Monday, November 07, 2011

That's Life....

The ordinary is so extraordinary here.  

Roger was away for 5 days at the project in Shire and brought back a couple of pictures this week that illustrates this. 
A merry go round made out of chairs bolted to a spinning platform
This was the closest thing Roger could get to function as a water truck for the job site. 
After 2 frustrating months, the first drill finally starting turning last week.  Hopefully there will be "gold in them, thar hills!"
The new LF90

The core boxes show the varied mineral deposits
Shopping for food has become my greatest stressor and since moving into our house my greatest challenge.  I always prided myself on eating pretty well anything, but admittedly Ethiopian food has been harder to embrace. 

And the thought of buying meat that is just hanging there without refrigeration, kept me up a few nights.  Chickens are typically purchased at the market, with ropes around their necks and then butchered at home.  On market day this weekend, I actually saw a lamb being shoved into a bajaj (a motorized rickshaw)....no doubt heading to someone’s home for dinner. 

Mek'ele is a mix of the old world meeting the new world. 
Fortunately I asked our landlord’s wife for help, and she took me to a place that had cut up and frozen chicken, as well as some eggs.  I loved how they packaged the eggs for our trip home.  Then we went to a butcher shop -- I took a deep breath, ordered some beef, and then froze everything hoping that would kill any bugs. I plan to make a lot of stews so that the beef gets well cooked. 
Not the egg cartons I'm used to!
Fruits and vegetables are plentiful and cheap.  Canned goods are expensive (a can of baked beans cost $4) but whatever looks good enough to eat – I’m going to buy!

Gebrai has been a big help, and Birhan comes to clean and do laundry twice a week.  While she doesn’t speak English, and my Tigrinya is pretty limited (and any attempts are always met with laughter in a well meaning, and surprised kind of way) she has a beautiful smile and Gebrai helps with translation.
Gebrai grinding tea

Birhan
Our landlord and his family have been extremely kind. They had me over for another coffee ceremony yesterday morning so I could meet their daughters.  Their children go to private school as the public schools typically have 60+ children in classrooms and the quality is not as good.  English is taught in all the schools and a high value is placed on education by many parents.

Haile also explained how the Ethiopian government is working to break through the stigma and reality of desperate poverty.  The new frontier of mineral exploration for gold and potash has attracted investors and is seen as a very positive sign.  Ethiopia has had a history as harsh as its environment - but when speaking to nationals - they are optimistic and filled with hope.
This is Amberesh's mother who is 77 years old.  Her face is absolutely beautiful.

Haile with his two younger daughters
Amberesh wore a special Ethiopian dress for the ceremony.  Her eldest daughter sits beside her
As Roger always tells me, "Face your fears, and they will disappear".  It's true. I was really worried about buying meat (and seriously considering going vegetarian!) and getting past what I have been used to.  And while I'm not ready to pluck and gut a chicken, I can walk into a butcher shop and say "1 kilo, please", and dinner will be made.  That's progress.

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.  ~Mary Engelbreit

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