‘Animal Encounters’ are integrated into the curriculum in the UK and popular with the children. Provided by companies that would bring to a school a variety of wildlife such as spiders and rabbits. It was often an easier option for the teachers rather than taking a trip to a Wildlife Centre. Also there would be a lot less health and safety paperwork involved!
“If there is a medical doctor on board could you make yourself known to one of the cabin crew please?” It was 3am and I was lying uncomfortably across three seats near the rear of a Boeing 777 trying to sleep. I’m on my way back to Addis after a short trip to the UK when this dreaded announcement penetrated my brain through my foam earplugs.
Arriving in Ethiopia, everything seemed somewhat familiar. The traffic, Mum and Dad’s flat, their church, Bingham Academy – none of it was a surprise. Having spent 2½ years following their blog and catching up on Skype weekly, I had a pretty good impression of what I was going to experience visiting Addis Ababa for the first time.
Chris and I now live in a world where change is a way of life. People come; people go. Friends are made; friends depart. The days of missionaries coming to an area to live and work for decades have largely gone – “short term” is king. We have been as responsible for this situation as any – with my trip for two weeks in 2006, our five-month stay in 2007 and now being back for who knows how long, but given our ages it will not be longer that a few years.
Having just had my hair cut and a manicure at the Hilton hotel for the princely sum of £7.94, and consumed an ice cream (it is 25 degrees and sunny), I have found a bench under a tree to begin a blog. Although this hotel has seen better days, it is a pleasant respite from city life and the Bingham compound.
As the climate here is very much like the middle of a British summer it’s easy to forget we’re 9 degrees north of the equator in sub-Saharan Africa. However seeing an iridescent sunbird with a long curved beak sucking the nectar out of the flowers atop a beautiful bluey-purple jacaranda tree just outside our bedroom window as I was dressing yesterday was a vivid reminder of where we actually are.
Personal prayer is a tricky concept for the Y’tesfa Birhan girls who have been taught to be silent during prayer when attending their churches. I wanted to prepare a prayer prompt that they might like to use. The internet is full of ideas based on alliteration and western concepts, but there was nothing that fitted culturally and with which they could really identify. I decided to base something on the national food of injera and wot, so enlisted the assistance of my Amharic teacher Sara.