Finally, Internet! I missed you my friend.
The last few days have been a whirldwind, filled with meetings, briefings, icebreakers, and training.
We have been isolated in an incredible hotel for the past few days. With classes during the day, and interviews and inoculations at night, we hadn’t gotten the chance to venture outside. Today was our first day outside the hotel. Today was a big day.
The following are ten generalizations and smaller details that stuck out to me this first week:
1. I’m a rockstar here. A celebrity. As I walk down the street people stop and stare. Children run up to me, shake my hand and smile. They chant, “Ferenji, Ferenji” which basically means “white boy.” They mean it in the most endearing way possible. Finally, people are starting to understand, I’m really really cool.
2. Oddly enough, the other nickname kids have for us is “CHina, China!” showing just how isolated they are. A for effort.
3. The weather here is perfect. 70 degrees, sunny, cool breeze. Year round
4. I’m a little ashamed about my first thougth on Ethiopian soil. I thought, this place looks like…Africa. Kids playing with soccer balls made in 1940, rickshacks build on top of rickshacks, people selling fried something on the street as cars pass by that have no business running. Yep, this is Africa
5. My second thought: holy shit. I’m in Africa
6. Ethiopia is beautiful. The people and the country. We have seen pictrues and videos of the places we will visit. The capital city is higher than denver. The bale and simean mountains are pretty spectacular. Elephants hang out with babboons and zebras. Lions try and eat them. Believe it or not, The movie “The Lion King” was filmed here.
7. The people have a good nature and positive disposition. The hotel staff is incredible. They understand why we are here and greeted us by placing their hands on their hearts and pounding it a couple times while doing a slow bow. Very very genuine.
8. I became friends with one younger hotel staffer. I showed him my nice soccer ball and he stared at it for several minutes. We were fast friends, and I showed him pictures of my family and girlfriend, Carly. (I know I mentioned her three times in my very short first post, so i promise to completely ignore her in this one.)
9. I miss Carly. And my family. Not being able to communicate with them has been really hard. I promise I am safe, getting fat(ter) and looking forward to your visits.
10. Fianlly, I am very excited about my potential job. Athough i’m not positive, I will likely be working with Ethiopians to create jobs and business through their natural resources. Specifically, working with honey and coffee farmers to find a market for their goods, and increase their efficiency in a sustainable way. I will also probably teach kids, adults, hold HIV awareness conferences, and do agricultural work. I will be at or near a national park. I’m excited. I have also been working with the staff to make sure I will have internet access and cell phone capabilities to the U.S.
Now, start planning your vacation for next summer. Beers are about 20 cents, the food is great, and I can put a blanket on the dird floor or something when you come.
Just kidding, I can buy a bed for the equivalent of my middle school allowance.