Thursday, December 5, 2013

Goin' Ethiopian

We are Ethiopians! Trish and Consolata show off their new EthioTelecom sim card and WiFi dongle.

Today, was the joint orientation with the partners as with our programme managers from VSO-E. Most of them (called line managers, or our superiors at the placement) came. Both my programme manager and line manager didn't come. Bizuneh, my programme manager, was travelling in Dire Dawa to meet with his ward there, a volunteer at the same university. I am to interface with him and my line manager in Dire Dawa when I get there tomorrow.

Expectations!  Brows furrowed over volunteer expectations? Should we mention "it"? 

Now, this is a swell expectations mind map from a previous batch of volunteers.

The health volunteers had a separate session in the afternoon, so it was mostly a leisurely day for me. Oh yeah, there was a demo on some of the supplies that we would be given. We finally saw what was in the gigantic box. (There was a session on that yesterday.) We were given instructions on the workings of the water filter and the kerosene stove, in particular. It was my first time to see that kind of water filter, and although, I was familiar with the kerosene stove, I've never used one myself. So that was really useful.

Today's highlight was the cultural night, a delightful buffet dinner at the Abyssina Restaurant. Finally, after nearly four days in Ethiopia, I tasted actual Ethiopian food. I loved the spicy wat but the sour and towel-like injera, I did eat, but I very much doubt I'd ever develop a taste for. (Get back to me in six months, maybe. But no.)

Abyssinia Restaurant is one of those cultural restaurants where you get a sampler of Ethiopia's best, not just the food, the bunna (coffee) ceremony (paired with popcorn, what?), the tej (honey wine), but even some of the country's diverse regional music and dance. It's not just popular with ferenji but also among locals. Apparently, some of the performers were national celebrities. One male singer (wearing some kind of schoolboy uniform, including short pants), the locals especially bowled over. The first time I saw the ubiquitous Ethiopian shoulder-shuddering dancing, my first thought was - shit, they're krumping. (It's probably be the other way around, the krumpers are dancing Ethiopian.)

Habesha spread.
Habesha spread.
Tej (honey wine) cheers!
Coffee ceremony.
This guy is actually famous.

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