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.


11 comments on “Ethiopia

  1. Luke says:

    Glad you made it there safely bro! And have Internet connection now. I can’t wait to come visit, probably next spring or so. Also can’t wait to see some pictures!

  2. Rob Jennings says:

    Waidmann, I’m crying reading this. They are tears of joy as well as sadness though. Expect some deflated soccer balls soon, they didn’t even have real plastic in 1940. Thanks for the couches.

    With love from Harrisonburg

  3. Wesley Hill says:

    I think that you are very funny Uncle Mikey! I hope that my mom and dad will take me to see you. It sounds very exciting! My Grandma and Papa say hello and my mom says that she loves you and really liked the blog!

  4. Mom says:

    Oh, Mike, we are so glad to hear from you! This sounds incredible. Cannot wait to come visit, for the 20 cent beers, at least. What middle school allowance??
    love, mom

  5. Birgit Murff says:

    wait … you got a middle school allowance???

  6. Birgit Murff says:

    and I am really, really, really happy to know that you are excited to be there. sounds like a perfect job for you. way to go little brother!!

  7. Molly says:

    Haha brother. Very funny. I’m glad you are getting fat, although I will never believe that until I see it. Also, what middle school allowance are you talking about? I certainly did not get one.
    I really hope I can talk to you tomorrow. I miss you.

  8. Daniela Deane says:

    Mike! Proud of you, boy…Take care.

  9. bburke912 says:

    sounds pretty awesome dude, keep coming with the updates. and the lists are pretty legit haha.

  10. Dad says:

    Since we both know I never gave you an allowance, I guess your sibs were right in suspecting your mom loved you more than them which they never could understand because you were more difficult than they were.

    Also, the item you describe as holy . . . is there a verse in Scripture supporting this view?

    We miss you!


  11. Ben says:

    Just sent my application… I’ll probably get West Africa but if we’re meant to be I’ll see you in Ethiopia.

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