Phil and Chris in Ethiopia
With the threat of fuel shortages soon, I topped up my tank at this petrol station this morning, drove next door to a small supermarket and while Chris shopped I walked back to the station’s cash machine. The screen said it was busy rebooting Windows 7 and scanning a faulty hard disk, so I thought better of inserting (and the machine perhaps permanently swallowing) my debit card. Turning round I was confronted by this truck filling up at the same pump as I had just used – it only just fitted under the station’s canopy.
From noisy to quiet – this aptly describes the roads adjacent to the Bingham compound that we can see from our kitchen window. Gone is the view of the river in its many guises, gone are the young men exercising in the fresh air on the high horizontal bar, and gone are the donkeys that had made the journey down to the water’s edge several times a day for the past year.
It was over a year ago that we renewed out gym membership. Faithful readers will remember the renewal process involved quite a lot of exercise. Our membership expired a short while before we headed to the UK for our summer break, and on our return we decided to research a different gym – largely because at Laphto pretty much everything was broken.
Meet the noisiest cat around campus. Its owners are still away at the moment which has made it even more vocal.
None of my three ways of using the Internet will work right now, and I have no idea when I will be able to post this on our website. This is unusual. It’s not just a lack of electricity bringing down the Bingham network – if that were the case my 3G USB stick would work. Our 3G mobile phones can do calls and texts, but that’s all. This has not happened before in our nearly three years in Addis, but then the threat of anti-government protests that could turn violent has never been so great as it is this weekend.
It’s quite difficult sometimes, taking off your doctor’s hat and becoming an ordinary tourist for a few days. This thought was going through my mind as I looked down at the two young Mursi people sitting with their backs against the walls of a couple of the handful of mud and straw huts in front of us.
My commute to work on Friday was again disrupted by an Ethiopian Orthodox saint. Given that every day of the month is a special day for someone or other disruption is fairly likely, but this was Tekle Haimanot whose church is right on my route. Both the church and the road was thronging with white-clad people coming to honour him. Some 800 years ago towards the end of his life Tekle Haimanot hung out in a cave a couple of hours’ drive north of Addis and brought a new meaning to the concept of getting legless. He stood up for so long (apparently) that one of his legs fell off, and he then stood on the other one continuously for seven more years. For four of those years he didn’t drink anything, and all he ate were leaves at the weekend. So I think his special celebration was well-earned.