Thursday, September 14, 2006

Safe and Sound

Here I am in Africa! To be specific, I'm in the CPAR office in the Bole sub city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I arrived on Sunday evening, 26 hours after taking of from Pearson Airport in Toronto. Daniel from the CPAR-Ethiopia office, and his wife Yetnayet kindly picked me up and kept me company during my first Ethiopian meal (very different from Ethiopian in Toronto because the Injera is so light, and so sour!). The next day, amidst preparing my accommodations, I met their lovely 4 year old daughter. She made an effort to teach me Amharic by pointing at objects in the house, saying the Amharic word, and waiting for me to repeat. So, even on day 2 I know useful words such as soap and toilet!

After a couple of days of settling in, I'm experiencing my first day at the office. It's been a bit overwhelming meeting everyone- twenty five Ethiopian names to memorize! But everyone is very kind and welcoming. Soon I will have a meeting with Ato Bantirgu (the Country Director) and Ato Biruk (the Program Director) to determine exactly what my role will be in the 10 months while I'm here.

So far I have stuck fairly close to home, but I hope to explore more of Addis soon. At the moment I'm terrified of not finding my way back, as there aren't any street signs/house numbers and I have to rely on my taxi driver knowing the landmarks I give him (and so far it hasn't worked!) to return me safe and sound. I will work on my courage! This morning I did make it around the corner to a coffee shop where I watched Amharic music videos while sipping the spectacular espresso, and tried to ignore the funny looks of people passing by.

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