Things are getting very busy here for me! My to do list for this week is a mile long, but it consists of diverse and interesting tasks, so I'm very happy with it!
This past week was a unique one: first a holiday on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then a trip to the field with CPAR to Jarso Woreda (Jarso district).
Jarso was great, as I got to meet the CPAR staff that actually makes the projects happen, as well as the beneficiaries of the projects. I went on a hair-raising drive through one of the project areas (a rocky road at the edge of a very high cliff- beautiful, but slightly intense), and then visited with many of the farmers and families that participate in CPAR's activities. I was familar with all the interventions from volunteering with CPAR before, but the thing that was so great to see is just how involved the community is in each of the actions. For example, one of the farmers has recieved a bull from CPAR to grow his cattle herd. But he also offers the same service to other farmers in the community. Another example is a woman participating in the savings and credit organization- she has put CPAR's HIV/AIDS education posters in her house for guests and customers. There were many more examples of how CPAR's beneficiaries turned around and gave back to their community in some way.
On the way back to Addis, there were many events on the road that reminded me once again that I'm not in Canada anymore! There was a race down the side of the highway. Running is huge in Ethiopia, and it's a very big deal. You watch these lanky men, in bright red running shorts, sprinting along. And then you realize that some of them aren't wearing any shoes! At another point we noticed a line of people with guns on their shoulders at the side of the road. And all of a sudden, a line of horses spanning the highway, decked in costumes and ridden by men singing at the top of their lungs are charging towards us!
And then you're just driving through regular Ethiopian highlands once again.
Meskal Celebrations ("The Finding of the True Cross")