I want to really know Ethiopia, and Adwa, and I’ll need more time to do this, and to adjust more fully
Coffee ceremony invitations, which always seem to include lunch
Children I barely know coming up to hold my hand
Being alone every night
A diet of white bread and shiro
Having to have a translator for all my workshops
Children I don’t know yelling “Money, money” at me
Not seeing Nicholas (my nephew) growing up
Training weekends / 7 day workweeks
Cockroaches and fleas (while my populations are more or less under control, there’s the constant fear of a resurgence)
Last weekend I was certain I would stay for two years, and this week I’ve been pulled towards one year. Nothing bad has happened; I just seem to be struck by a rather strong feeling of homesickness and tiredness. I know I’ll continue to bounce the decision round right up until it has to be made… Onto other news… macchiato and goiter.
The College has purchased two large espresso/macchiato machines, one for the Staff Lounge and one for the Student Lounge (we still have no students). Much of the College budget comes from aid programmes (USAID and TDP-Teacher Development Programme- from several EU countries), so I find it quite difficult not to question this purchase, especially when we can’t afford decent books for the cluster schools and we’ve just been told to scale down our English training for teachers. Maybe this isn’t fair, but I think an aid budget is different from a gift: it needs to have strings and responsibilities attached. Of course, I say this from the comfort of my shiny indoor bathroom home, rent paid by the College. Anyway, my conscience has yet to be tested on the macchiato issue, as nobody knows how to work the machine or read the instructions, so we’re still enjoying traditional coffee.
At the Ahferom workshop, I noticed that most of the women have a goiter. Apparently, soil erosion is contributing to iodine deficiency. The problem mostly affects rural people, and more so even in the south of Ethiopia than in Tigray. Goiter itself is essentially a cosmetic problem, but I understand that iodine deficiency is the number one cause of preventable mental retardation in children. There is iodized salt available in Adwa but in the rural areas it’s not usually accessible and people often don’t know the connection.