Sunday, May 4, 2014

X,Y,Z as promised!

X - Xeric 

Yes, I had to look in the dictionary for today. I'm sure many others did too.

Xeric means a dry environment, and Ethiopia definitely has some of those. The northern parts are reminiscent of the American Southwest, complete with rock formations, dry air, limited rain, and lots of Christmas tourists. There was a volunteer there who went six months without water at her site.

Which is why when asked what type of site I wanted during my training, I totally said I want one near water. Huruta might be surrounded by rivers (only one of which doesn't dry up) and not be very far from a series of lakes (Ziway being the closest and man is the fish there tasty), but it does also butt up against the Great Rift Valley. 9 km to the northwest, the town Dera sits in the valley. As does the city Adama/Nazerat (depending on the language).

It's usually crazy hot when I visit Adama, but there's also ice cream, fans, and a hotel with a pool. Not to mention American hamburgers, supermarkets, and wifi in hotel rooms. Not a bad place.

Y- You 

In the States, shouting 'you' at someone usually gets ignored. It's rude, and is pointless if you want to get someone's attention. Names are much better.

Not here. You, or rather anta/anci for male and female is a common form of address. And if there needs to be more a more specific address it can be amended to anta (name) or anci ferengi. People like to shout the last one to me a lot, meaning you foreigner. Again, not very polite in English but in Amharic it's the norm.

It took me forever to teach the local children I only respond to hi, hello, are you fine?, and good morning/afternoon. And my name of course. Correctly pronounced, cuz that's a sure sign I actually know the person and they didn't just pick it up.

Z- Zenab

Zenab means rain, and we're just getting into the rainy season here. There's technically two, a light one that hits in April/May and then we get roughly two to three weeks of dryness until the big rainy season hits and it lasts pretty much through to September. I'm talking lots of rain, with dirt roads becoming muddy rivers and hours of it every day.

In Eteya, where I did my training, whole intersections would be flooded into ponds large enough where if frozen kids could ice skate. Aka bigger than my entire compound.

Huruta's a good place though, its on top of a hill surrounded by three rivers so all the water goes there instead of staying around to creating boot sucking mud, impassible crossroads, and mosquito breeding farms. Two of the rivers, including the waterfall, dry up around Christmas so this is when they start rushing again. Which means locals taking river baths and stretching sheets out to try on rocks.

The rainy season is the coldest season of the year and so a lot of locals refer to it as winter to me in English. Of course, Ethiopia is in the northern hemisphere so technically it's summer, but Ethiopia is a strange, unique country who just does things it's own way.

I'm not complaining.


Post a Comment