I’ve been having a hard time getting onto e-mail. My roommate Bethany and I hiked to the Hilton today after class to use the Internet here, since, as far as I can remember from 2 years ago, it’s much faster here than at the Ghion.
The entry below is from my first night in Addis. I hadn’t written about yesterday and today’s class yet. I may add something at the end.
So, I’m back in Addis. It’s so much easier to travel to a place like this when you’ve been here before. At least I knew my way around the airport. The people around me looked different than what I expected, though. That’s because a flight came in from
Once I wrestled my luggage off the carousel, I had to try and get it on a crowded conveyer belt again to be X-rayed before I could leave the customs area. There seemed to be maybe 5 male travelers for every 20 women, at least, and the women were feisty, pushing luggage away to get theirs on…
Outside, the arrivals hall had far fewer people than the Nairobi arrivals (though, nowadays, it’s not at all crowded due to the 80% drop in tourism…) In Addis, people have to pay 2Birr to be allowed into the airport. So unless you have to go in, you don’t.
There was a vendor trying to hawk bunches of fake flowers for 20Birr. He also doubled as a taxi agent, asking me time a number of times if I need a taxi. Which I didn’t. I was just walking around to try and find a person with a BGU sign. (I found him an hour later, but I wasn’t concerned. I knew a few others were coming in after me, so he might be late.)
I did find an ATM, which was a pleasant surprise, seeing that I couldn’t find a single, working ATM in Addis during my last visit 2 years ago. But alas, this one was out of order, too. In fact, it didn’t even have a bank logo on. The screen above the ATM had the name of a bank scribbled in magic marker. To get money out of the machine would take some other magic. It simply wasn’t going to happen.
As I was taking in the sights around me, a woman started wailing. Serious wailing, to the extent that pretty much every person in arrivals was watching her. She was with friends who took turns to hug her and console her till she stopped crying. It was a sad sight. I thought she must’ve lost a loved one. It certainly wasn’t tears of joy!
The other 3 students arrived, and with that, Imme, our driver. We walked out into the warm air of Addis and drove through the colorfully-lit streets of the city. Everything seems decorated for their recent millennium celebrations. (
I’m heading downstairs for a cup of famous macchiato. Not the Starbucks type. Real Ethiopian coffee. I slept OK once I got up to put my earplugs in. Lots of unfamiliar noises around.
Had a great time visiting with my roommate last night.
It’s nice and warm, by the way. Not hot. Just comfortable.
Despite all the excitement of learning new things today, I cannot help but keep thinking of neighboring
Since we’re studying urban ministry models, we had a tour of the city of
Today, it made more sense. I learned that she herself was a niece of the Emperor. I wrote the bit below during the introductory session this morning. Yes, I like to multitask.
MaAfrika, she’s been hailed.
Ethiopians call her “Sister Jember,” or Doctor Jember. Not the ordinary nurse, this is. She is the niece of the last Emperor, Haile Selassie I. Her husband, Dr. Hailegiorgis, a man with a PhD in architecture who had designed some of the most phenomenal hotels and parks in Addis, was a descendent of another monarch, Emperor Menelik II. He was also the mayor of Addis. (Menelik I, it is believed, was the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.)
Their wedding was a royal one that lasted 5 days. But because of them being royal, Dr. Hailegiorgis was imprisoned for 12 years by the Marxist government. While in prison, Jember took her husband 2 meals a day, never allowed to see him. He asked for more food because he was sharing his food with the others in his cell.
Jember, herself, was later imprisoned for 5 years. She started a Red Cross training program for inmates and guards, and when she was released, she insisted on being allowed back to complete the training.
Only once everyone in the program had graduated did she leave for
Jember returned to