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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Amharic Language Lessons

Here’s a general overview of the things I’ve learned in my Amharic language classes:

  • Siga albälam – I don’t eat meat.
  • English rhymes for Ethiopians, ex: Where are you going my little goat? I’m going to market to buy a new coat. A coat for a goat? Can a goat wear a coat? People would laugh at a goat with a coat.
  • When we’re writing fidel (their alphabet) I feel more like I’m in art class than language class.









  • Dähïna nä, dähïna adärk, dähïna walk, and dähïna amäšäh are all ways of greeting men. Now multiply that by four and those are your options for women, groups, and polite greetings. Then add t’ena yïstil ïñ, sälam näw, and tadïyas and you have most of the greetings I’ve learned so far.
  • It’s too difficult to explain my dad’s job to Ethiopians, so he’s been upgraded to a “hakim” aka a physician.
  • Innate Monica tïbalaläč means “My mother is called Monica,” but if you emphasize the “b” in tïbalaläč, it means “My mother ate Monica” – good to know.
  • We turned a phrase into a song: k’äsbäk’äs ïnk’ulal bäïgru yïhedal…just try singing it : ) It means slowly the egg walks on foot.

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Snickers: What you miss living overseas

I’m writing this post while eating a snickers, after having a very American day. This was not a normal Ethiopian day. Most days involve me waking up at 6:30 and going to class where I’ll either be learning Amharic, teaching strategies, or cultural differences between Americans and Ethiopians. Classes tend to run from 8 to 5, with two šay/buna (tea/coffee) breaks and lunch.

Today, however, we had the day off, and I went to Assella to hang out with a bunch of the other PCTs. We ate pizza, used the internet, and in general, caused a raucous. I also bought a snickers. It was a good day.

But times aren’t always good in Ethiopia. I’ve spent the last week seriously asking myself why I’m here and when I couldn’t come up with a good enough reason, I considered returning to America. But then, yesterday, we went on a hike outside of Sagure, and looking out at the countryside I finally felt like I was where I’m supposed to be. I don’t know why it suddenly hit me then, but I’m glad it did, because had I left, I would have seriously missed the other PCTs.

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On the road again: My move to Sagure

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.