully ripen.