Thursday, February 26, 2009

In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Hey everyone, just a quick note to say I made it about 3 hours ago to Addis, got my visa, made it through customs, picked up my bag, changed money, found the driver that was supposed to pick us up, got a ride to the hotel, and already had a strategy meeting with one of our Oxfam partners over dinner (which I can't wait to show you.... you guys know how I like to take pictures of my food!)  It's 1am here right now, and Marjorie (the Oxfam partner that I'll be traveling with almost exclusively over the next two weeks told me at dinner that the two of us have 3 meetings lined up for tomorrow - the first one at 9am across town, so she's meeting me at 7:30.  Jetlag, shmetlag.  But really, I'm looking forward to getting right down to business, and trying out my new suit! (Thanks Sarah!)
The airport, the roads, the cars, the restaurants, etc are actually all pretty nice.  I'm impressed so far with Ethiopia.  There was even a flat screen plasma tv mounted on the wall of the little restaurant at dinner.  But I have had my first heartbreak already - the road from the airport to the hotel (which is mid-range Africa all the way, stained offwhite bed, blank walls, and flip flops for the bathroom) was lined with people sleeping on the sidewalk, mostly women it looked like.  And also there were 4 or 5 suspiciously well-dressed women leaning by lightposts on our walk to the restaurant.  It's hard knowing that these things exist here every day - even yesterday, last week, and last year - when my thoughts are safely elsewhere and I'm riding laps on my bike around Prospect Park at home.  I'm sure I'll have more similar stories as my visit progresses.
For now, I'm gonna head to bed.  The internet here is old-school dial up - I even heard the modem, waited for the "verifying username and password" message, and connected at 28.8kbps.  So I don't know how soon pictures will come, but I'll try to do that as soon as possible.
Good night for now from Ethiopia.


Les said...

Sure good to hear from you and the news that you made it safe and sound. I am very proud of you Eric! I love you! Dad

Jenn said...

So great to see you made it and already making an impact just 3 hours after landing! Can't wait to see photos and hear stories!

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