Well I arrived in Addis Abba on Sunday very tired after a long flight. Trying to identify all of the other VSO volunteers in the mix of all the passengers was interesting. It was good to meet up with volunteers who I met on the last training weekend I went. This week has been in country orientation at the VSO office in Addis with the entire September intake of volunteers (a mix of British, Canadian and Brazilian). Everyone is lovely and the VSO staff and existing volunteers have been friendly and helpful where possible. Language training has been hard – Amharic is a difficult language which lots of different meanings and also a different alphabet! I do know how to say thank you, hello, ok, how much and some numbers 🙂 This has all come in handy when we were sent off on a scavenger hunt round the city and also shopping in the market for household equipment to take when I head up to Axum. I’ve now seen pictures of the flat where I’m going to live in Axum. It looks great and even has a balcony! Of course no one can tell me when I will be flying up there or if the furniture will have been delivered before I arrive. Luckily the water came back on after two days without it in time for Thursday evening when we were told to ‘dress to impress’ and went off to the British embassy for an evening reception with the ambassador. It was a great evening getting to know existing volunteers and the other new volunteers. Also meeting the ambassador and other people involved in development in Ethiopia. It was especially useful to meet a lady from DFID who is working in the health sector in Ethiopia. Inspiring to hear people talking about the important work volunteers can do. Looking forward to getting up to Axum even more. Special mention should also go to the gin & tonic, beautiful glass of red wine and roast beef & yorkshire pudding canapés! No ferrero rocher though. One of the most exciting piece of news this week is that Ethiopia has met it’s millennium development goal in reducing the under 5 year old mortality!!! There is still more work to be done everyone says but such an amazing achievement to celebrate.
September 20, 2013