07 November 2007

everything all of the time.

Happy "UN-Peacekeeping troops-pull-out-of-the-Ethiopia/Eritrea-DMZ!" day!   Let's hope this all goes well.


It's come to my attention that the parent email list has resulted in some new readers.  Hi Randie's mom!  Hi Sarah's mom!   Hi to anyone else reading - we're all still alive and well!


Sorry about last week's downer post.  We were in a rut there, but we're coming back out.  Our language and culture facilitators put on a mock wedding and funeral to teach us about Ethiopian culture and traditions.   There're dramatic, let me just put it that way.  Wailing at the funerals, spirited dancing and singing at the weddings.   The best man's job is to wave the bloody handkerchief around town after the wedding night to celebrate the deflowering of the bride.  No blood can mean grounds for returning the bride.   American men, I'm sorry if I've ever suggested that a bachelor party with strippers was somehow demeaning to women.  I was wrong.  


We're doing our own "cultural exchange" next week.  We're thinking about a Superbowl party/tailgate, 4th of July, and Christmas extravaganza.   Mainly for the food, but those are also some of the most American holidays around. 


As a reward for making it four weeks, we went on a firenji field trip on Saturday.  They took us out to Wenchi Crater Lake, a beautiful mountain lake 40 km from Wolisso.   Ethiopian roads being what they are, that means an hour and a half roller coaster ride of a bus trip.  I never had motion sickness problems until I moved to the developing world.   To add insult to injury, the 2.5 mile road from the top of the crater down to the water is not bus accessible, so we had to hike to our relaxation site.   I briefly regretted not bringing tennis shoes to this country.  (That turned into serious regret the following day when I attempted to play basketball barefoot.   Whoops.)  Thank god for the horses on the way back up! 


But seriously, whining aside, it was a welcome respite from training.  A few lunatics went swimming in the frigid water, but most of us just relaxed on the shore.   To top off the evening, Peace Corps bought us all pizza at the lodge.  They're making a concerted effort to keep our fledgling program happy, and I must say, our love certainly comes cheap.   Our six repeat volunteers said they never had it this good.  If this program fails, it won't be because the volunteers left - we're still at 42 of the original 43!   (We are, however, watching the border situation closely.  We'll all be very far from Eritrea, no worries.)   We had a quick update before the field trip, and I will admit, I had a bad flashback to the hotel in Tel Aviv last summer. 


We got let out of Wolisso again on Monday for a trip to Addis for the day's training to meet with some people from Save the Children and CDC.  These busses and roads will be the death of me!   More exciting, however, was the firenji market near the hotel.  I didn't make it because I was distracted by mail (Mom and Grandma - I got the three letters but no packages.   Leah, you made my life!  Dad and Christine, the box was excellent!  Everyone else, your packages/letters haven't arrived yet.), but some people brought back cheese and chocolate.   Coupled with the hot and delicious buffet at the hotel we used for training, it all worked out to a pretty exciting afternoon. 


To top it all off, a fruit actually entered my house.  I got an orange with my oil soup for dinner that night.  I don't particularly like oranges (and they're especially strange here, since they're green, but still called orange), but it was fruit and I devoured it.   My kingdom for a banana. 


Word on the street among the firenji is that there is an Olive Garden restaurant in Addis Ababa.  I think we may all be projecting our desires on to our new home - I was pretty certain OG hadn't gone international yet.   Dad, can you look into that and let me know?  You have the potential to make or break 42 people's days. 


Seriously, someone send me a football.  We played basketball for firenji sport time on Sunday, and it wasn't pretty.  Footballs appear to be the only piece of sporting equipment you can't purchase in Ethiopia.   Figures.  Volleyball next week, so please hurry!



-Small deflated football!

-Blank CDs

-Cheddar goldfish crackers

-Peanut butter anything (reese's PB cups!)


-Kraft mac and cheese

-Ramen noodles (oriental flavor)



Anonymous said...

Jess, glad to hear you are getting some mail. Have you gotten any of the envelope packages with books and candy?

Anonymous said...

Glad you got the box. I have a football I can send with the next box. Are you getting my emails to your regular gmail account?
Love ya,
old man