Thursday 25th June – Addis

If you want to see the Irish at their best then travel to Africa. Whether its the missionary orders or the Irish business, education and diplomatic communities, there are a large number of Paddies on this continent working towards a common goal of helping people less fortunate than themselves.
Typical examples I met today. Terri O’Sullivan, a software expert from Dublin who has been in Ethiopia for 4 years working with the Ministry of Education to promote eLearning in the Higher Education sector. Terri and her husband Dawit are moving back to Dublin at the end of July and Terri will be looking for an eLearning job. Philip O’Dwyer who sold his insurance business in Ireland and moved to Addis tearlier this year to help Ethiopian enterprises improve their business practices and to invest in interesting start-ups. Philip is very quickly becoming ‘Mr Addis’ and is a consummate networker (see his profile on LinkedIn). If you want to meet anyone important in Addis whether in the expat or Ethiopian community Philip is the best place to start. Sile Maguire, the Irish Ambassador who typifies the competent, friendly and positive ambassadors that Ireland has posted all around Africa. As always I find the Irish embassies to be a great source of support for Camara in the region, and institutions that we can feel justly proud about. Trisha, an American, contrasts them very favourably to their US counterparts.
The day was capped off with dinner at the Spiritan house in Addis. Hosted by Fathers Paddy, Emmanuel and Philip (2 French Spiritans) and Sister Carol Breslin a Medical Missionaries of Mary who is a qualified doctor and who runs a large HIV/AIDS centre in Addis. Carol is originally from upstate New York but with a surname like that we can claim her for the Irish. We have a very lively and stimulating debate about ‘married’ priests in the Catholic church – yes they do exist and in relatively large numbers!

Press-ups 0, Situps 0 (I wish I had legitimate excuses for these numbers)