The content of this blog is mine and mine alone and does not reflect any position of the U.S. Peace Corps or Government

Hello from Ethiopia!

It has been very, very difficult at site to access Wi-Fi on my laptop so my D.C. friend is posting this short message and some pictures on the blog.

I am in the Amhara region near a beautiful lake.

Everyone has been wonderful to me and it is great to live in a place where I see camels, monkeys and beautiful birds often.

The two months here have been good but at times very challenging.  Just the adjustment to living without modern appliances has taken weeks and I continue to try to figure out ways to streamline my process for chores that take very little time at home.

I love to walk to the school and talk with the wonderful teachers there as well as the children who are very bright and friendly. Kids stop by my house and I show them my maps of the world and the U.S.A. We work on language together, and they play with my ukulele and binoculars.  

I am working on a small vegetable garden (with tomatoes, lettuce, onions, carrot, cabbage, swiss chard and sweet potatoes) at the Farmer Training Center as well as building a chicken coop with a local carpenter to keep my own chickens. We will demonstrate the benefits of chicken coops with some free ranging for them in the afternoon.  About 200 chickens will be distributed this month so it is a good time to encourage coops because of the many benefits relating to healthier chickens, better eggs for the family and for sale, and better sanitation at the homestead. I hope to do some cooking demos at the Farmer Training Center featuring eggs and vegetables, two ingredients whose nutrients are often lacking in the diet here. Beekeeping projects are in process, but resources are hard to come by and I am still hesitant about bee-keeping at night on farms with small children. Another PCV who focuses on beekeeping may come visit and work with me which will be fun.

Overall, being here is a life-changing experience and I am grateful for the opportunity.  I do have plenty of days where I long to be home on a comfy sofa snuggling with my dog and eating ice cream.  I miss my loved ones in America very much and enjoy the treats they send me and the funny texts about life in general as well as huge support when I have a hard day.

Today was pretty neat.  I worked on weeding a corn crop with my landlord friends in a gorgeous pastoral setting overlooking the lake.  Pix posted. Then I made six of us peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwiches on white rolls for lunch.  I explained the huge significance of this food in America, especially for kids, and how we like to eat PBJs with big glasses of cold milk and potato chips. They seemed reasonably impressed.  A while back, I shared a bag of double stuffed Oreo cookies with my compound from a fabulous care package I’d just received. They loved them, gobbling up the entire package in 20 minutes flat! That was fine but I hope to work with them next time on the finer art of taking apart the Oreo cookie slowly and the importance of nibbling on your favorite parts as well as dunking them in milk.  

I was able to watch a televised forum a few days ago with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister speaking in Amharic, and though I did not understand all of it, I was very proud when I heard him use the term “American values.”  Though I struggle with the challenges of my work here, I marvel at the beautiful decision made over 50 years ago to undertake this ongoing global effort to promote world peace and friendship.  

While sharing PBJs and Oreo cookies is only a very small part of my service here, it sure felt good to enjoy a taste of home with my new friends and family in Ethiopia.

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