It has been about 36 hours since the CRS staff said goodbye and drove off back to Addis Ababa. So, here I am…..20 km from a paved road with people not only do I not know but I can’t understand, the only person who looks like me in I have no idea how many km, in a country I have never visited, on a continent I have never visited and I am strangely ok. I had prepared myself for the feelings I used to have when my parents dropped me off at camp or even at grandparents for an extended period. Yup I admit those times usually involved tears.
In addition to all of the above firsts, we are now at 24 hours with no electricity, no running water, no cell service and no internet. Not only can we not communicate with home but we can’t even communicate with staff in Addis. ISOLATED! It’s amazing what that can do for a person. I have no idea who won the Wisconsin primary, who is leading in the polls nor frankly do I care at this point. Today I sat and talked to one of the young junior instructors for almost two hours about agriculture….farming…..loafing around the farmer’s table. It was awesome. His English was very broken and I only know “thank you” in Amharic sometimes but we did it. I am really becoming aware of how fast my speaking is. I need to be really aware of that tomorrow when I have to give my first two hour lecture to 36 junior and senior instructors on Integrated Pest Management (anyone who wants go ahead and get in line now and I’ll be happy repeat it when I get home – it’s thrilling).
Today we after our “mandatory rest” after lunch which translates “can you just leave us alone for an hour” I went to the house at the entrance to turn in my key in at the security house so Mrs. Tarafu can get in to clean. The folks who live there were making coffee over a small wood fire. They offered me a cup which of course I accepted….for two reasons. It was graciously offered and in just two days I have become an Ethiopian coffee junkie. It’s about a triple shot in an espresso cup with three heaping scoops of raw sugar a small spoon. Let me tell you this stuff is amazing. My CRS associate has threatened to ban me from the coffee.
Our typical day will be breakfast at 1 1/2 (which is 7:30) and class at 2 1/2 (8:30). Our driver picks us up and drops us at the VIP room at the restaurant for eggs and coffee and then picks us up at 8 to go to the Plant Science Department.