Everyday Encounters

Meet the noisiest cat around campus. Its owners are still away at the moment which has made it even more vocal.

As one of the first residents to return, we were once again overwhelmed by the warmness of the welcome we received from all the Ethiopian staff. Many times I have been quizzed about the health of my family, my time in the UK and whether Dr Phil is well and back in Addis too. I really appreciate this genuine concern and friendliness.

You might have assumed that this week would have been an ideal opportunity to work in the classroom. So had I until I saw our learning space. The contents have been removed and stacked in the chapel whilst the floor has been lovingly varnished to within an inch of its life. It is now exceedingly shiny. The workers are also embarking on building a shelter over part of the outside playground, an ambitious project which they have only just begun. When I first joined the Bingham staff I would have found this disconcerting with only two weeks until the children arrive. However nearly three years on and experience tells me that these things have a habit of working out in time against all the odds.

The broom men by the riverThus, I have spent time at home in the apartment doing administrative tasks, at least when the internet is up and running. Every morning as I wash up breakfast the view of the river continues to provide fascination. There are two hoody-bedecked mop and broom sellers who place their brooms against the same wall each day and tease out the fabric threads on the mops with their hands. This generates a large ball of white fluff which they carry over and toss into the fast flowing river and observe its progress downstream. Why do they do this, I wonder and why do they place the white brush heads on the wet muddy ground and who buys all these mops and brooms anyway? Oh dear I still haven’t learnt that ‘why’ is a redundant question around here.

Scaffolding held together by a coat hanger?Another curiosity occurred as I was sitting with my computer on my lap this week. The window was opened from outside and a man’s arm appeared. Given that we live on the third floor this was unusual. There was an explanation though. Our new building had been cracking both inside and out and the contractors had been recalled to make repairs. Scaffolding was against the outside of the building, unusually this was metal rather than the more common eucalyptus pole version. Two guys in tee shirts (no helmets) were dismantling it pole by pole. How to keep scaffolding up while you dismantle it...One guy undoing the connections whilst the other held onto the building to prevent the construction collapsing outwards. I couldn’t resist a photo of one of the joins which was held in place with something that closely resembled coat hanger wire.

So we are back. Two sour yoghurts and three sour packets of milk later (all well within date) and we are still smiling. Most of all, we are eagerly anticipating offering support to the families who are joining Bingham for the first time, whether as new teachers or living and working in the community. If a sense of humour is required to live here we are prepared for the challenge!


Despite LOVING having you both back over your break, I have missed your blog updates. Well done for making the best of your classroom situation. I am sure it will be back to looking the same as always soon enough.xx

Give the cat a stroke! I hope the classroom gets sorted soon.


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