Monday, February 1, 2010

Trip to ET Day 10 or 11

Day 11 - So today was surprisingly good. The Dean picked me up with the driver and their 2 kids and we drove a little ways out of the city to the location of the new vet school. The piece of land is HUGE and it’s just gorgeous out there with no air pollution. Honestly it’s like a different world out there. There’s a river that cuts through the southern part of the property so there’s a bit of vibrant green. Since it’s so far from a water pump the contractors have to use water from the river for the construction so they have these horse drawn trailers with metal reservoirs on them and they get paid 30 birr for each trip to bring water. There’s also lots of grassland out there so you see tons of donkeys loaded down with stacks of the hay to bring into the city. Also out there is a boarding high school that’s the best school in the Tigray region so it’s very competitive to get in on a government scholarship. If you want to send your kids there it costs 6,000birr/semester!!! The campus is also home to a dairy farm where they sell the milk to subsidize some operating costs. The dairy was actually very nice and the cows appear to be quite healthy. There was a laboratory there with shelves of drugs and I noticed that the Strep-penicillin was not in a refrigerator. I showed the lab technicians where it said on the label to keep it cool but they just ignored me L
I also told the Dean about the anatomy technician’s uncouth actions and he was appalled and told me he would take care of it so that was nice. Hopefully that guy won’t be bothering me anymore. He said that he’d also had some complaints from the female students that he just doesn’t seem to know how to behave around women. The new campus is extremely nice and should be wonderful once it’s up and running. They have a lot left to do there like build a cafeteria, and a clinic. Right now they are just practicing outside with one make shift shoot but I can see their vision and it should be lovely. It’s great to see such amazing support from the government of Ethiopia. We then drove by an animal market where on Mondays they sell everything from goats and donkeys to CAMELS! I saw TONS of camels, it was wild!! I plan to try and go by there again on Monday b/c he said it will be even more packed with animals. The Dean’s wife invited me to lunch/tea on Sunday afternoon so that gives me something to look forward to. Then I can’t wait to go and see the churches on Tuesday. Getting out of the city is very refreshing. I mentioned before that there are lots of weddings going on at my hotel. Well apparently January is the traditional wedding month and since the grounds of the Castle are so beautiful many people choose here to take photos and be married. Yesterday there were SIX weddings going on at the same time. Well at least the bridal parties were rotating taking turns being photographed then they would walk up the stone walkway to be married. I didn’t want to be too intrusive but it was such an amazing opportunity so I did try to get some photos and some video without being too much of a pest. The wedding parties didn’t seem to be too bothered and they all smiled at me which was nice. The dresses, and tuxedos are much like in the U.S. The only difference being that before he bride and groom exit their car they sing and dance around the car in a circle and chant pretty much the entire time while beating some drums. It was really neat to see. Unfortunately after I left the celebrations I started to feel sick again so I just spent the rest of the time in the hotel room.
I’m so ready to go home that today I repacked me things trying to get better organized and eliminate things that aren’t absolutely necessary to make my load a bit lighter. I was going through some of my souvenir purchases and can’t wait to get to Axum and Lalibela to see what they have there. Mekele has tons of shops but it’s all modern type stuff, not really souvenir items. Last night I had a dream that I got to go home for one day to see Ezra and Michael then when I realized what time it was I had to hurry back to Ethiopia to have lunch with the Dean J I was so sad to wake up and realize that I was still here. I never realized just how long 16 days is! I won’t be doing this again. One week is definitely do-able. But by the second week it just drags on and on. I had to call Michael last night. I’d been putting it off every night b/c I didn’t want to spend the money until I couldn’t take it anymore but last night I just had to. Hopefully I can make it the rest of the time w/o having to call. I keep trying to think of Ezra doing different things, like how he folds up his legs when I go to put him down b/c he wants me to hold him, and ironically how he screamed and cried the last time we were at the doctor’s office. I hope he isn’t stand offish when I see him at the airport again. I know he doesn’t understand why I’m away so I hope he doesn’t hold it against me and think that I abandoned him. I tried to talk to him on the phone last night and Michael said he was saying “Mama” but I couldn’t hear him. I hope he’s busy there and having fun and doesn’t have a chance to realized I’m not around. The worst thing is that when I get home I’ll only have 3 days to adjust back to being in the U.S and to spend with my boys before I have to go to work. I’ve also been thinking about fostering an orphan from Haiti through Catholic Charities. I don’t know how long they’d want the commitment to be or if we’d qualify. I have been practicing my French just in case and am trying to figure out the logistics of me working full time in March and the possibility of Michael working as well if it would be the best environment for a child and I’m only going to be working full time for a few months hopefully so it’s not forever. We’ll just have to see what the Lord’s will is I suppose. It’s extremely difficult not having access to the internet and also not being able to send out messages. I can read them just fine but actually developing a line of communication is sketchy.
This afternoon I went to the Dean’s home on the University campus to experience my fist Ethiopian tea ceremony and also ate my first sheep meat and injera!!! The injera wasn’t bad but just not really my taste. I tried to eat it to show my appreciation but this morning I was very nauseated and have had sour stomach since last night so I was also a bit hesitant to eat much not knowing if my body would revolt. The coffee ceremony was really neat and now I smell like roasted coffee beans and incense. The best part for me was the popcorn it was freshly popped from corn kernels and was quite good, also the coffee was very good. The sheep meat, I can live without, it was tender but had lots of connective issue and vessels. I think in this case knowing anatomy and what these things look like freshly dissected definitely goes against me.
After watching the BBC 24/7 here since it’s the only channel I realize how much I miss out on not having TV at home. Even though I wish there were other channels I think there’s something to be said for being so globally aware here. It’s now 3:20pm here and I have nothing to do. I tossed around the idea of walking around some but honestly there’s not really much I haven’t seen from driving around the past few days, I wish I was closer to the country side b/c it would be a beautiful day to explore. That’s one thing I can say positively about Mekele, the weather is AMAZING! I’m watching a husky sled race in England on the BBC and it really is amazing at how much those dogs live to run and love to work! Also luckily I was put in contact with a tour guide in Axum by a fellow American back at the airport in Washington D.C so I called him today and he will be booking me a room in Axum and picking me up from the airport AND he has a friend in Lalibela that will take me around there! So that’s a big weight lifted. I think the thing I’m dreading the most is having to sit at the airport in Addis for like 10 hours on Friday and I sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo don’t want to have to wait and wait just to then get on a plane and wait and wait the 16 hours to D.C to then wait to fly to TX. Where’s Scotty’s teleportation beam when you need it?
Though I say that I haven’t even left Africa yet and I’m starting to miss it. I miss my babies and kiddos from AHOPE!

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