17 December 2007

dreaming of a white christmas.

It's official - training is over and we're Peace Corps volunteers.  All 42 of us made it.  The swearing-in ceremony, held in the garden outside the Ambassador's house, was actually quite nice, despite the blinding sun.  There's a picture of us somewhere on the Peace Corps website and probably an article.  Internet being what it is, we're taking the staff's word for it on that one.  We spent the evening after swearing in at a dance club in Addis, enjoying the strange feeling of being not only awake, but out of the house, until 1 AM.  Friday we roamed the city in search of things we can't buy at site (a not-hard pillow and a cheaper kerosene stove), binged on good food, and splurged at the firenji grocery stores (mmm...olive oil!).  Since we were leaving at the butt crack of dawn on Saturday, we spent Friday evening at the hotel, swapping music and watching Blood Diamond.  Probably not the best choice as we prepare to move to random small towns, but the film strikes much closer to home now that we actually live in Africa.  TIA.

We've now spent two nights in Assela.  I'm living the squatter life in Candace's living room, which makes cooking more fun but I think we're both looking forward to independence.  We christened our new electric hot plate with some Ramen noodles, seasoned french fries, and popcorn while watching Tommy Boy.  Candace, like myself, has a penchant for toilet humor, so life is grand.  Sunday morning, since nothing is open in Assela (well, Ethiopia), we slept late and made hash browns and cinnamon french toast since there's little else to do besides peel and grate potatoes.  Then the power promptly cut out for the remainder of the afternoon, along with the running water.  We wondered the streets and bought a few more things for our kitchens - like cups so we wouldn't have to drink from cut off water bottles - from the few shops that were open.  It's a classy life we're living.  We're hoarding water in buckets so we can flush during the day, since it appears we only have water at night.  But two days of hot delicious food is more than we've had in all of the last ten weeks, so there's really nothing to complain about.  Plus, there's no malaria and it's cold at night.  

While wandering the town, we had the good fortune to meet the village idiot who was apparently on vacation during our previous site visit.  Upon the sight of a pasty firenji like myself, he launched into a screaming tirade and followed us for a good twenty minutes.  He started by telling me he wanted to suck my blood because he can tell I'm a Jew and they're the best sex.  I can't make this stuff up.  The rest of his ranting isn't really fit for print.  How he learned this much English is a mystery for another day.  He apparently hangs out only on the asphalt road, so he's easy enough to avoid, but I hope he gets committed soon because I'm not sure I have the patience to ignore him on a daily basis without resorting to violence.  

My counterpart has been tasked with the urgent goal of finding me a house, so while Candace met with her boss to discuss work, I continued the search for vital household goods.  And went to the bank, which was an hour of my life that I can never get back.  I also visited the post office, opening our Assela PO box for the very first time.  It was exciting.  Rita, I got your letter - thanks!

Dad, the CD of pictures is on its way to you.  I'm sure you'll be impressed with my wrap job.  Careful cutting through all the duct tape!  Everyone else, pictures will be posted online as soon as that CD reaches Orlando and Jenna/Christine has the free time to upload them all.  There are a lot, so be patient and prepare to be amused.  Sinead likes to take photos of people making awkward faces.  You'll love it, I promise.  

Jessica Ducey
PO Box 986
Assela, Ethiopia

Wishlist:
-Books!
-Apricot face scrub
-Clothespins
-Bobby pins
-Margaret Atwood's new book of poetry
-Trivial Pursuit (we can MacGuyver a board and pieces if necessary, so even just the cards will suffice if that's all that fits)
-Usual edible goodies

1 comment:

Cecilia N. said...

I checked and, surprisingly, the picture was on there, you looked lovely in your shawl. Congrats!! You're so awesome and your blog's so candidly honest & enjoyable. Happy New Year. Be safe!