Some of the more “hardcore” interns and development workers here in Addis make a point of rejecting the Expat community in favour of “making friends with the locals”. Their point is, of course, “if I wanted to spend time with Canadians, I would have just stayed in Canada”.
I, however, am not quite so strict in my associations. I have many friends falling into either category, the expat or the local.
But I want to focus, for a minute, about the expats here in Addis, particularly the ones about my own age. By going through the process of finding and securing an internship or overseas job, these youth seem to have been pre-selected for terrific friends. It is thrilling to be surrounded by a group of people who have traveled all over the world, have a keen interest in international issues, and, most exceptionally, are committed to global change. How often can you say that the majority of people that you know are concerned with environmental, social and political problems rampant throughout the world, and are actually taking steps to address these issues with all their heart?
With that, I raise my glass of tej (Ethiopian honey wine) to all the locals and the expats around the world whose chosen task in life is to improve the status quo. Cheers!