I'm not a Birdwatcher. Definitely not.

Our school director Brad is a bit of a birdwatcher (I’d call him a “twitcher” but he isn’t, and anyway that would be a bit rude – see here for an explanation). He’s combined this with being a keen photographer and has some superb pictures. He’s convinced I shall develop into a birdwatcher too, as my curiosity gets the better of me sometimes as I just have to find out what that bird that just hopped into my lounge and is pecking around on our carpet is called (a “Brown-rumped Seedeater” I think…)  It’s very difficult to resist wondering what a bird is called when they are all around me and they all look different from anything I’ve ever seen in the UK. Even the pigeons.

The Bridge, the School, and much more.

The bridge to BorchessaOur plan was to attend our church in Addis Ababa prior to travelling down to a holiday resort by a lake 3-4 hours drive out of the city. After the service we had an unexpected meeting with Gary and Peggy Ifft. We had first met them in 2007 (when they and Phil worked at the Korean Hospital in Addis). A chat over coffee in a nearby cafe led to us travelling behind them to their home in Ziway - a small rural town on our route. We left with a promise to call in on our return. We learnt that they arrived in Ziway through contact with an elder of the local Miserete Kristos Church in Ziway. A subsequent meeting with the church elders confirmed that there were various development needs in the area, ideal for a visionary couple who were experienced in working on a range of projects within Ethiopia.

The School Trip

Handling sessionBoth kindergarten classes had been learning about life cycles, so we wanted to give the children a good experience to enhance this. We chose Sabahar, where moths are bred for their silk, and planned a half day trip. My teaching friends may like to spot how many UK health and safety regulations we would have contravened!

The Trials of a Formula 1 Fan in Ethiopia

Hamilton and Massa come together - Silverstone July 2011The weekend of 13th to 15th March saw the beginning of the Formula 1 Grand Prix season – the sport most likely to both drag me to the TV several times in a weekend and also to relieve me of some cash (we have grandstand seats at Silverstone this summer). But of course watching motor racing demands electricity – in Addis, that’s a potential problem.


ShipmanOn 31st January 2000 a jury found Dr Harold Frederick Shipman (A 54 year old GP practising in the north of England) guilty of the murder of 15 of his patients. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and is the only British doctor ever convicted of murdering his own patients. The subsequent Shipman Inquiry by Dame Janet Smith suggested Shipman was probably responsible for around 250 deaths between 1971 and 1998, making him one of the most notorious serial killers in recorded history. Shipman committed suicide in his prison cell by hanging himself with his bed sheets on 13th January 2004. He never said a word to explain his killings - we will never know why he did what he did.

Of Playgrounds and Lomee cake

Lemma receives the school's moneyIt’s always pleasing when you can facilitate something helpful here but you can almost guarantee that it won’t be straight forward. The Head teacher from the UK school I worked at before moving here suggested that the pupils may like to raise money for a project of my choosing. Just prior to the winter break a ‘Christmas Jumper’ Day was held.

Keys and Mattresses

I’ve Found It!

(NB - the words highlighted in blue in this post are links you need to click to see the two best photos.)

All my life I’ve had a skillful ability to lose things – just ask my mum. it’s actually a small miracle that the nice Shaeffer ballpoint pen she bought me to bring to Addis is still in my possession despite several attempts to lose it, usually redeemed by my clinic nurses. Well I lost a key recently. It was for a store room in the clinic that contains some medicines that we can dispense to my patients. One busy Friday morning I ran downstairs to the store room to grab something and absent-mindedly popped the key into my pocket rather than leaving it in it’s usual secret location for others to use. I realised I had it when I returned to my consulting room and made a mental note (obviously in temporary memory) to take it back later.