Last week the volunteers in Axum went on our travels. With the leaver’s workshop (can’t believe it’s time to start thinking about this already!) in Addis it was a good excuse to explore a bit more of Ethiopia. Claire and I headed down to Hawassa, a town in the SNNPR region 5 hours bus ride south of Addis Ababa. It is so different from the Ethiopia I know here in Axum. Hawassa is on the edge of a lake and is full of lush greenery, birds, hippos, fishermen and not nearly as much dust as Axum.
We treated ourselves to a bit of luxury and stayed at the lakeside Lewi resort. The monkeys around the grounds provided lots of entertainment although you did have to guard your food. Claire was ‘mugged’ after breakfast by one monkey for her banana as we walked back to the room!
Relaxing by the pool provided much needed rest and relaxation.
The local fish market was a beautiful scene. The fishermen and boys were checking the nets after coming in earlier in the morning and storks were everywhere looking for fish scraps. The boys throw these to them for the tourists but with their scary appearances I didn’t want them getting too close! We also had a wonderful meal and catch up with some other VSO volunteers who are working in Hawassa.
After a few days we headed back up to Addis for the workshop and meetings. Following this I decided to stay in Addis for a couple of extra nights and had the treat of staying at the Hilton hotel (thank you soooo much Mum and Dad). More relaxing by the pool happened as well as lots of lovely food. The margaritas were also amazing – the first cocktail since my arrival in Ethiopia.
I have very much enjoyed the luxury and break of the last week and I appreciated it all the more for it being so different from my everyday life here. It has shown me how far the gap between visiting a country and living in a country can sometimes be. Being aware of what is going on outside the hotel and tourist attractions is important and I hope I will continue to be more aware of what is happening in the local communities of places I travel to in the future.
I’m now back in Axum and it’s the final push to get the neonatal unit finished and equipped with the training needed done before I leave for the UK in a couple of months.