Deniall



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Sorry for the time that's gone by since the last post; we've been having more internet troubles (nothing new, then). Ethiopia Telecoms continues to be a constant frustration for me.

Another couple of weeks have gone by here; I'm continuing to enjoy my work here. I'm finding the elementary teaching tough, it takes patience solving simple problems (like Caps-Lock is on and taking new lines by pressing enter) 1000 times a day. However, I'm enjoying helping out with the high school kids' problems and continuing to improve the IT facilities at the school.

On Friday 26th evening, we took a trip to the annual celebrations for Meskel, at Meskel square in the city. Approx 500,000 people turn up each year to celebrate the "Finding of the True Cross". The Ethiopian Orthodox believe that years ago, a woman travelled to find the cross that Jesus was crucified on, and she lit a fire so that the smoke would lead her to where it was buried. Thus, every year they celebrate with processions and lighting a fire. Traditionally, when the fire (which is built tall and thin) falls over, the direction in which it falls signifies the way the year ahead will be- Good/bad etc.

Dundee offered to come with us so 3 of us set off with him. The crowds were huge and initially we thought that we would spend the evening looking at the backs of people's heads. Dundee was having none of it, and we followed him while he shoved a way through the crowd straight up to the police holding the barricade. He told them apparently that he was looking after these white forengii, and that we would be much safer past the barriers. They agreed and let us in, up close and personal with the ceremony. A number of other foreigners had also been let in. It meant we were able to experience everything first hand. Dundee said too that if the fire fell to the south that meant all foreigners must be killed so it would give us a better chance to run.

The ceremony was very entertaining, with many, many colours and decorations. When they lit the fire and set off the fireworks, the whole square went mad, with shouting and singing. We got caught up in the celebrations; they grabbed us and put some of their hats and gowns on us. It was great craic, really enjoyable; up close and personal with the Ethiopian celebrations!

Last weekend we headed back to Negash Lodge, this time taking some of the girls from Bingham. We enjoyed another great weekend relaxing in the sun by the pool. We're thinking that visiting Negash may become a regular occurrence.

On Tuesday we had a day off school for the Muslim holiday of Eid. This is a requirement for all Ethiopian schools; Bingham can get in trouble if they don't observe the holiday. The unfortunate thing is that the day of the holiday is only actually decided when they can see the moon in Mecca. So while we were expecting to have the holiday on Wednesday, the actual holiday was on Tuesday. This means that the school has to ring every student on Monday night to inform them not to come to school the next day. Anyway, with that accomplished, we had a nice day off on Tuesday, I went to Bingham for some softball that the other teachers organised, and watched the Champions League match that evening. We're hoping to get Satellite TV at our house soon so we won't have to go to Bingham to watch the football. Excellent!

Sorry again that it's taken so long to get this post up, I'll get another up soon, internet permitting…

Niall

Posted at 6 October, 2008, 5:51pm


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