Thursday, November 03, 2011

Moving Day

It was moving day again, and we were happy to move into the house we rented.  The house is near the University of Mek’ele and on a road that sees as many trucks and buses as there are carts drawn by donkeys and horses.  It is set in a compound surrounded by a high fence and where the guard lives in a small house.
Notice the friendly razor wire on top of the fence!

View from one of the balconies of the street
Our landlord is a banker who lives down the road from us with his family.  We met his wife, Amberesh when we looked at the house, and she was very helpful and kind on our move-in day.

Contrary to the other houses we checked out, this one was spotless which was a big deciding factor for us.  The house is set in a compound like setting with high fences as are the other houses in the neighbourhood.   It is far too big for our needs, but for $700 a month we also get a guard (Gebrai) 24/7 (who lives in the compound) and a woman (Birhan) who comes to do laundry and cleaning 3 times a week.  I can’t imagine a more boring job than to be our guard, or clean our house!  I thought both Gebrai and Birhan only spoke Tigrnya so while I was doing charades this morning, was relieved to hear Gebrai talk to me in English.  He was holding out on me but at least he'll be able to help me communicate with Birhan.

Living room and dining room.  Note the pistachio green ceiling!

Kitchen

Master bedroom

Master bath -- I like the fancy toilet and sink!

This is where the laundry is done.  The hook hanging on the wall is to hang sheep when being butchered.  You just never know when you'll need a good sheep hook.

Gebrai, our guard, lives in a small house at the back (behind the laundry).  He enjoys gardening too, and is very proud of the flowers in the compound.

Once Amberesh gave us the keys, and Roger went back to work, she invited me to her home for coffee.  In Ethiopia, coffee is more than just a drink  - there is a whole ceremony involved which I had been hoping to experience.

Amberesh roasting the coffee beans
They really do need to make a coffee perfume....
Pouring a delicious cup of coffee -- the ceremony made it taste even better
In the afternoon, Amberesh took me to the market and I was happy to see a good selection of fruits and vegetables.  I am a little concerned about buying meat here as I’ve been told not to expect western-style packaging....becoming vegetarian is sounding better all the time.  However, I’ll be asking around and hopefully find a butcher shop when our craving for meat takes over.

Today, I had my bajaj driver, Gebrai take me to another market to buy some household items that didn’t come with the house.  He was horrified that I was being charged “farangi” prices and got the shop owners to knock down the prices a bit more. I know there are two price levels here, but considering many people work for one or two dollars a day, I can’t justify haggling over prices too much.  While we were shopping, a young woman asked if we needed help finding things.  She pointed us to different shops and when we ran into her later, she gave me her phone number and said to call if I needed anything.  I have always been so fortunate in every country we’ve lived in to have strangers step up and offer help and friendship. I will try to repay these kindnesses wherever, and whenever I can.

Roger flew to Shire today to be there for the start up of the first drill.  In the meantime, it’s great to be in the house with hot water, satellite TV and Gebrai to watch over things.

Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart.  ~Henry Clay

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