dinsdag 7 juli 2015

A sad day for the Regional Education Bureau (RIP Kassahun)

July 7, 2015
Today I was planning to finish some work, before I go to Addis tomorrow for a team building day and for A Financing for Development Conference from July 13-16.
Sadly, a co-worker has died in a car accident yesterday and many people attend the funeral in Aysaita. It is the second co-worker that has died since I am here. Both were drivers of the bureau. The driver today died in a car crash. Traffic here is pretty dangerous and accidents happen all the time. I feel sad for him and his family, but mourning in Afar is not common practice. That is strange for me too.
I hope in the afternoon the persons I need, will return, but for now I make the best of it and write a new blog. This will be the last before I visit Europe next month.

So what have I been up to since May?
Just yesterday at 5 o'clock
I have been in Addis twice, once during the Elections. I stayed with my friend Saskia and once for a Project Review Meeting with almost all of the stakeholders in the project we are working in.
Outside bed
In Semera everything is very basic and with the harsh weather conditions, the dryness and the lack of good restaurants so it was nice to be away for a while. I still have no AC in the house and do not sleep that well at night.

Saskia, Rani, Mother-in-law and Selam
When I came to Saskia’s home the first time I came to Addis, she was preparing a big party, for her and Rani’s Birthday. She did not tell me there was a party, so you could say I came at the right time. The party was very good, with lots of delicious foods and drinks and everybody had a fantastic time

After the party was over, it became quiet in the house again and I was feeling tired and sleeping a lot for a few days. The relative coldness (20-25 degrees Celsius) in Addis was very enjoyable and I had not realise the weather had worn me out that much.

I also decided to spend a little more money than I normally do and treated myself to a few luxurious things. So I got a massage, a haircut and a mani- and pedicure.
Result of the Manicure and haircut

Around Hilton Hotel Addis

On the first of June I returned to Semera and was interviewed by Senior High School students about my life and work in Semera and how it is to live in a Muslim culture. That was very nice to do and for once Ethio Telecom was working properly, so without an interruption we spoke for about half an hour. Later the teacher and my friend Aad put a short film on Facebook. A nice impression can be found on the link below. 

 The work within the REB has slowed down somewhat. That has to do with the heat, the ending of the school year and now the Ramadan. The most important things I have done since the beginning of May were writing a few reports and letters. At the end of June, I wrote a proposal for developing the process Knowledge Management within the REB. The first step in this process is to find a means to share the Information of the Bureau, both internal as external. Practical and financial reasons have made us decide that we will start with developing a Website first.
Another important and milestone since my last blog was being part of the Project Review Meeting which took place in Addis in June. All the important stakeholders and volunteers attended. On the first day the volunteers presented their accomplishments of the first 10 months of their project. On the second day of the meeting the future plans were discussed and agreed upon.

Tatek VSO-E
Rahel VSO-E Acting-Country Director

Tesfay VSO-E

Tesfay VSO-E

Mohamed OudaVice Head  AREB 

Mohamed Ahimye Planning Manager AREB

Emon Komakec
Patricia Koops

Margaret Rosamond

Titi Sinayangsin
Benishagul Gumuz representative

Benishangul  Gumuz representative

Group Picture of Participants Review Meeting
After the meeting I spend another 2 days in Addis. Some of the volunteers are leaving Ethiopia (and by now have left), so we had some delicious dinners and went out for drinks. Jon and I discovered by change a French restaurant called Mandoline (close to Axum in Hayahulet). The food there is absolutely great, it cost you a few birr, but sometimes you just have to. If you’re ever find yourself in Addis, you should give it a try.
The day before I went back to Semera was dominated by food as well. Well I lost about 7-9 kilos since my coming to Ethiopia, so I can indulge in the occasional binge. I started with breakfast with Roland, Saskia en Rani just next to Mul Muls bakery. Good omelette with cheese and great coffees.  Around twelve I went with Blen and Selam to a Kitfo house (Yohannes Kitfo Bet in Hayahulet), where I ate the Cabbage Kitfo and tried a little bit of the meat Kitfo (although I do normally eat no meat). The taste is great and the cheeses and breads that go with it are a pleasure in the mouth. In the evening, Jon, Ally, Judy, Margaret, Peter (ex-VSO) and me went to Sangam (on Bole Road), the oldest Indian restaurant in Addis. Delicious food and also a must eat.
Jon, Patricia and Titi at Mandoline

Mandoline parking lot

Mandoline garden

Mandoline garden

For the rest of the time, when I am in Semera, I hang out with friends, drinking an occasional beer, swim and soon I hope to get my bike, so that I can cycle around Semera. I have met some new friends like Havana, Monica and Chris. Unfortunately Chris assignment ended last week so I met him and after two weeks he’s already out of the country, Havana is on R&R and Monica is back in Germany. So not a lot of direct contact with them at the moment, but those days will come again. I went to three parties, 2 farewell parties and a graduation party, where I had heaps of fun and was dancing a lot.

Aly Ahmed (miss you)


Tikist & Ertoban

Havana & Chris (farewell party)

Dancing Patricia
Dancing Chris and Kurabachew
Chris in Afar Skirt and Kurabachew 
 Some last remarks (remarkable things)

* Sleeping out. Because of the heat lots of people sleep on a bed outside the house. Since 2 weeks I do the same, as sleeping inside with only a fan is killingly hot.
* Chairs 1: The chairs at work, in restaurant are in bad shape. The Health & Safety service in my country would have filed a complaint, but nobody here seems to mind.  
* Chair 2: The plastic to protect the chairs during transport is never taking off
* Chairs 3: Offices by managers do not have normal chairs, but sofas. The higher the manager, the more luxurious the sofa.
* AC’s: In most offices of the higher management you’ll find AC’s. Another sign of status, although they recently started with placing AC’s in more offices at the AREB.
Solomon and friends at Solomons Graduation
* When I am in a car and sit in the middle and want to get out, the man prefer me to climb over them rather than they get out to let me out. I REFUSE THOUGH! But you see the lots of women do it here without protest.
* In Afar Bajaj (Tuc-Tuc) and line-taxis are always overcrowded. Seems there’s always room for one more. This is actually forbidden and you will not see this practise in Addis or Hawassa.
Bye for now, I have East on my mind.

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