Team Spirit in Addis Ababa


Things were pretty crazy as I tried leaving Addis Ababa on Sunday. Streets were closed and people were out en masse for the Ethiopia vs Nigeria World Cup qualifying game. Addis is usually pretty crowded, but this was a whole new experience.

After searching to find our bus (and being unable to get through to the company due to jammed phone lines) we finally succeeded in checking in…only to leave 45 minutes late. While hanging out on the bus, we got a full view of the day’s festivities.

Team Spirit

If I’m being honest, I loved it. There was so much green, yellow, and red, not to mention the face paint! I’m a sucker for face paint : )

On the way out of town we passed the lines for those trying to get into the game…I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say those lines were kilometers long! And of course on the way home, we listened to the game. Everyone in Ethiopia was watching or listening to the game. Every town we passed looked like a ghost town until we’d come across the TV houses and you’d see an entire town camped out.

Our driver had a bit too much team spirit, he felt the need to honk his excitement at every passing car and person. Unfortunately, Nigeria won 2-1, but if I’m not mistaken, Ethiopia still has another chance to make it to the World Cup (for the first time ever, I might add).

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Never thought I’d say “I hate the big city”

I grew up in a small town in Minnesota. Have you seen Fargo? I haven’t, but I’ve heard it’s similar (disclaimer, part of that movie was filmed in my hometown). But I always dreamed of big city life. I had my heart set on NYC, but as I grew up and got to know myself better I realized that Minneapolis would do just fine. For a while…

Shortly after university I felt the pull to hit the road and found myself joining Peace Corps and moving to Ethiopia. I thought readjusting to small town life would be difficult, but surprise, it wasn’t. That said, my “small town” has a population of about 300,000, but by Minneapolis standards, it’s still a downsize.

Well, I’ve spent the week in Addis Ababa – Ethiopia’s capital, population 3.5 million – and I can honestly say, I hate the big city. And I know it’s not fair, big cities in developing nations are wildly different from big cities in developed nations…but I still feel over it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still jump at the chance to live in Rome or Chicago or D.C., but right now, all I want to do is run home to Hawassa.

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Peace Corps Reflections in sepia

As our IST (In-Service Training) approaches, I’m blown away by the fact that I’ve been living on my own in Hawassa for three months now. And that I’ve been in Ethiopia for five months. Cliched as it sounds, the time really has flown by! So I started looking through my pictures and reminiscing about where I’ve gone and what I’ve seen.

This was my view of Addis Ababa from the hotel room I shared with Jazmin our first few days in Kings Hotel.

Donkeys quickly became my favourite animal in Ethiopia. I took a picture of this guy in Hosanna on our “demystification” trip.

Joel, leading our adoring fans in a chant on one of our afternoon walks in Sagure.

Me and Kerry, standing above William’s (Sagure’s) Gorge.

The lovely tree where many a Hawassan drunk has apparently slept. Not gonna lie, I went inside…and minus the insects, it looked quite cozy.

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Welcome to the club

Yep, it’s official. I joined the “I got bit by a dog” club. It may not sound like the best club ever, but I’d prefer membership in this club to the “I shit my pants” club – which apparently many PCVs join.

So what had happened was (oh Morgan)…I was late to catch the bus to Assela for training and so I was jogging away from my house. Our neighbor’s dog was out with her puppy. She’s never been a particularly friendly dog, but she’s also never done anything more aggressive than bark. That day however, she bristled and looked very on-guard. I kept a wide berth, and she let me pass without incident. However, once my back was turned, she chased me and bit me on my calf. Awesome.

A lot of cursing and a little bit of limping later and I was at the café meeting up with everyone. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, but when I called the med office to give them a heads up, I found out that I had to go to Addis for a rabies booster and antibiotics.

Luckily there was a group of girls leaving for Addis that day for dentist appointments so I was able to catch a ride with them. And I have to be honest…getting bit by that dog ended up being a huge blessing in disguise. That night we went out to dinner at Paradise and I got ratatouille and french fries – yum.

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