Sunday, September 23, 2007

Blondes Have More Fun

Work: getting moved out of the Ras Hotel and moving into a large studio apt on Bole Rd took up much of last week. We had a mtg on Friday afternoon to discuss some of what I might be helping the IES with. My real work will start on Mon visiting the 4 areas of the IES and seeing what they are like, reviewing the coll dev policy, etc. Later, I might try and identify titles for the IES to look into for purchase. Internet did not work for the first four days last week but now seems okay.

I go to work in a minibus -actually take two of them. They are easily flagged down major streets in Addis. It is a communal taxi and is efficient but more costly than the crowded buses. Usually, I eat lunch in the Staff Lounge and there are a couple of other restaurants on campus.

Other: Apt. needed to be cleaned and of course many items to be purchased. There are some things that need to be fixed as only one electric socket works. My apt has a large "French" door with glass leading to a patio, fridge, gas & electric stove, kitchen sink, sofa, two chairs, a bed, coffee table, small dressing area with a bookcase (useful for storage), a wardrobe, a bathroom with shower and hot water heater. I made lots of small purchases and need to still get some curtains. There are some crazy dogs that enter the building fromt time to time and bark their heads off at times at night.
I hired a cleaner that worked for me some years ago. She plans to work on Mon and Thurs mornings since it is a small place-mostly to do laundry.
Met my former Amharic teacher and set up lessons for twice a week.

Many changes since I was in Eth. 7 years ago. Lots of women now have blonde hair or highlights and occasionally, a man will as well. Women are wearing more pants and jeans than before. Lots of new highrises-condominiums, office buildings, and shops. Internet cafes are found in many places in Addis. Many folks have mobile phones as well & so do I. My phone number (now the correct number) from the US is probably (251) 913-1744-55 and is 8 hours ahead of Mountain Time. The amount of beggars on the streets is the same, sadly. The traffic and congestion seem the same if not greater. The air is bad-diesel, fumes from everywhere, lead to daily air pollution . Prices have gone up for basic things and people are complaining about this. They also complain about the overseer of the country which I have not heard a lot before.

It rains heavily each day for a few hours. The rainy season is supposed to end now. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

In Africa!

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Tenaystilling! Ethiopia looks very green and the rains are still continuing. There are 3-4 hours of heavy rain. Everything is spruced up for the Eth. millenium last Wed. The country's overseer declared a few days of holidays last week.

Arrived here on Thurs as scheduled & flights were fine. However, one of my two bags was missing. Spent 2 extra days in airport looking for my bag. When I started my journedy in SLC, there was a mix up of mistagging both my bags which I did not know. In Dubai, had to pick up my bags but asked an airport porter to do that. He picked up someone else's bag, but did not find out until I arrived in Addis. They had put some other person's name on those two bags. When I finally got my bag yesterday, still another name was tagged on the luggage.

The AAU transport person picked me up & had also asked a friend who has a taxi to meet me, just in case. I am now staying in the Ras Hotel a few days until my permanent place is decided. The Univ guest house is supposed to be not great & on Mon I will look at it. I don't know all the housing options, but hope to find a place in the next few days.

Meanwhile, prices of everything have gone up 20-30% from what people tell me. As usual, the salaries have stayed the same. For the first time I noticed people complaining about the overseer who has been now a dictator for 17 years or so.

On Monday, the University will re-open after the new year holidays. I plan to go to my workplace and also head for the embassy. I hope to have a cell phone here and am in the process of getting that.

Went to a Ge'ez language service today at 6:45am. It was packed! Ge'ez is the liturgical language, sort of like Latin in other churches. It is no longer used except by the clergy.
Hope to post next weekend as well. Hope you are doing well. Feel free to email me at my regular email address & will respond to those message. Marie

Monday, September 10, 2007

Out of Africa

Hello, I leave today for my 6 month sabbatical to Ethiopia. I will be working on a collection development library project with the Institute of Ethiopian Studies in Addis Ababa. I arrive there Thurs Sept 13 about 12noon via Phoenix, NYC, Dubai.

Still have to finish packing away apt. things and then finish up packing my bags.

Hopefully, I can post something next weekend.
Abysinnia, Marie

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Early Sept

Visa arrived. Do not have any info regarding my housing in Addis. Hopefully will find that out by Sept 13. Meanwhile, packing like mad at home & in my office & finishing doctor appointments.