Sunday, August 26, 2012

I'm Now an Offical PCV and Have Moved to Site

I've been in Huruta for a week now, and I gotta say this is the slowest move-in ever.
Whenever I moved into someplace in college, there was already furniture waiting for me so I could start putting things away. Even if I didn't have the shelf space for everything quite yet, there was a dresser and a bed. And I would get settled a little, go out and buy what I needed (a trash can, a rug, metal shelves) that day. Maybe food too, or that was for the second.
Moving in Ethiopia is nothing like that. I blame the lack of large stores.
First off, my landlord didn't expect me. He though I wasn't coming for another week (though he talked to my host mom two days prior and one of my counterparts knew my arrival date, figured someone would have told him) and as such my suite of rooms wasn't ready. Can you imagine? Going to move into an apartment and realizing the previous tenet is still living there? I totally expected to have to spend a night with one of the host families.
Instead, my landlords piled my stuff in a corner and emptied out the suite. It was quite entertaining to be sure, the furniture was huge and barely fit in the doorways. There's at least two new holes in the walls. I have no idea how they fit a wardrobe and wooden bed into that other, narrower room. And, as the door way between my apartment area and the living room didn't have a door as promised, they moved the china cabinet to block it. Which in turn led to moving the TV, which led to moving the antennae. Moving the antennae involved digging up the dead tree is was attacked to and replanting it.
I should have taken pictures, but I was too busy being entertained.
It took awhile, and when I finally went out to buy a mattress, I was dismayed to find the shop closed. I prepared myself for a night on my yoga mat, when my counterpart saw the owner and had him open up so I could buy one.
A week later, and my mattress is still the only thing I've really bought. While I have too rooms, only one has a thin plastic tile cover for the cement floor and so I'm kinda crowded in there at the moment. Thus, I have no room to cook (nor a stove to do so with yet). The tile/plastic store is something I want to go to with a habasha, to make sure I get a fair price, but my landlord is usually busy with guests. And while Wednesday was market day and I was looking forward to maybe getting bowls and buckets and spoons, it rained all day.
When it rains here, everything stops. People don't even go to work.
I have ordered a dresser, more pricey than I thought, but I figure it'd be more functional than a bookcase because I could use the top as a vanity or end table. And I have been living out of my suitcases since I arrived in country, I'm ready to empty them.
Been trying to order a bed, but the quotes aren't consistent, even at the same vender. That's the problem with ordering custom furniture (pretty much my only option here), prices depend on the design, who's doing the bargaining, and who'd be doing the work.
All in all, building my home is going...very slowly.
But I've got two years.
I've been spending most of my time reading or playing cards with my landlords. They only know one game so I'm trying to teach them more. There's a bit of trouble understanding B.S., so I think I'll refrain from teaching them cribbage or hearts. For now.
They're good people, and like my host family he's away from home more often than not. No kids yet, they're a newlywed couple (which made me feel doubly bad when I realized my suite of rooms was the master suite and I was kicking them out), and I think she's lonely. Even though ideally I'll be cooking my own meals, she's been feeding me a lot, which I'm very grateful for as, as I mentioned before, I don't quite have the instruments to cook yet.
I think we'll get along well, which will help make these next two years fly by. And once my oven in plugged in and I have a mixing bowl, I'll have to make cookies to share.
Huruta as a town, like I mentioned in a previous post, is lovely. Despite all the rain, I'm surprised by the lack of mud. There were more squishy roads in Eteya. And the other day I finally saw the waterfall and rivers. It's so beautiful, a mini green park. People like to float down either of the rivers for a little while, and I can see myself during the dry season sitting on a rock with a book in my hand while my feet dangle in the water.
The only problem are the hyena caves. They're right above the road that follows the river, and I certainly hope they're deep. My guide didn't seem to be worried though, and the road is fairly popular, so I guess hyenas sleep deeply. I really don't want to see one from up close.
I'll have to post pictures eventually, but the Internet connection here is really hit and miss and sometimes I have to post an article in blogger three times before it saves. Just to let you know I'm trying.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Things I learned when reading the PC Ethiopian Handbook

  1. I want to be on PAC, an committee that analysis the Peace Corps program in country.
  2. I'm not a PC employee, but rather an employee of the Ethiopian government. Specifically the Ministry of Magic, ahem, Ministry of Education. PC just supports me financially and legally in cases where I'm a victim of a physical crime. Thus, I do not have diplomatic immunity. I really want to get a copy of all Ethiopian laws now, as I have to follow all of them in addition to US laws while here.
  3. I'm not allowed to write an article about my Peace Corps experience and sell it to a magazine until I COS.
  4. I can be released from service if my community thinks I have a drug problem, even if I've never done drugs. Image is really important here. Maybe it wasn't a good thing I left my make-up in the States.....
  5. I should avoid talking about host country politics.
  6. I am not allowed a pet dog or cat. (or monkey or lion)
  7. I can go to the states for vacation and while there have my teeth checked, and have PC foot the bill.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Just a quick heads up, I'm in Addis for a dentist appointment. I chipped my tooth, and with it being common to find rocks and/or small bones in your food, it's no wonder. I always freak out though when I bit a rock of salt. Things crumble in your mouth and your first instinct is to swallow and make sure your teeth are ok. It makes me nervous every time. What also has me in a tizzy is my LPI next week, a test to gage my proficiency in Amharic. We've gone through the book in my Amharic classes, and we've covered all the topics grammatically and vocab wise I think I did in all four years of high school Spanish. We'll see how I do. Peace Corps requires us to be Novice-High, but I'm hoping for Novice-Expert, just to have a goal here. I'm also nervous about our swearing in ceremony next Friday. It'll be televised. Totally thought it would be small thing at the embassy, but apparently it'll be pretty huge.