Monday, October 22, 2007

Have hot water -as of Saturday!

Work: The library here consists of the Ethiopian Languages Section, The Foreign Languages section and the Technical Section. Recently, two catalogers were hired to try and take care of an immese backlog of materials found in these reading rooms and in the back rooms piled almost to the ceilings. They started to create an online catalog some years ago and the unedited version is available on two computers in the Foreign Languages Section. But, the computers are usually not turned on and am not sure if the staff know about using it. So, the users rely on the card catalog. Photo copying and sometimes scanning is available. Important lectures or talks or other events are at times held in the Foreign Languages section in the afternoons or evenings. Tables are pushed around and make seating for about 100. This is the venue for the IES lecture series which are generally very good and free to the public. It appears that book theft is a problem here, just like in libraries all over the world. We are trying to think of ways to stop this theft as some of these are rare or out of print materials. This library is only open to Univ people and to those who have membership cards to the IES society. On the second floor of our building is an ethnographic museum. So we are used to seeing many people, especially foreigners, come take a peek at the library which is housed on the first and second floor.

There are plans for a brand new IES Library building adjacent to this building. Not sure when the actual construction will begin but it is definitely needed.

Other: The University Housing Adm. folks came to the apt. 8 times to fix the hot water heater in the bathroom but were not successful and that took over a month. I took the suggestion of a neighbor and hired my own plumber/electrician. In about an hour, things were fixed! I cannot believe I have taken bucket showers for over a month.

My apt. is located on a very busy street on what some locals refer to as the rich part of town. New high rise buildings are found everywhere and more being built. There are numerous shops, supermarkets, restaurants, offices and more around me. It is consantly busy with buses, mini-buses (which I usually take), taxis, cars, and many pedestrians. The sidewalks, unfortunately, are mostly new "cobblestones" which make it hard to walk on. Many are of different heights, so it is not walking on an even surface. Occasionally a stone or group of them are missing. Sundays are my favorite in Addis for getting around. There is less traffic and air pollution on that day. There are new billboards advertising everything. The problem is that they are huge and low to the ground at an angle. So, if you are not watching where you are walking on the sidewalk, you could easily run into one of these large billboards.

The main road where I live takes you to the airport. Every week or more, I encounter an odd scene. When the local or foreign dignitaries have to go to the airport, motorized traffic is shooed away.They are to take the side streets or other streets. The new federal police in their blue camaflouged outfits and rifles have their backs to the street and watch us. They are set about every 20 feet or so and sometimes instruct us as to where we should be walking or whatever. Then, after about 15 minutes of quiet, about 8-12 vehicles zoom at least 100 m.p.h. down the street to their destination. After about 10 minutes, traffic and the noise resumes. Sometimes, the regular police also assist them.

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