Saturday, August 15, 2009

Gardening, Dining & Shopping

We drove to Village of Hope today to work on the bridge there. They were plowing the field and planting corn, so we all went and had our picture taken with the plow. Chris broke out some red licorice and made friends with all of the children. I had them show me their gardens and I ate quite a few plants. Some of the plants were good, others weren’t, the children had fun handing me stuff to try. I tried lots of plants from their gardens and I ‘m sure some of them were weeds, especially the way they were laughing at me. The children’s gardens are a great idea. They asked me to bring some seeds the next time I come.

We left the Village of Hope and went to see Teddy’s home in Arsi Negelle. I met his grandmother and mother a couple of weeks ago. She is the sweetest lady. This time his grandfather was there also. He is 85 years old and still in very good shape. They have been married for 62 years.

We decided to go to the Sabana Resort for lunch and to see if it would work for us as a stopping place. Teddy’s sisters and a friend accompanied us. The one sister had been there before. I could tell that they were really excited to go and pamper themselves a little. It wasn’t a big deal for me to pay $15 for my meal, but for them, that is a huge splurge, almost 2 weeks wages for a typical Ethiopian laborer. The resort is expensive for Ethiopian standards but the rooms are similar to U.S. standards from $50 to $80/night. We may use that as a stopping place in the future. For lunch I had breaded Talapia, which came fresh from the lake.

They also had some terrific ice cream that I think was homemade. After lunch, we walked down to the beach and tested the water. Except for the brown colored water it looked like an awesome place to play along the beach. (*Note from the Sabana Resort Website about the water supply from the lake: "The water's light brown colour is due to its iron contents and not, as many are prone to think, by mud content. The water is actually known to be healthy for your skin and even helps heal wounds.")

I volunteered to cook for the children at Village of Hope on Sunday, so we drove to Shashamene to shop for the ingredients. We bought a sack of potatoes along the highway. As we were about to leave, the girl who sold us the potatoes almost walked right in front of a big transport truck. I think she was a little awestruck with us Frenge ("fer-eng-gee" -- Ethiopian term for foreigner) and didn’t think where she was going.

We drove on into Shashamene and got bananas from one vendor, eggs from another, onions from a third and olive oil from a fourth. All the while, we were wading through people and taxis. The shop keeper where we bought the olive oil said that he didn’t have olive oil. Fortunately for him, Teddy saw some on the shelf behind him. It cost 90 Birr for half a liter which is about $8. I decided it was worth it for the children to have the real deal. Afterwards I was thinking about it, and realized that the cost of the olive oil is a week’s worth of wages for a laborer there.

Brent suggested that we drive through the market to see what it was like. I had thought that the streets were crowded when we were shopping, but they were twice as crowded in the market. We could barely even drive through on the road. I tried to video it so we will see how it turns out.

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