Hilton Highlights

Hilton hotels are a five star international chain, so surely the hairdressing salons that they contain should be indistinguishable right?

I wonder if anything in the salon reveals its Ethiopian location.

Maybe the missing handle on the drawer in front of me, or the two light bulbs that need replacing around the mirror gave it away.

The hairdresser glanced at my hair. “Same colour!” he announced as he departed. He reappeared a couple of minutes later, vigorously stirring a generous amount of dark grey gloop in a plastic container.

Truly International

This week has been a bit dull (from a  blogging point of view) so I thought I might leave it to Chris who's been to Lemma's again and nearly squashed a chicken (on a separate occasion). Until today. Today was International Sunday at the International Evangelical  Church (IEC) that we have joined. Normally there are two services on a Sunday morning but today we all joined together and the place was bursting with over seven hundred people. Flags of the nations represented were hung from the balcony and all sorts of types and styles of singing lifted the congregation in praise and worship.

Oromo Country

We first met Lemma’s family back in 2007. They remain the most hospitable and generous family that I have ever met. Lemma created a school within his property for children local to his neighbourhood. This has stood the test of time. My friend Clare has been visiting Lemma’s school every Saturday to teach two English language classes. I had the privilege of going with her this weekend. We chose a vehicle with good clearance from the ground to cope with a particularly bad pothole that we knew must be crossed, and travelled out of Addis into Oromo country.

The chicken on the chair

During our regular Thursday 'Y’tesfye Birhan' local girls meeting this week we talked in groups about good things and difficulties that we had experienced during day. One girl shared that her friend had cut herself badly and had been sent home from school; another that her parents fight and that worries her. The youngest one (who not so long ago was on the street begging with her mum) had not been to school. The oldest girl in the group (aged 11 - we’ll call her M) was thankful that she had done well on a school test. She is in a grade well below her age.

Following a Recipe - a True Story

Many of you will know that before I left the UK I downloaded a selection of recipes, some from the Sainsbury’s website. I have been truly thankful for this. Especially when the internet is not working.

I wanted to make a chocolate courgette cake as we were meeting a group of doctors who would be involved in some AIDs work. This is how it went:


Addis version

Trivia and True Progress

Wikipedia suggests that a giant tortoise moves slowly at 0.17 miles per hour. The fastest recorded speed is 5 miles per hour. There is a running track around the periphery of Bingham. As I made my way round it for the third time during a regular fitness attempt, I became convinced that the school giant tortoises are certainly of the faster variety.

Cafe Culture

This week for supper on Wednesday we made a foray into the mayhem of people, cars and taxis outside the Bingham school compound and found what looked like a bar that could perhaps serve us food. Seating didn’t look too comfortable so we explored further. The next rather smoky bar interior wasn’t much of an improvement but we were ushered into one of the back rooms where we sat on low stools around what resembled a coffee table. The television was on with the sound turned down, showing an American film with Arabic sub-titles.