So the first week ended up quite well. We taught 60 people in total the basics of a word processing, spreadsheet and presentation package. They were from all walks of life, some students, teachers acountants, secretaries, etc. On friday we celebrated with a few St. George beers and had a sleep in saturday morning. It rained all friday night and saturday morning. We had an excursion to some hot springs saturday afternoon called suduro. 6 of us went into the unknown! The drive was beautiful and our first opportunity to see the countryside properly! Lovely mountains, valleys etc all aound and people waving at us every town we passed through. Our driver asked us at one stage if we wanted to get some special soap for the springs which we were like no! My impression of hot springs is from australia! Very different in ethiopia!Their version is basically like a very big bath lots of roasting water. Male and females separate and go to different sides of the ‘hot spring’. So we went down with no soap and got stared at quite a lot. A little girl asked us if we had children, all of us replied no and we got more stares then if we were married and got more of the same look! The children were very friendly but no one offered us shampoo or the like so we’ll have to remember to bring our own the next time.

After a while there we moved to the ‘hot spring pool’. It was an impressive 50 meters in length, about 4 metres deep, with 2 diving boards and heated from he ground up. It was fabulous! The high altitude is still getting to us so we didn’t manage very many laps!!!!! We decided to get some very dodgey ice cream afterwards – not a good idea – cue quite a lot of motilium tablets. When we had gotten back to our accommodation some people that stayed behind had managed to find a shop the makes cake – so a very happy addition to our diet for a nice Saturday treat!

It was lovely to get away form the hustle and bustle of the town for the afternoon. The next day, 6.30 in the morning we headed for awash national park, a 3 hour bus journey east of Adama. We stopped for breakfast in a ‘roadside cafe’! Choice of food was roast chicken, goat or sheep!

We chose some roast chicken and sheep. And were we in for a surprise. Out can a big platter of food which we shared form the same tray. And on it to our utter amazement were some roast potatoes! Our first time to have potatoes (apart from chips which don’t count as potatoes!!) since we left Ireland.They were beautiful as was the meat. It melted in your mouth it was that tender. Not my first choice for breakfast but a very good one at that!

We stopped to see some camels along the way, and also a dormant volcano, where the road was surrounded either side by huge volumes of water! They showed us a new railway line that is being built from south of Adama to meet with Addis Ababa. And they were working on a Sunday. We got to the national park and stopped at the museum firstly. Lots of skulls and tiger skins on the wall etc. There was also a Lion is a cage which didn’t go down well with us first but then we read some information saying that he had been rescued from a very horrible background. And he was being kept in a cage until he was well enough to return to the wild. His mane had started growing back. Hopefully he will return soon.

So on we went down some dirt track and stopped at a ‘waterfall’. It was like a scene from tim Burton’s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Brown and lots of it. A few pics later on we went and saw some cows and sheep!!! It was like being at home in a bigger field!Some of the cows were pretty thin but not as thin as ones I have seen in Australia. Lots of goats and then to our utter amazement – a family of baboons!!!! We were delighted – it only takes something small at the minute!!! We stopped for some lunch at a lodge that had the most fantastic view. It was on on a ledge overlooking part of the rift valley. Fabulous. Some sish kebab, rice and more potatoes (we were being spoilt) later we were on our merry way and saw some more cows, goats and llamas and some other things with big horns (name ?!). We had a lovely journey back to Adama and an early night followed.

Teaching groups were changed for the Monday and most people got to change to a different school. This week we get a lift to our school and we are teaching another 20ish students, teachers, bankers, government officials and some students. Their level of English is quite poor this week so it has been difficult to communicate. Many files etc have been deleted by accident! And as for trying to save to a specific place – forget about it!!! But by Thursday they have managed to make a power point presentation on Ireland – including a picture of the tombs at Carrowmore which is on the version of Wikipedia on the computers! They also made a spreadsheet about Shopping and what they would buy in the market. So I think we did quite well for what we had to start with.

We dicided as a group that seeing as we managed to get potatoes in 2 very obscure places at the weekend we would ask the motels chef it he could do some potato and veg for us! And were we glad that we did. Beautifully cooked with rosemary and garlic! We were on to a winner. My request however for corn was turned down, which we could not believe seeing as all of the crops around Adama are corn or maize. corn grows twice as quick in the climate here and there is a quick turn around so that is what they farm.

Lost in translation last night : We fancied some garlic bread an wrote instructions with our order on how to make it (we were not being cheeky – they have told us that they will cook us what ever we want it we tell them how) so out came the dinner and then a plate and on the plate were 5/6 cloves of garlic, a lump of butter and some bread! So we mashed up the garlic with the butter spread it on the bread and told them how to cook it in the oven. So we had some very impressive Garlic bread last night. The chef tasted it but did not like it He though we were mad in the head!

We have a 4 day week this week and boy do we need it. The heat can be stifling and teaching 6 hours a day is tiring. So we are heading to Awassa tomorrow to meet the other Camara Ethiopia volunteers which will be good. Awassa is safer to to walk around. We are going to visit a lake on the way and then to see some hippos!

Next week we change groups again and I go back to the school that I started in. Which is good. I think that is it fr now. There were a few more lost in translations but I can’t remember them at the moment. I also got to traveling the front of a Tuk Tuk which I have never done before! It was great.

Chat to you all next week

Love

Aoife