Monday, September 25, 2006

Out of Addis

An exciting trip out of Addis this past week. I went to a small town, Sheshemane, in the Rift Valley, to visit some of the projects of CAPAIDS partner Mekdim. It was a great visit on two counts: my first glimpse of rural Africa, and my first sight of a real live development project in action. It’s hard to imagine that despite studying the topic for the past three years, development has always been an abstract concept in my head. Until now!

The projects we visited were focused on creating associations of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) and then organizing them to begin income-generating activities. Basically, after being provided with a piece of land and some money for livestock/seeds, the group of PLWHAs can make a living and also work to educate others about HIV/AIDS. As well as the agriculture-focused project, there were also a number of stores set up by members of the association to sell the usual Ethiopia goods: tissues, soap and legumes. My favourite was that they also had a movie rental shop, which consisted almost entirely of DVDs of the TV show 24. It’s very popular here, and Canadian Kiefer Sutherland, a.k.a Jack Bauer, is highly revered.

As for the landscape, words won’t express my first impressions of the expanses of African trees, mountains, fields and rock craters. Actually, my mediocre fotos from a moving car don’t either, but here they are. I’ll ask you to use your imagination to make the views in the pictures vaster and more vibrant.

***Having trouble uploading fotos because of the size to internet connection ratio. I will try again tomorrow! Many apologies

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