R2E 2007

Day 1 – Newcastle 2 Addis

We met at Newcastle airport at 4 in the morning. We were all very tired, we checked in and after a short delay due to a baggage belt fault and we were soon on our way. We were panicking for a bit on the flight as we may have missed our connecting flight from Amsterdam to Addis due to the delay. Luckily when about 9 cancelled flights were called out ours wasn’t one of them. As it turned out we had plenty of time to play on the walking escalator belts from one side of the airport to the other. All of the shops only accepted euros, so we had trouble getting things and when we did our liquids were confiscated again.

We boarded our next long 8 hour flight. On the flight to Addis we saw lots of interesting things when we went over a desert which was spectacular and we flew over the Alps. when we weren’t looking out of the window, the onboard families were keeping us entertained our play stations and TV’s. Stuffed our faces with food and drinks. We stopped at Khortoon and filled up with fuel and were off again for another flight and finally arrived in Addis after stuffing our bags with “borrowed” flight goodies he he.

When we arrived in Addis we collected our visa’s and changed our money. We then collected our bags, boarded taxis and a mini bus and arrived at our first hotel. On the journey to the hotel we were shocked at what we saw, it wasn’t what we expected. We off loaded our bags at the hotel only to find Anne’s bag was missing and still in Amsterdam. We got our room keys and rooms sorted and went to bed for a good earned nights sleep, we were all feeling very tired.

Ali and Fiona

Day 2 – Discovering Addis

Arrived in Addis Ababa at 9 last night to find that the hotel Yonas had us booked in as expected but 14 days earlier due to the Ethiopian calendar. Anyway we eventually found another hotel and in between the broken beds, barbed wire fences, security guards, watch tower and the fact that the hotel was in the “party” capital of Addis we settled down for a good nights kip. Anyway me and Brenty awoke to confusion due to the three different times that we had between us on 2 watches and an alarm clock (we thought it was 9 but it was actually 11!), and to find we were moving hotels in 5 minutes. We eventually packed and arrived in the new hotel to find more confusion about rooms (men aren’t allowed to share rooms with other men but they are allowed to walk around the streets holding hands and hugging … public shows of “affection!”).

Anyway this was soon sorted when we said we would move hotels! and the day began. It started with a meal for all sampling the various delights and an almost Dale Winton style shopping task in Amharic around the bustling markets of Addis. After translation problems, confusion and many packed taxi rides we arrived at our meeting point shopping in hand at the very posh blue tops hotel … Very nice! Both Sophie and Kate befriended street salesmen on the way but this was soon settled with buying a packet of “soft” from a small child and using the quote “she is my wife”.

We then visited the Ethiopian museum and saw various wonders including “Lucy” the 2 foot tall monkey/human thing with massive hands and feet which was actually quite interesting. However this did not last long and we headed towards a “secret treat” which turned out to be the poshest hotel in Ethiopia, however the treat was rather subdued due to the fact we had to walk through the poor shanty town areas of Addis which stretched for miles and rather dampened spirits in the group, the only highlight was witnessing Richard falling into a sewer ditch which was actually hilarious. Well after a few bevies in the hotel bar and watching the footy on the TV we decided to leave the posh hotel  withall its glory and shoe cleaning toilet facilities behind. Back at the hotel now and heading for an evening meal in the zebra bar with the “family”, all going well so far and looking forward to many more interesting adventures and meals. T’ra for now.

Andrew & Simon

Day 3 – The market – British Council – the UN

Last night at the zebra bar was quite an experience as we encountered many an interesting story, as well as Richard getting knocked out by a lamp shade, as well as interesting sound effects from the bottom of the table which was heard by the rest of the restaurant! 🙂

After a very large and yummy breakfast we went to the biggest most chaotic market possible. keeping your wits about you was quite important as we entered. Thank goodness for horns on cars otherwise we would have been ran over many times as people in Ethiopia do not use brakes, have no traffic lights and most often use the wrong side of the road to drive on !

It was a formal afternoon as we went to the British Council which had the most amazing views and then the UN building where even Mrs Steer and Miss Hardy were giggling at the cartoon look-alike from The Incredibles who talked for sooooo long. Although it was interesting you couldn’t help the distraction from the ‘empty cheese’ she was talking about (otherwise MDG) or the ICTs strange, as well as the cockroach crawling across the floor.

Although we had a really good afternoon with a lot of laughs which include Alex posing in the UN conference hall in such a manner that even the security guards moved, there was a serious note about the afternoon which explained a lot of questions we had but also when travelling through Addis the poverty is extreme and very obvious as women came up to your extremely squished (taxi 17 people in a 10 seater taxi) asking for anything. People here make the best of what they have and have a positive attitude but it is still very hard to accept that when seeing it so close.

Lallebella tomorrow! 🙂

Up at 5 see you soon

Alex and Angela

Day 4 – Addis to Lallibella

We had a very early start of 5:00am which of course we weren’t too happy about. We made our way to Addis airport and quickly got through all of the security check things, we had coffee and doughnuts while waiting to board the plane. Once we went through the boarding desk we saw the plane we were about to mount, and it was the smallest, most simple plane most of us have ever seen, the Fokker 50!! The flight took 2 hours so we all managed to grab some much needed kip. Once we arrived in Lalibella airport, the scenery was AMAZING! We travelled up the mountain on a luxurious bus and it was a real change from Addis. I think it was what we all expected Africa to be like. We waved the whole way up. we finally got to our hotel in Lalibella, it’s a little different to the other hotels we were in but was OK. We had a quick meeting to arrange the day then were free to go on a wander and get RIPPED OFF for food! we had our lunch in a little cafe/hut thingy. We then made our way down to the churches where we met our guide for the day, Thomas. He showed us around the 13 churches situated in Lalibella which was very interesting. He also told us a very weird story which we do not wish to repeat ha-ha. After the churches we went back to the hotel and got changed etc then went out for a nice local meal in a little restaurant/hut thingy over the road. We all ate local food of tibs,injura, mentchit and chiro. mmmmmm. Still strange having to eat with just our right hands though!! Straight away we noticed a huge difference in the people, it was like we are celebrities!! Anne finally got her bag back from the airport hooray!! Fay fell in love with a little boy and we think she’s going to try and smuggle him home.

Anyway we’ve waffled on for ages now. Everyone sends their love and are all having a great time, no one is homesick…..yet.

All our love, Kate and Lindsey xxx

P.S. Andrew loved the email announcement made at tea time from his mummy and daddy 🙂

P.P.S. Anna is very enthusiastic about everything being so AAMMAAZINGGG!! (as usual)

Day 5 – Day in Lalibella

We started today with a hike up a nearby mountain to visit a monastery that was situated at around 3600m high.  After a very scenic but tiring walk we first caught a glimpse of it, situated on a cliff face only accessible by a winding mountain trail.

Upon arriving we were shown around this monastery carved from the rock in the same incredible way as the churches in main Lalibella.  We then departed feeling fairly proud of our achievement, but only after Richard had managed to fall over…again.

Mr Griffiths had organised a football match of Ryton against Lalibella for 3:30 and Clad in red we departed brimming with confidence of our upcoming victory.  At the “stadium” watched as a team in orange approached  with startling professionalism followed by 200 loyal supporters.  The game started with us playing very defensively and on the 8th minute we were down 1:0,  a second goal was soon conceded, but through dynamic skill, blistering pace and deadly accuracy Andy scored our first goal, supported by the entire team.  After conceding another 2 goals and a narrow miss by Simon Brent, John Steer scored our second goal. In the final minute, Richard Gordon managed to defend a goal from a close range shot with his crotch, resulting in crippling pain and much hilarity amongst both players and fans.

Following the game much needed football strips were distributed amongst the girls team in a diner meeting.  All in all a very enjoyable day.

Day 6 – To Gondar – getting ready for the mountains

Due to a power cut, day 6 review isn’t very long as we have to go for our tea! Basically everyone is ok, we went to the church this morning for St Micheals day where everyone was dressed in white robes. Then after this early start we got a plane to Gondar, and started to prepare for the upcoming expedition.

We went to the local market to buy all the food and kit needed for in the mountains. We basically got ripped off by the locals but all in good spirit! 🙂 everyone says hello and we are missing you! but we dont miss the english weather.

Day 7 Gondar to Simiens

We all got up very early to leave the Belegez hotel in Gondor for the Simien mountains and we loaded all of the bags on to the bus, for once we actually had enough space on the bus and everybody had a seat, unlike in the taxis. The bus was comfy and the road wasn’t. Although we were very tired we didn’t get much sleep because of the bumpy road, those who did choose to stay awake admired the ever changing scenery of the mountains and of the passing villages; it was very beautiful. We were on the bus to debark for about 2 1/2 hours were we stopped at the Simien mountain hotel for toilets and a very nice breakfast, we had a variety of food. Then we set off on the bumpy bus to Sankabar camp although the roads were less bumpy they were steep and windy. On the journey we saw our first glimpses of the baboons, they were so cute especially the babies. The views of the mountains were spectacular; they didn’t seem real. After just over an hour and a half we reached Sankabar, after we all unloaded the bags we inspected the smelly toilets and then Alex devised a rota for cooking and washing up. We set up the tents for the first time, needless to say some of it was wrong and we had to redo it. We all set up our beds as after tea it would be too dark. We went to look at the breathtaking views while Kate and Ali made tea of pasta with tomato and herb sauce complete with a whole bunch of onion and garlic. It wasn’t the nicest dinner but by far wasn’t the worst and we all ate it because we were hungry. After tea it was dark so we sat around the fire and kept warm, everyone went to bed early due to being tired from the travelling.

Alison and Fiona

Day 8 – Sankobar to Geech camp

Day 8 started early with a planned 6am wake up call and a 7 o’clock start so we would hopefully be in Geech camp just before the rains came (or at least the thick of it). Unfortunately, due to problems with wet tents (ours, the constellation series apparently gaining its name from having so many holes you can see the stars) and brekky taking longer than planned, we left at just after half 8; which doesn’t sound bad but we had a river to cross later in the trek and with the rainy season to contend with this posed quite a big worry for the group. Nevertheless we set of and soon forgot about it, the walk started cheerily and everyone was in good spirits due to the hot climate and relative ease of the beginning of the walk. We then headed towards the waterfall (a slight detour), but it had never been seen before on any of the previous trips due to fog, but the weather was looking up and we thought it would be a good idea to give it a shot (also having never seen it on the previous 4 attempts Mrs Steer would have almost killed the scouts and guides if she missed it again).

After clambering over a stone section bridging the gap between the waterfall viewpoint and the path guess what we saw? Fog, yes absolutely nothing, much of the group soon lost hope and with the promise of a snack break headed back of the stone bridge to the path and sat down. However, a minority of the group (Mrs Steer and her “hardcore” waterfall fans including us two) stayed behind in the hope of eventually seeing the promised view. After mock shouts of  “we are leaving now” we tricked the fog into leaving and the waterfall soon appeared eerily from the mist, well what can we say about that one other than … amazing. After 5 or so minutes the group cracked on with the job in hand in order to reach the river before the rains came.

The walk to the river was at some points rather tricky and tiring, but some of the group took full advantage of the free mule service and the walk and river was soon overcome. However, we were soon punished by the fact we took a rather extended lunch break with the promise that some of the group could be in Geech within the hour if we “cracked on”. The punishment came about 15 minutes later in the form of mist with a slight drizzle, soon turned into mist with rain, then mist with a heavy downpour, then and don’t ask how this happened because we are not Michael Fish turned into an immense thunder storm with hailstones! We split into two groups, each group having a guide to direct them on their way.  However, they were not to be followed too closely as they insisted on carrying their umbrellas with lightning closing in.  The group morale was quickly lost and the altitude forgotten as the group closed in (pretty quickly) on the camp.  When we reached camp both cold and wet, without the luxury of a shower or warm room to recover in we found the mulers had put the bags in the wrong tukel along with the stove and the warm water..  several moans later with everyone trying to warm the colder of the group up the best they could, Mrs Steer/Mears got a fire going in seemingly impossible conditions and the problems began to sort themselves out, spirits slowly lifting.  Morale with the front group was soon lost when the second groups guide turned up alone with a note from the Griff saying they were stuck in Geech village behind a river that was no more than a trickle when we passed earlier.  They were safe and well and turned up later to join the group for the harshest and coldest night in the mountains to date.  The events seemed difficult at the time but we later realised how much it had brought us together and how much our teamwork had helped to pull everyone through.

That’s not to say I would hope for a night like that EVER again…..

Back soon with the next entry of Brenty and Andrew’s Ethiopian adventures (series 1 of many)

Day 9 – Walk to Imet Gogo

We managed to have a small lie in this morning as we were no longer walking fromGeech to Chenek because the rivers were too high to cross due to the rain. A few of us went on a walk to Imet Gogo while some stayed at the camp and rested. It was a good walk, slow and steadily uphill. It took us about two hours to get there and just under to get back. But it was well worth it as the views at the top were SPECTACULAR….(when the clouds cleared). We had an enjoyable walk back down with a short break to see hundreds of babooooons, it was great as there was loads of babies play fighting. We were all hungry after the walk as the porridge wasn’t too filling and by now our bread was like a brick!!

After a bit of chill time around the fire, we knew the time had come….Fluffy’s time had come. We slowly walked over to the top of the hill with Fluffy bouncing along, unaware of his fate. We gathered in a semi-circle around him with some turned away, the scouts pulled out their knives and placed them against poor Fluffy’s throat. Basically, they decapitated him! After a few minutes of twitching, they began to undress him from his coat, snapped his poor little legs off then tied him up on a tree to drain the blood. Then the gruesome bit began. They took off the meat from the legs and back and drained his intestines and gut (poo everywhere!!). It was good to see that they made use of every single bit of the body. Andrew and Richard had the pleasure of chopping up the meat for our evening meal, and it was lush!! After our lovely meal some people retired to their tents to get some kip while others stayed in the tukel partying and dancing in a traditional Ethiopian way. It was great to see the way they boogey (shoulder shaking and jumping up and down) and hear them sing. We also uncovered the new talent of Alex Spencer, who broke into song later in the evening. Then everyone went to bed and had a good night sleep.

All still having a great time!

Kate and Lindsey xxxx

Day 10            Mon 23rd       How far did we get?

An early start again and an extremely long walk agaaaaain but this time in glorious sunshine and not terrible weather and also in reverse. This time we had the chance to take in the scenery and to be followed by little children as we passed their village. The walk down to the main river involved big spencer straddling a log to cross a stream and mrssteer getting overly excited by a hairy poisonous caterpillar. After a very long time and a lot of ups and downs we reached a point where griff said ‘choose the scenic (hard) or road (boring) route’. A select few including Angela, Andrew, Ashley, Big Spence etc took the long winding road back to sankebar and got there way before everyone else. The phrase too many cooks came to Angelas mind as the Ethiopian scouts did their best to help put up the tents in the rain as the hardcore group including (little Spence, lindsey “the machine” gray and steers, Brenty etc) took the scenic route. The scenic group got to see amazing views and clip springers roaming around and when we reached eye sight view of the camp and saw the process of tents being put up we stopped and looked at the view shouting at sophie to put away her red scalf as it wasn’t the best camouflage and would give it away that we were there and skiving. Night time came and after a well cooked evening meal (which sizzled the mouths of a few) the scouts and mulers repeated last night’s entertainment but this time everyone joined in and had a dance around the fire (including Mr young).

Angela and Alex

Day 11 – Back to Gondar – a night in a bed

After a seemingly early start this morning, everyone set out preparing breakfast, and busied themselves with taking down the tents.  After a frantic hour of packing we boarded the coach and drove a couple of miles to where Ethiopian scientists where studying Gelada Baboons.  The baboons slept on the side of a cliff, safe from predators, and then moved up onto the main plateau, during the day time to eat and socialise.  This is where we observed them. It was amazing how close that we could get to them and how trusting they were. Along with the baboons the views were awe inspiring.

After this we got on the coach again for a 6 hour ride back to Gondar, stopping at debark to say goodbye to the scouts and guide, who had been our companions for the last 5 days.  Everyone was very much relieved to arrive in Gondar and headed straight to the shower before getting ready to go out for Richard Gordon’s 18th.  First we headed to a very posh hotel, which had beautiful views over the city, for a couple of drinks, and then we headed on to a local restaurant to eat.  There were traditional dancers which got most of the group up for some shoulder shaking. After this and some very nice food we headed back to the hotel to pack for the flight to Bahir Dar the next day.

Day 12            Wed 25th       Fly to Bahir Dar

Had a lush lie in…well half 8! Better than usual! We all thought we had to be ready for 5, but then it turned out to be in Ethiopian time, so for us it was 11, for the plane. We went for a lush fruit salad in a little pastry shop in Gondar, then had a quick trip to the ‘farengie’ shop for some Pringles and laughing cow… so worth the extortionate price! We then went on a shortish bus journey to the airport, and hung around for our 20minute flight, which happened to be shorter than the time spent waiting at the airport, however all was not lost as there were many many scarves to keep us amused in the souvenir shops…of course Sophie was ripped off again, her fear of haggling got the better of her. Landed in Bahir Dar and travelled to our hotel….the Ghion. The hotel is in a beautiful surrounding just on the edge of lake Tana (which has hippos in apparently!) hope we don’t get attacked at night! We grabbed some fruit smoothies which were gorgeous and relaxed by the lake J

Soph and Ashleeeey xxx

Day 13            Thu 26th        First day of the project

We all met for breakfast at 8 after our first night in Bahir Dar. After a decent breakfast we got a line taxi up to the original day centre, where we all had a look around the place to decide on what we needed to buy and make for the new centre. We all put our ideas together and came up with a final list of what seemed like a hundred items and there probably was. The list was then split into 6 mini lists, and with each list there was 2 of us and 2 people from the centre. The children helped us to bargain and get “habbishawagga” (local prices) rather that the over charged price for foreigners. However after a while the market got the best of us and all of us came back and felt the market was not a place we would go again in a hurry. We got most of the items on our lists and some of us had money left. We came back on a line taxi and dumped all of our new buys at the original day centre.

We got a line taxi back to the Ghion hotel it was 4 by the time we arrived. We then had 2 hours to get ready before going back to the original day centre for its 1st anniversary party. We had to wait around till half six when we got a taxi bus from the hotel to the centre. Griff had ordered a buffet from the Ghion which was all laid out by the time we had arrived, therefore the first thing we did was eat. The food was very nice there was a large choice and everyone ate as much as they could however there was still some left. The room was decorated with multicoloured balloons and a grass floor. It all looked very pretty. After dinner the children had prepared a drama for us to watch. It was all in Amharic so we couldn’t understand what was said, however we could tell that it was very funny as all the people from the centre were all laughing. We got the basic plot though as Fikeru was translating it. It was about rural life in Ethiopia. Afterwards a small bonfire was lit which provided a large amount of light and heat for the cold evening. Although we hired a dancer she didn’t get much of a chance to dance as all the children took to the dance floor when the music started. They kept trying to pull us in to dance some of us refused however most of us joined in with them, it was very fun. However by the end of the night quite a few of us were feeling ill and were ready for bed, which at 11 we finally achieved.

Fiona and Alison

Day 14            Fri 27th           Day 1 of the project

Most people made it for breakfast apart from the inhabitants of room 7 (Kate, Alex and Lindsey) who were a little tired. Out of the 12 students in the group 7 made it to the market but that dropped to 4 after an hour as many returned to the hotel in need of further rest. This day was the start of the practical work but considering there was just the four students, we had a lot of help as the students from the current centre came to help. In the main room we decided to take a geography theme and drew a map of the world labelling it in Amharic and English. Taking a long time to get started, we eventually did about 6 hours work. We felt that we had done well as the garden had been also cleared ready for the construction of the tukel. Everyone managed a meal at the Bahir Dar hotel as it was Friday “forengie” night… good old fashioned English food and some old school Westlife and Enrique Inglesias to cheer us up.

Angie Pants and Alex

Day 15            Sat 28th         day 2 of the project

An 8 o’clock start again and guess what…we all made it to breakfast! So with our new and improved work force we split in to three groups one to get hardware stuff, one to get the cleaning gear and the other to continue the painting. There was a cute little girl Anna met in the market the other day who we took a shirt and some shorts for, she was well chuffed and it was Newcastle as well – score! We headed back to the new centre in a bajaj (a motorbike type thing with seats in a little hut on the back) and arrived to find everyone working hard, the foundations were well laid for the tukel and the massive corner posts were starting to go up Flintstones style! A map of Ethiopia appeared on another wall and all the bottom area of the garden was cleared including Brenty and Andrew flexing their muscles pulling down a tree or two. Nichola and Ann were the lunch ladies today, came back with half the forenjie shop for us – mmm! The students didn’t quite know what to make of the peanut butter and jam so they piled all of it on one piece of bread which kept us entertained!! After lunch the mules started arriving with boulders, wood, cement, sandy type stuff and we started mixing the cement for the tukel floor. By the end of the day everyone was exhausted from a bit of hard graft and we took the members of the centre for a thank you dinner to Sammy’s bar aka Nega’s then it was a quick tea at the Ghion, a power cut – as per, and finally bed!

Fay aka Maggie xxx

Day 16 Sunday

Day at the falls (Episode 3)

Started the day early (as usual) to set off to visit the Blue Nile Falls.  About an hours drive and a small walk over rough terrain brought us within sight of the falls and more importantly (for some people) some famous actor off The Borrowers/Bridget Jones’ Diary. The excitement was soon cut short after a certain member of the group (Richard Gordon) decided to shout “which one’s the famous one and what’s he called?” while standing right next to him.  Obviously not THAT famous then…Anyway, we eventually reached the falls after the staff had picked their jaws off the floor from the excitement of seeing someone famous to find that the Blue Nile Falls were less spectacular (yet still impressive) than previous years because the Italians had somehow managed to plonk a hydroelectric dam just above the falls cutting off most of the water reducing it drastically in width-good for the economy but bad crack for us forengies.  we soon decided it was time to get a bit closer and wade through the river however, due to large amounts of overnight rainfall, the mission was aborted and we retreated back to the car park. fortunately there was another crossing point (accesible by boat) and we still managed to get the the foot of the falls.  it was still a muddy downhill scramble to get there but it was all the more rewarding when most of the group completed the trek and recieved the first power shower of the trip (ethiopian showers have the tendency to break, or at least the hot tap).  this shower was a welcome gift for the group as at this point it had been 4 days since the scruffiest member of the group (Alex Spencer) had last washed!

We returned early afternoon-ish to visit Day Centre Mk1 to help the kids with theirenglish in writing a letter to their sponsors thanking them for their support.  some of them got a bit emotional in their thanks but it was all good, and nice to see how theirenglish had improved over the course of a year (apparently it was limited at best when they began).

It had been a long day so most of the group returned back to the Ghion Hotel for somescran while the hardcore of the group ventured to sara’s bar for a marathon session oftibs and St. George’s beer.  That was all for sunday, a relaxed and enjoyable day for all (well, most) and, seeing as this will probably be the last entry from us two we’d just like to say it’s been a cracking trip so far and we can’t wait to get the work done and see the centre opened.

Oh, and p.s. mam and dad (of the Brent and Young variety) word of advice, get stocked up for our fry up’s when we get back on Sunday! And we mean the FULL whack.

See you’s all at the airport (although you’ll probably smell us coming while we’re overSomalia).

Andrew and Brenty

Day 17 – Meeting the new children

We got up for breaky at 8, had a nice fruit juice then made our way to the new centre. When we got there we realised that Fanta handn’t turned up with the key so we were all hanging around for a while enjoying the sun. Mula Khan then came with the key so we could go in and crack on with some hard work. The garden was looking loads better already. Thetuckle had been concreteted, plants were yanked out to re-plant and it was just looking great. At 3:00pm we walked down to the old centre to meet the children who were going to be joining the new one. We all introduced ourselves and mingled for a bit, let them get used to us forenjies etc. We were then each given a new student who we had to interview and find out there stories. We also had an interpretor with us as the kids couldn’t speak much English. It was quite hard finding out about there lives as most of them didn’t have parents and just lived with other members of family or friends. They were really shy and nervous and we were really shocked to hear that the old children were exactly like that this time last year (they are all so talkative and friendly now!). After we were with the children for a while we went back to the new centre and did some more hard grafting until dark. We decided to go to Negers for some tea but there was yet another powercut so we ended up eating our tibs in darkness! (me and Lindsey reeeeeeeeeeally enjoyed our shiro).

Lookng forward to seeing everyone back home on Sunday. Mum (Catherine) make suretheres a nice big fry up waiting for my return!! mwahahaha.

Lots of love

Lindsey and Kate xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Day 18

Last full day of work!!!

Wow loads happened today, the tuckle got almost finished, the veggie patch got created, the stone borders were put in place and the whole place looked a whole lot smarter. It was a hard, long day but was worth it in the end………….we have 1 minute to finish thissoooo…………….we had a lush tea in a posh hotel, it was yuuuum, with chips!!! yes chips!! I had a serlioin steak, oh yeahhh. ok sorry got to go coz we are getting wrong!! byee see you soon from Ashley and Sophie 🙂

Day 19 – Opening the new centre

We met up for breakfast at 7. Everyone was tired and some people were ill. We split up into two groups for the morning the first group went to the market to get all of the final pieces for the centre.The second group went up to the day centre by line taxi and made the finishing touches to the new day centre ready for the new children’s arrival.

The floor was cleaned alot of times as people kept on walking on it with muddy shoes from the garden. The people who went to the market returned and started work also. The ill people arrived at 12. We made a group decision to have some lunch even though the kitchen had been scrubbed down.

At 3 the new students arrived at the centre ready for the official opening. We all gathered outside of the centre and to make the opening official all of the old and new students as well as us lot gathered for the cutting of the toilet paper. After a group photo we made name badges for all of the students and got them to make a second one for a surprise goodie bag that they didn’t know about in the bag was a football shirt and the stationary things that they would need.

We got all of the children to mix together and they played games for a while until the buffet had arrived whilst some of us got written all over by Fikeru. The tea arrived at 5 and as it was a fasting day there was alot of carbohydrates and no meat. We played another couple of games after tea and then gave the bags out to the new students aswellas taking photos of them with their new football tops on. We said goodbye to the new students and we invited the old students who helped us alot with the building work on a boat trip to see the hippos in Lake Tarna the following morning. They were all very pleased and accepted.

We then went our separate ways and all of us lot went back to the Ghion hotel where we decided to meet at half 8 to go out clubbing. That gave us pleanty of time to get ready, showered and packed. We went to a local Ethiopian club first then a another club which played alot of Shina Twain e.g like every other song. A good night was had by all.

Fiona and Alison

Day 20

Day Thursday 2nd

Yesterday was another ridiculously early start and it had an effect on all of us considering the night before. The centres students joined us for a trip on Lake Tarna where we went to see the hungry hippos. Two very unsteady boats took us right in the middle of nowhere where one got stuck and the other was soaking wet. The hippos however popping up all over the place. We saw them yawn and there teeth we huge but overall it was amazing to see them in the wild and it was a good experience. The two boats soaked each other due to the rivalry, all had a good time. Travelling to Addis Ababa was uneventful with a tad turbulance but everyone was pretty tired so the rest of the day was relaxing for the first time in three weeks  and an early night. We can only wait for our last night in Ethiopia….shaking the shoulders :S

Alex and Angela

p.s sorry it wasn’t too eventful

Day 21- Day in Addis

Another early start today as we all piled in to the mini bus to go to the Fistula hospital, i think we were all a little concerned about what it was we were actually going to see but after getting lost about three times we made it! We had a talk about the hospital and learned how the fistulas occur which was really interesting, then we had a tour and met a couple of the women. It was amazing to see what good they’re doing, there was a girl walking around in the physio room who had been completely crippled when she arrived at the clinic, it really does change these peoples lives. After this it was off for lunch and a bit shop, while most stuffed their faces some went to a local craft shop where the profit goes to the women who are made to carry wood etc, there was some really nice things there and just enough time to grab a spring roll before we were due at the British Embassy.

The Embassy was well cool we had a brief talk about the embassies main roles in Ethiopia then it was cake and drinks time – mmmmm!!! After this we went giant tortoise hunting, they turned out not to need much hunting down, they were almost round every corner! We saw the stables (wow horses with more than 1/2g of fat on them!) and the golf course. Spencer nearly had to make use of the services as true to form she had lost something…this time it happened to be her passport! Luckily when we got back to the hotel she hadn’t lost it she was just having a blonde moment and hadn’t put it in her bag. Night time meal was some good old habisha food at a restaurant the taxt driver couldnt find with cool dancer dudes we danced a bit then some of us headed off to a club to party like its 1999 for the last ever time!!

Fay xx P.S Happy Late Birthday Gran xx

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