Saturday, November 7, 2009

Travel, Meals, Guns & Machetes!

Last night I had the best night's sleep that I have had since arriving in Ethiopia. Haven and I had raisin bran and fruity flakes for breakfast. I think that it is the first time that I have had cold cereal in Ethiopia. We also had a slice of canned ham that was really good.

Shemelis took us to the bank so I could get some money for our work expenses. As we walked up the stairs through the front gate, a guard frisked us and checked my bag. I am not sure whether to feel safer or insulted. They have guards at almost all buildings and many of them will frisk you before letting you in the gate. When we drive in, they often require that the driver leave his license at the gate.

I took out 100 birr in individual bills to give to the beggars. I try and be selective and only give to those that I think really need it. We had over a dozen people come to the car begging just on the way to the bank and back. You see all kinds of different deformities and sad situations.


We loaded up everyone's suitcases at the hotel, packed up at the house and headed for Shashemene. It took us about four hours to get to Kersa Illala where we dropped off Abera. I had to get out and stretch my legs for a while. I walked over to where a man was throwing shovels full of grain in the air to clean it. He did get many of the weed seeds out but there were still a lot left in with the wheat.

I was exhausted by the time we arrived at the hotel. We unpacked, then sat down for our two hour dinner. The waitress brings you your menu after you have been sitting for about 20 minutes, then a half hour later she returns to get your order. Your food comes in another half an hour and she brings you the bill half an hour after you finish your meal. It works out ok if you are prepared to talk, read or work on the computer. I had my most common meal here of rice with meat sauce. It fills me up and doesn't cause any digestive problems.

Lloyd, Evan and I talked about their trip to Bale to see the Sheneka and Alyssa farms. It takes a couple of days just to drive to the farms. With good roads you could probably make it in a day. There is a lot of work that will have to be done.

The morning after they cleared a hectare of land a group of villagers showed up with guns and machetes and told them to get off their land! I guess word hadn't reached them that the government had sold it to Paul. We had been told that no one was using it, but apparently the people are grazing their cattle on it. A couple of our Ethiopian employees were able to talk to the village leaders and get things worked out, but it was a little unsettling.

2 comments:

  1. Unsettling?!! To say the least!!!

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  2. Just a bit! lol. I was glad that Lonny wasn't there for that part of the adventure! The scariest thing that's happened to him was on the last trip when a lady came up to the car and threatened to smash their windshield with a rock if they didn't give her some money!

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