Leaving Ethiopia


Leaving Ethiopia, after the second week (first was in August) of working with writers associated with the Canadian sponsored Burt Award for Young Adult Literature, thinking of …

The friendship and kindness and patience and solicitude of the CODE-Ethiopia crew, especially Tesfae, Nema, and Yalow. (That’s Nema and Yalow with me in the Piazza district of Addis Ababa.)

Some lively – even contentious! – writing and editing workshop discussions (always a good sign that things are going well).

The shabby but still charming old Ghion Hotel in Addis Ababa, and its lovely, exotic, faded glory, falling-into-neglect grounds, through which I wandered for hours.

And someone asks – Did you have a good time?

Wrong question.

I had an overwhelming, anxiety-inducing, bewildering, and daunting time.

And an exciting, stimulating, memorable, and life-altering time.

‘Good time’ just doesn’t cut it.

‘Life altering’ above all because, just as at the end of a memorable book, I’m aware that I’ll never see everyday life in quite the same way again.

And I’d do it again in a heartbeat.


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