Only in Ethiopia could these last 36 hours be considered typical. Yesterday, I went to school at 8:00 am, 30 minutes earlier than usual because my counterpart wanted me to experience the flag raising ceremony at the beginning of the school day. I figured sure, why not…that meant I’d be able to observe one of the very first classes of the day and I’d be finished with my day 40 minutes earlier. (I typically observe three classes each morning and then record them into my CENA in the afternoon – any more than that and I’d start mixing the lessons together!)
So I showed up bright and early only to find the area around the flag deserted and all the kids already in the classrooms. Odd, I’d thought, but it wasn’t the first time there was a time mix-up in Ethiopia. So I went off to find my counterpart only to learn that there would be no classes that day, instead, there was an all-day student meeting about conduct. Of course, I was invited to attend…but it would be conducted in Amharic, and let’s face it, I wasn’t excited by the prospect of playing “which five Amharic words will I understand today.”
So I decided to just be grateful for my unexpected day off. I stopped by my friend’s shop and we went out to brunch. We talked about long-distance relationships and her upcoming wedding (I know those of you back home in America will find this hard to believe, but it’s true!).
Then I went home and was promptly informed by my landlord that I was being evicted. Awesome. Apparently he had just gotten back from the Department of Education and they had refused to pay my electric bill – the contract between them was only for rent. If I’m being honest, I know my electric stove uses quite a bit of electricity, but to be fair, I asked my landlord before I started using it and he said it’d be fine. Turns out, it wasn’t fine. Guess I should buy a propane stove this weekend!
Some of you may already know this about me, but I actually enjoy moving. I’m not the biggest fan of packing up my things, but I love unpacking and decorating a new home. Which is why I was so excited to move to Hawassa – I knew I’d miss my host family in Sagure, but I couldn’t wait to create a space that was all mine.
Well I’ve been living in Hawassa for three weeks now and I have yet to put a single picture on the wall. Why, you may ask, especially when in the past I’ve had my new places fully decorated in at most two days after I moved in. Well, it’s different here in Ethiopia. Mostly, because I’m not sure that I’ll be staying in this first home that they placed me in.
At first I really wanted to make it work…now I’m not so sure that’s the best idea. It’s placed in a really convenient location relative to the places I go in Hawassa, but a coworker recently saw my place and told me that apparently I’m in a really sketchy section of town. It doesn’t help that I live across the street from a cemetery ha ha but at least there are high walls surrounding it, so I’d be able to hear a zombie attack in advance.
We just got information on our host families yesterday, and today I move to Sagure! I don’t know a lot about the town, except it has around 10,000 people and might be a little chilly – which will be strange for summer.
I’ll be living with two teachers and their three children, ages 14, 18, and 22. They live in a small compound, so I’ll have a room inside the main house with a latrine toilet and a private room for my bucket “showers.” Also: I get a cat! Which also means I’ll probably get fleas. Bring it on. (I’m trying to act more optimistic than I currently feel.)
We’ve been told repeatedly that these next 10 weeks will be the hardest out of our 27 months of service. Wish me luck! If I can survive this, I can survive anything! Also, a heads up: I don’t think I’ll have internet in Sagure so I’ll probably only be able to get online once or twice a week when we go to Assella for our large training groups. Which means I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to update this blog. So if you don’t hear from me for a while, don’t worry, I’m still alive : ) just living like the Ethiopians.