May 20, 2018

After a week of no contact from Caitlin, I don’t necessarily start to worry, but I find myself thinking about her more frequently. I wonder what she is doing, is she okay? Is she someplace she can call? Besides a short email on Mother’s Day it has been more than 10 days since I last talked to her. She called today which was a great relief. She said she spent the day in a neighboring village visiting an educational volunteer from G17. Educational volunteers are located in villages with a high school (so they can teach) so it is a bigger village and has a better market. She traveled by bus to her friend’s village. She said it is crazy the way they pack the buses and dump trucks with people and their goods and that everyone is literally on top of each other. Travel still seems pretty crazy to me and I have told Cait I worry about her taking random rides on trucks or walking places, but she assures me she is safe and takes precautions. She does not walk on her own now which is good. I know she is totally capable and smart and wouldn’t do anything that is dangerous, but I still pray for continued safety and protection. I know right about here Caitlin would be rolling her eyes…..but I can’t help it, I am still her mother.

Caitlin met two of the families she will be working with this week which is exciting. She spent a day with each family. She said it was exhausting. I think the language barrier is pretty challenging. She said she does not always understand what they are saying and that they may start to talk among themselves. She described something that I thought was pretty funny and that is that, in their culture, if someone isn’t talking they think they are bored so after about every 10 minutes of conversing, and if Caitlin is not participating, they will turn to her and say, “Caitlin, play” or “Caitlin, talk” and she will say, “okay” or something similar, and then they continue on with the conversation. Even without a language barrier, Caitlin can be pretty quiet so I am sure this is  awkward for her. She said that she has even been sitting on a bus next to a stranger, and they turn to her and say, “play” or “talk”, in an attempt for conversation.

Caitlin will be traveling to Jimma next weekend to visit some other PCVs. Just as we are celebrating Memorial Day next weekend, Ethiopia celebrates Derg Downfall day which is on May 28th. This is a celebration of independence in Ethiopia as they commemorate the removal of the Dergue Regime that reigned from 1974 to 1991. A civil war raged during that time and the Derg government imprisoned and executed thousands of people they perceived as their opposition. She said that no one wants to talk about that time as it was so terrible. Which I can understand and it really was not all that long ago.

May 28th is another great day – Caitlin’s birthday!

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