This is a much more peaceful entry than the last one. The anger levels have been
returning to normal, and I am at least back in the orange zone, if not the
In the previous week, I met a new ferenj. I didn't pay much attention to them
at first, they were walking along near to where I live with a habesha. I didn't
realise who the habesha was as I basically paid no attention until she asked
me about hotels. I then looked a bit more closely and could recognize the habesha.
I can't remember his name but he is definitely a chancer, and someone that
a new person does not want to know really. I have met him before but try to be
rude enough to make him not want to talk to me but it does not seem to
work. I decided to hang around with them while they were looking at a hotel. My
intention was to see whether a 'rescue' was needed. This turned out to be the
case and I made things just awkward enough for them to leave without being over
The new ferenj in town, Orsa, is only here for a few weeks while she prepares for
a degree on conflicts and their effects on people. After getting rid of another
chancer, we headed up to the Yordanos where we found the American guests and
Dr Mulu. I delivered some chocolate that I had bought for the Americans - a present
that they seemed very happy to receive. I think it would be fair to say that Will
and Kim did not really take to the local food - it was way too spicy.
Orsa had made her way here completely under her own steam - I certainly wouldn't
fancy getting the bus from Addis to here myself. She was now looking for research
assistants, but I suggested that she used a student from MIT instead because
all she really needed was a translator. In the end, the students proved a good source
of information for the degree anyway. Sister Ruth and I had kept their English essays
and from the contents of these Sister Ruth was able to suggest suitable students.
Friday was a farewell for the American guests, and the local circus put on a performance
for them at MIT. I was lucky(?) enough to take part in the performance. They needed
someone to stand on. And it was my shoulders that they used! I was also challenged to do
a simple flexibility exercise by one of the 'bendy' performers. It must have been easy
becuase I managed it, although I did have trouble balancing and almost ended up on my bum.
After the performance, we were taken to BuBu hills, the poshest restaurant in town
for dinner. However, I can't say the food was anything special. What was interesting
was the company. There were some important people from Tigray here, and Orsa was
able to get contacts with nearly all of them. Not bad for one week of work.
This week has been a little less hectic than last week. Our guests meant that I
was kept busy for most of the time, but could not start on the work that I really
needed to do. We were able to take the students out to the factory so that they could
see where they would be networking. I was evenutally given a plan of the building at
the end of the week.
The biggest thing of this week was the Acadmic Commission meeting in which I successfully
argued for the use of Linux over Windows. It would make my life easier by far. And,
despite what MS says, UNIX is still far easier to maintain for a network no matter
how they try to skew things. It took quite a bit of arguing and I wouldn't normally
argue so hard but I did what I would do in the UK. I systematically took apart every
argument against. Normally I would worry about offending people, but this was far too an
important issue. Probably more important for the students than for me.
I also found out this week that a decision about Ato Hagos has been overturned, and he
is now going to be Vice-Dean. That is definitely another step in the right direction.
At this time of year, there are three days of 'ashendi'. During this time, young women
roam the streets in 'gangs'. Normally they are smartly and traditionally dressed and
at least one of them has a drum. They will sing and ask for money. If you get caught
in the middle of one of these gangs as a man - good luck! You are tugged and pulled
in all directions. Normally 1 birr is more than enough to get you out alive, and
I am keeping lots of 1 birr notes and change on me. Of course, a ferenji man attracts
much more attention, and I literally have to stick to the back roads and I am not
going out of the house much.
In fact, as I am writing this I can hear a small group somewhere in the compound, although
they don't really seem to be making much noise. I am being a 'bad' VSO and hiding,
I have switched off the radio and the only noise I am making is from the typing.
It has also just started to rain, so I don't think that there will be many girls around
for a little while.