Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Today marks the half way point of my Peace Corps Service in Ethiopia. I've been in country over a year, but not quite 11 months in Huruta.

It's been an interesting time, for sure. I've been involved in two summer camps for girls, trained about 15 teachers in methodology and English, as well as worked with a U-17 girls soccer team and witnessed all active members of my student English club improve in their writing. And I have more ideas for next year.

Living here hasn't been a walk in the park. I distinctly remembering it taking 3 months before I was comfortable in my university town and only about one before I was comfortable in Wellington. But I only recently started thinking of Huruta, and thus Ethiopia, as home.

I'm chalking that up as the time it took to integrate with the town. I'll never do it fully, I stick out way too much, but I feel safe and know the best cafes and people call be by name on the street instead of the generic 'you' or 'sister' though I still get that.

I remember driving home once, or rather my mom was driving and I was lounging in the seat next to hear, and she mentioned how much I had changed while being away at college. I thought that was so silly, because mentally I felt (and still feel) like I'm 16. Though my conversation topics have shifted. I know that I'm learning a lot here, flexibility and program management and patience, but I still feel me.

Still, fair warning to friends and family back home I now:

  • Drink coffee. I've had as many as six cups in a day and have no problem going to bed after three of them post dinner. And no, decaf does not exist here.
  • Seem to have dropped the inability to read in cars. I pull out my kindle or magazines all the time.
  • Am really, really good at ignoring people. Habasha have commented on how they have called me on the street and I don't respond, but really, it's how I cope with the harassment the rest of the town gives me. 
  • Purposefully look for veggies in the market. I now regularly eat tomatoes and onions, and even make my own guacamole.
  • Prefer to sleep 9 hours every night. And rarely am able to sleep in past 7 am.
  • Am much more lazy. I do dishes maybe every 5 days. And I usually only do laundry when I realize I don't have any more clean pants.
  • Am also more literal, because it makes me happy to mess with people's brains that way here.
  • Have a new interest in gardening, maybe because I fail at it here and hope it will go better in the States.
  • Am amazed by porcelain toilets and hot showers and utilize them when ever possible. I also similarly eat cheese and ice cream and chocolate and fish and a whole load of other food when it's available because it doesn't exist in Huruta.  I can see myself gaining weight when I first go back.
  • Have no problems taking an hour bus ride down a dirt road for free wi-fi access.
  • Am very used to near car accidents on the road. I don't even look out the window to know when to brace anymore.

These may or may not effect our relationship upon my return. You have been warned.


Annalisa Crawford said...

Half-way already. I remember when you announced you were going. I wish I could read in the car - I used to be able to, and then lost the ability!

Anonymous said...

Half way, woohoo! That went by fast (from the outside) No doubt you've grown as a person, amazed that you drink coffee now, that means we can now drink coffee together! <3

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