Salambo discovering Ethiopia
For the fourth time now, I am back in Addis after a long summer break in Europe. This time, my first week here was quite eventful: it started with a three days water shortage, during which we had to use buckets filled with cold water for all our domestic needs. Luckily enough, water was still trickling from the small tap in our garden, but the pressure was not sufficient to supply the house. So we had to fill up buckets from that tap: one for washing up the dishes in the kitchen and another one, slightly larger one to wash ourselves in the bathroom, something we did very parcimoniously partly to save water and partly because it was so freezing cold, particularly during the wet rainy season Addis is so famous for! As I mentioned then, it was our indirect way to take up the challenge of the ASL freezing water bucket…In any case, we do learn to appreciate the luxury of having hot water as well as running water…As soon as the water shortage which came from a leak in one of the mains, was fixed, we had a flood in our bedroom due to a leakage from the bath. I noticed it in the early afternoon when there was already two centimetres of water in the room and it was starting to spill over into the corridor as well as the other bedrooms. The maid who had been working all morning in the house noticed nothing! So there we were, pushing water out with brushes through our bedroom balcony down into the garden. There was so much of it that it looked like a waterfall!
Once that incident was over, it took me about two days to queue up at the telecom office to reactivate my internet account which went dormant during the summer. My timing was too bad: Ethio-telecom the national and sole operator was offering a new 3G promotion so the line was at least an hour long in every single telecom retail outlet. After three years here, my patience threshold has increased drastically so I wasn’t bothered, I just turned back and returned a few days later. I now have all the internet devices I need except that they still don’t function half of the time. Never mind, I am following my new motto: Urgence de ralentir, following a programme I wasn’t able to watch on Arte (no download available in Ethiopia from this European TV channel!).
And that’s not all, as I am writing I am experiencing my fifth power cut in one week but that’s not a problem, we have a generator able to power a couple of light bulbs. We do need to unplug all the boilers, kettle, fridge, toaster and so on to be able to start it up! So life is good now: we have water and electricity….and better even, tonight we will be partying to celebrate the Ethiopian New Year, going into year 2007, making us seven years younger!
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Thanks for your usual evocative article! Welcome back to your challenges and have fun celebrating and going back in time 🙂
Happy new year!
I came back from Addis two weeks ago and I know what you mean by the “heavy construction”. All these buildings growing up like mushrooms and the very questionable city train (I saw two railroad bridges with support poles on the side). I believe they should invest more on the infrastructure. Not to forget all these people being left out, like this man in Kasanchis taking pieces of bread from the mud. .
I went there for vacation and after the first few days when nothing worked as planned, I decided not to plan anything and take things as they come. Now, I was happy to disconnect from my very busy life in Toronto for a while, but I would certainly have a hard time doing this in the long term. I also had the privilege of living in a nice hotel, the London Eye on Bole road, with a water tank, generator and wifi for a very good price I could obtain from my Ethiopian friend. So I could enjoy nice hot shower and communicate with my family every night.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Danielle, I think you did the right thing to improvise!! Hope you can come back to Ethiopia as there are some beautiful places to discover, in spite of the daily struggles:)
Emmm, Salambo, I do enjoy your articles, as you are not shy to not sugar coat the realities you’re living currently and we call home, but please pay more attention… it’s 2007 not 2008!
in that note, happy Ethiopian New Year, Enkutatash!
Thank you very much for your comment, Amanuel, and for reading my blog….soon after publishing, i realised my mistake but by then i no longer had an internet connection to correct it….the usual story!!! I will amend now and Melkam Addis Amet 2007!!!!