Return to Ethiopia

Return to Ethiopia

Returning to Ethiopia (that’s Saint John-Toronto-Frankfurt-Khartoum-Addis Ababa) on behalf of CODE (Canadian Organisation for Development through Education) …

First trip (last August) was to serve on the jury for the Burt Award for Young Adult Literature and to do a couple of workshops on writing, editing, and book design. This trip is to conduct more workshops on writing and editing, in partnership with teachers from Addis Ababa University.

So I’m looking forward to renewing acquaintance with friends and colleagues from the first visit, and to meeting new friends and colleagues, and to staying again at the elegant old Ghion Hotel, and wandering its lovely, faded glory grounds (not that there’ll be much time for wandering), and to seeing another time of year in Ethiopia (last time was rainy season, now it’s summer, 30 degrees the other day, in contrast with the wind chill temperature of 10 below here), and to experiencing the contrasts that assailed me first time. (Photographers see contrasts everywhere – they can’t help it – but they seemed to be everywhere I looked in Ethiopia.)

Here’s a few ‘snapshots’ of contrasts left over from the last visit:

A woman in traditional dress with a cell phone to her ear.

A tiny, corrugated iron sided, awning covered shop with a huge Nokkia sign advertising latest electronic gear.

Satellite dishes among a maze of little, corrugated iron homes.

That forest of little homes sandwiched between the new Hilton and Sheraton.

A blue, three-wheeled mini taxi (one of hundreds) sporting a Manchester United decal.

Gorgeous children begging.

Teenage girls in traditional dress walking beside friends in music video fashion.

A woman begging on the median of a city four lane as she cradles a beautiful two or three year old child.

Just a trickle of cold water in my room at the Rosemary Hotel in Debra Zeit – but internet access!

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