The Ups and Downs of Addis Life

Imagine sitting in a three-person swing seat, moving gently. The sun is shining and there is a slight breeze. Two little boys (one American, one Ethiopian) are sitting beside you as you read a story. No Supply teachers are available here so when a teacher is absent requests are made for volunteers to use their planning time to cover classes. On this occasion it was 'learning support', hence the small number. We had completed the comprehension exercise that was set, and read a play. The final instruction was a story. Teaching in Africa has its perks.

New experiences

The Tesfye Birhan girls came to Bingham as usual this Thursday from 4.30 to 6.00pm. The venue was the grade five classroom where a snack was prepared for them. Usually it's popcorn, half a banana and a cup of water. This week the popcorn was replaced by chocolate cake with icing sugar on top. They were more tentative about trying this. A couple of the younger girls put their finger in the icing sugar, licked it, then made a face. There wasn't much cake left over at the end however, so they overcame their reticence. While they ate they listened to a Bible story.

Cultural Confusion

One thing I didn’t expect in the middle of Africa was some quality professional development training. We received two days-worth on ‘Authentic Enquiry and Disciplinary Literacy’. A whole new world of jargon opened up to describe literacy features (mentor authors, graphical brushstrokes, linear rays and crafting leads) which are familiar to Americans. Brits I discovered, have their own unique set of terms for the same features.

Meet Sion

I wonder when we'll have a normal week? Just when you thought Christmas was over another holiday happens. We took the usual days off over Christmas and New Year (the British ones - Americans don't do Boxing Day but we did), then the Ethiopian "Gena" happened (7th January), then this Monday there was another holiday. It wasn't entirely clear that it would be Monday or Tuesday until the last minute, but Monday it was so the clinic was closed.

Making History

When we were last in Ethiopia, The school had an area of woodland in part of its campus. Over time this has been removed and a lovely new building erected. It will house the High School teachers and students giving them purpose built facilities and greater identity.

Happiness is...

Looking at the BBC storm warnings for the UK recently, prompted me to blog about the weather here in Addis which I still appreciate every day. Since we arrived in November, the weather has remained the same. Usually cloudless blue sky and sunshine. There is a big contrast in temperature between shade and sunshine, so we dress for a British summer but with extra layers to wear indoors.

And so to Sodere

SIM Ethiopia has 150 missionaries plus spouses and children. Lots and lots of children. (I almost feel guilty at only having had four). These folks, plus several hundred Ethiopian employees and their families, are my patients. How to get to know them? Go on a five day residential conference and all get into a swimming pool together, on New Year's Eve. We knew before we arrived here that there was pretty much a three line whip for attendance at the biennial "Spiritual Life Conference" (SLC) from 30th December to 3rd January at a "resort" 120 km (that's 2-3 hours drive) south east of Addis.