Ethiopia and Back (Part II)

It has been so long since my last post and I am just now finding the time to finish the story of our adventure…..But by dragging it out, it lets me continue to appreciate the time we spent with Caitlin as I relive the memories again as I write this. At the end of my last blog, we had finished our travel from Jimma to Metu. I will repeat again how difficult travel is in Ethiopia. Not just the disrepair of the roads, the need to avoid live stock and random sink holes, but the very unpredictable nature of actual departure. I would guess that we waited no less than 90 minutes each time we got on a bus to travel somewhere. Buses/mini vans, do not leave until they are full to capacity.

Metu seems to be a spot Caitlin and other volunteers meet and enjoy spending time together. We were able to meet a number of her friends in Metu. I am so proud of all of these young people and their wiliness to commit more than 2 years to service in the Peace Corps.

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We also visited the post office where she receives her boxes!! We were excited to be on the receiving end of one of our boxes, and although we visited twice, we had no such luck. The day after we left, though, Caitlin was traveling back home and she stopped again at the post office and got Box #10, I think. Here’s the post office:

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Before heading to Cait’s we also took a trip to the market to get a few supplies. Shopping in Ethiopia is much different than what we experience for shopping in the US.

Traveling to Caitlin’s required a trip in a mini bus and then we had to take a KitKit – which is basically a large bus, like a greyhound bus, that is literally packed to the gills with people. When we made it to her house, another volunteer, Mathew, met us there and joined us for lunch with Caitlin’s landlord. Here’s a picture of Caitlin and Mathew in front of her house.

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Caitlin’s lives in a single room connected to her landlord. She keeps it neat and tidy and she has a place for her bedroom and clothes, her ‘pantry’ and her ‘kitchen’. She cooks on a single burner stove and has no electricity or running water. Very little of her life is easy. Here are a couple pictures of her home. Here is a picture inside her house, one from the front and one from the side.

When you walk down the path here, you go to the back of the house where the landlord keeps his cows at night and you also find the outhouse. Caitlin gets her water from a local well. It is a about a 10 minute walk and definitely reminds you of the privilege of we have of water available anytime we want it.

We were able to visit with one of the families Caitlin works with and we spent the day with them. It was an amazing experience. They fed us – two meals – and showed us around their gardens. Here is Caitlin with Desse and Faleqoimg_3511.jpg

Desse showed us his gardens where they grow coffee, bananas, papaya and avocado. He also showed us his watering system that he uses for his plants.

We were able to spend time in the kitchen with Faleqo as she cooked. This is a small hut set away from the main house where the family does their cooking. We were able to watch Faleqo as she made the injera for our second meal.

Injera is a staple in Ethiopia and most meals are served on a plate of injera. They do not use silverware and the injera is used as an addition to the meal but also as the eating utensil.

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Heres our meal with squash, potatoes and greens served on the injera. The farming center which is owned by the Peace corps is near Desse and Faleqo’s home and we took a little time to walk to the gardens and check out the sweet potato plants Caitlin planted and we were there as she picked her first sweet potatoes!

After our two day visit at Caitlin’s home, we started our long journey back to Addis. Visiting Caitlin and getting to experience all the sights of Ethiopia was amazing. I am so proud of what she has accomplished and her service in the Peace Corps.

 

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