Thursday, June 17, 2010

Out and About, Embassy Appointment, Shopping and Cultural Show

Since we had our embassy appointment in the afternoon, today, we spent a little bit of the morning bumming around a bit. Steve needed to shop of a baseball cap because he got sunburned a bit yesterday, so we went to shop for one. There are shoe shine boys everywhere in Addis, which is sort of funny, because it is so dirty and there are not really any paved streets, so your shoes just get dirty right away, but Steve thought it would be fun to have his shoes shined. He had two boys each do one shoe and paid them both the full price...they thought that was really funny. While I was busy taking photos of the shoe shine, some of the local people wanted to have their photo taken. They thought it was really cool to be able to see themselves on the LCD panel. After I took the Muslim woman's photo, I showed it to her and told her she is "very beautiful". She took may arm and kissed it a bunch of cute is that?

Double Team Shoe Shine

After our outing, we went back to the Guest House and played with Amelia a bit, then took photos with some of our new friends. What awesome men and women we had that took care of us, cooked for us, drove us places and helped us bring Amelia home. We are honored to have been able to spend time with them.

Abynish, Amelia, Noah and Lalese

Kitus and Amelia

Handsome men...Kitus and Korsa

Girba, Gina, Amelia, Steve and Kitus

After the Embassy appointment, we stopped at the Post Office shops (open shops across from the post office). This is where you can buy cultural gifts and souveniers and you can barter with them a bit more than other places. Kitus, our driver, was always looking out for us...asking for "last price" or telling the sellers that "is too much". He was a great shopper! He carried all of my bags for me, made sure I got the correct change back and even specifically took me to a place that had a bunch of dress shops because I was looking for some dresses for Amelia and one for myself. I got pretty good at bartering. Usually, I would ask for the price, decide what I was really willing to pay and then I'd tell the seller that "this is my last price". If they said "no", I'd tell them "ok, I'll look at some other shops" and as soon as I would walk away, they'd come back and offer the item for me at the price I wanted. Kitus thought it was really funny. I think American woman are probably much more bold than Ethiopian woman.

Steve told me I owed this nice man a kiss for selling me a musical instrument at "my last price".Look at that happy face! ;)

Later, we went to the Robera coffee shop to buy a couple of packages of Robera to take home. I don't think it will taste nearly as good as when Lalese and Abynish made it, but we'll try!

Finally, we treated Kitus, Korsa and Lalese to dinner and a show at Yod Abyssinia, a local restaurant. The restaurant serves traditional Ethiopian food while presenting a cultural show that features singing, dancing and traditional Ethiopian clothing for the various tribes of Ethiopia. There are over 80 tribes in Ethiopia, each speaking their own dialect and having their own customs, dances and special clothing styles. The show featured barious dances and was AMAZING! Talk about dancing! Incredible talent...and I am surprised no one throws their shoulders or neck out! Very fun!! I posted video snippet for you to see, too.

Kitus, Noah, Lalese, Gina, Steve and Kitus at Yod Abyssinia Restaurant

Hand washing

Yummy traditional Ethiopian meal. Mmmmm!
Coffee Ceremony
Waitress serving coffee
Our dessert, coffee and popcorn.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hospital Visit/ Leprosy Colony & Neighborhood Photos

Kids loved to have their photo taken and to be able
to see it on the LCD display afterwards. They kept
following me so I would take more photos of them!

X-Ray Room/Table

Cast Room

One of the things we were advised to see while we were in Addis was the Leprosy Colony. The director seemed to misunderstand us a bit, so before we actually went to the Leprosy Colony part of the hospital grounds, we got a little tour of part of the hospital itself. This hospital is the most preferred hospital in Addis Ababa. Notice how old all of their equipment is. It really felt like stepping back in time. One of the things they were most proud of was an old exercise bike that was used for physical therapy. The bike looked like the exercise bike my mom had when I was in college (20+years ago). I kept thinking to myself, "I have two practically brand new pieces of exercise equipment in my home...and don't even use them half the time. How wasteful and spoiled I am as an American".

The leprosy compound was amazing! Many of the people who live there have few or no fingers and do intricate weaving and needlework. Items are for sale in the shop, however, the shop was not open the day that we visited. The man who is rope weaving on the ground, had no fingers at all. When our driver, Kitus, asked him if I could take a photo, he said that I could if I promise to bring a copy of it back for him the next time I visit. How sweet it that? I hope I can live up to that promise!!

Leprosy Handicraft Area (Original Hospital Building)

After we got back to the Guest House and Amelia was napping, we took a walk with Girba (the gatekeeper/bodygaurd) to the supermarket. Below are some of the things we saw.

Goats right outside of our guest house. There were about 20 of them grazing all day. This is very typical all over the city. Not quite sure how each farmer knows which animals are his, but somehow they must be marked...and how they keep them all together and don't get hit by traffic is beyond me. Risky farming!

More animals in the streets.

The ice cream truck/shipment was dropped off while we were at the supermarket. Must have known that there were Fidlin boys shopping.

A taste of home....mmmmm!

Shelves in the supermarket. Lots of familiar things and some not so familiar.

Store workers.

Primary School gate...right around the block from us.

Street behind our guest house. Typical neighborhood.
Matress store...The Sleep Shop??
Tire store (just pull over and they will fill your tire or put a new one on).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Church of the Holy Trinity and Live Lion Zoo

Today, our driver, Kitus, took us and the director of Better Futures (ET) to The Church of the Holy Trinity. The church was founded by Emperor Menelik II soon after he moved his imperial capital from Mt. Entoto to Addis Ababa. The original church, built of wood with intricate carvings, was constructed with the help of artists from India. Located close to the Imperial Palace, it was frequently visited by the royal family.

The church was made the burial ground for those who fought against the Italians both inside the country and in exile. No other persons, other than high clergy, are allowed to be buried on the grounds of the Cathedral itself (although there are a public cemetery and a public masoleum behind it). Emperor Haile Selassie built a mausoleum for his family in the crypt under the Cathedral, and the Imperial family continue to use it as their tomb.

Trinity Cathedral has been the site of many great church and state ceremonies, including the enthronements of the Patriarchs of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the consecration of all Archbishops and Bishops.

Noah and I with our driver, and friend, Kitus.

After the tour of the church, we went to the Live Lion Zoo. Wow! The Animal Rights people and OSHA would have a field day there!! We could literally get close enough to touch the lions. There was a little amusement park next door as well as a coffee/soda shop. After our visit, we treated Kitus and the director to a cold Pepsi.

We arrived back at the Guest House and were greeted by a table of traditional Ethiopian food; Injeera and Wat, followed by an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony. M-m-m-m!!
The roll that looks like a napkin in the top left corner is injeera bread, which is a sour dough, spongy type of bread. The bowls, from left to right are Chicken Stew (Doro Wat), another Stew (lamb?), lentils and Tibs (sauteed vegetables). To eat, you tear off a piece of bread and scoop up food with it, to eat it. Traditionally, no utensils are used.