Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Travel Log: First Leg, Addis/Nairobi/Kampala

Here I am on my "required" vacation, as a result of visa problems in Ethiopia. What a hard life!

On Sunday evening I flew from Ethiopia to Kenya, and spent the night with another intern in Nairobi. The next morning I found myself at a bus station, confused and lost with no idea which bus I was supposed to be on. I looked around, trying to find an official looking person, a signboard, or even a line that would indicate some order in the chaos. Finally, I found a man taking tickets! He told me that my bus wasn't there yet, but it would be along soon. I periodically shoved my ticket under his nose until, a few buses later, he took it and ushered me to my seat. I was destined to arrive in Kampala, Uganda fifteen hours later.

I had had some problems changing my money to Kenyan shillings because my American bills were too dishevelled for the tastes of the black market currency vendors. So, there I was on a 15 hour bus ride with no money, no water, no food, and tremendous hopes that I would manage to get a Ugandan visa. I felt a bit like Jack Kerouac's On the Road, booting it across the United States and back with very limited finances, but gaining tremendous beat insight. Finally, at 11pm, I arrived in Kampala with a very empty stomach, and a Ugandan visa in my passport.

Here I am now at the CPAR Uganda office. It's nice to see another branch of CPAR, visiting the ever enthusiastic staff and different programs. I look forward to seeing as much of this country as I can in such a short 6 days. Yet despite this mini-adventure within the larger internship adventure, I find myself missing Ethiopia already!

Christmas Reading Recommendation: My Heart is Africa by Scott Griffin, a Canadian who flew from Toronto to Nairobi where he worked with the Flying Doctors Service for two years.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Visas and Christmas

Just a quick update to those interested. Because of some problems with my visa, I've been asked (not so kindly, complete with jail and court threats) by the Ethiopian government to leave the country. My plan is to head to the CPAR office in Uganda where I will apply for another visa, and try to see as much of the projects there as possible. From there I'll go on my Christmas and New Year vacation to Kenya. Hopefully I'll be able to post about my adventures from these other African countries, but if not, holiday greetings and I'll be back in Addis on January 3rd. Just in time for Ethiopian Christmas on January 6th!