There was one other event this morning - removing a grey hair. Maybe stress
does cause them.
At twelve, there was a car going into town, taking staff. I needed a break so
I took the car. The car's driver is great. He's called Abraham, and if he
knows English he tries not to use it. This is great for me because most
of the journey he uses Amharic for me (I think he would normally
speak Tigrinya). Slowly I am picking up more words and we can have more of
a conversation. I managed to ask him to pick me up at three (nine in Ethiopian
time) in Amharic.
Just outside the gates of the campus were the two longest camel trains that I
have seen so far. The first totalled 22 camels, and the second had 18. There
were lots of donkeys as well, but I still find the camel exotic. The donkeys
are often heavily loaded. Across their backs will be two quarters of an oil
drum to contain their load, such as rocks.
In town, I wanted to get some electrical stuff. I did not have much luck but
my confidence with Amharic is building. In some shops they spoke no english
so I was able to ask for a bit of paper to draw something. Nothing special
I know but I was at least able to communicate. In one shop I could see
something I wanted (local 2 pin - 2 pin adapters) and asked how much. I
wouldn't normally try bargaining but the way he was smiling said to me that
4birr was far too expensive. I told him this in Amharic and left. Asking a
colleague later, they agreed it was too expensive. 4birr would be about 30p.
You could get it for 50p in England so by my reckoning, you should be able
to get it for about 15p here. 15p sounds petty huh? Not here it isn't.
Shortly after getting back I noticed some hawks flying and hovering over the
campus. Hawks are quite common, or at least around the campus. They seemed
to be looking for prey on the ground, and I wondered whether it had anything
to do with what felt like approaching rain. On the drive back from town I
had noticed the skies darkening. After about quarter of an hour it felt like it
was about to rain, and one patch of sky was alive with hawks. I guess some
of the ground animals know when it is about to rain, and pop up to be lunch
for a hawk.
When the rains came, they started slowly. Once again the rain was warm and it
fell in large drops. The skies rumbled but there was little lightening. Unlike
before the rain became quite heavy and the drains at MIT gurgled noisly. I would
hope with the rain, I might get some shower water. It doesn't seem to work this
way. In fact, thinking back, it was at the time of the last rain that the
shower water stopped.
In town I bought two kilos of bananas (muz) and a pineapple drink. The drink
proudly claims that it is an all natural drink that promotes growth and
metabolism. Looking at the ingredients, I doubt this very much. It is
incredibly sweet. So much so that I have had to water it down a lot despite
the claim that it is also 'ready to drink'. I have also just woofed a packet
of bourbon biscuits. I don't go to town much at the moment so I get my
luxuries when I can.
I spent part of the morning setting up one of the new computers. No matter
what I am doing people want to help. If you know me, I normally treat this
as more of a hinderance, so I am trying to be patient and always except
the help graciously. The help goes as far as carrying my water bottle for
me, even though I have two free hands. I know that people are being
polite. There is quite a bit extra done for 'guests', I wonder how long it