My name is Leah. I live and write in Wellington, New Zealand. Welcome!

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Tribute to a Year in Ethiopia

This time last year I was doing curriculum development work at One Planet International School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

My daily routine involved perhaps enjoying a fresh papaya or melon for breakfast, walking through throngs of people and cattle and derelict cars to work, working on Social Studies and Character Education material for the school, eating shiro for lunch, and spending the evenings with friends in my wee apartment.

My Ethiopian home
After being back in New Zealand for months now, I realised I've never really taken the time to reflect back upon my experiences there, which have shaped me in ways I could never have foreseen.

There were many tests and difficulties faced for all of us who worked there, but looking back the joyful experiences far outweigh the not-so-pleasant ones, and I'm glad it's like that. I want to look back on my time in Ethiopia with rose-tinted glasses, so that everything I saw and everyone I met has a golden light shed upon them.

Working at a Baha'i-inspired school meant that I worked with people from very far-flung places; from Finland to Australia, North Carolina to China, as well as Ethiopia. It was an incredible chance to dive into a beautiful culture and people, and share that new experience with others from all around the world.

Our little internationl family
I could spend hours writing about my time there; the taste of warm shiro in the evenings against the grainy bitterness of injera; walking past vultures and donkeys on my way to work; the sound of a begena tinkling down a lane like raindrops striking tin cans; the leaden bellies of clouds in the rainy season turning the earth to a swampy marshlands overnight; the bright eyes of the people I met every day.

Even though I spend a lot of time writing on this blog, I want to dedicate the rest of this post to pictures, because I feel like they can encompass my momentary experiences a little better than my words can.

Cleaning up the communal grounds in our apartments
The misty ruins of a hut on the way to Axum and Mekele in the far north
A lonely cow herder in Axum
Intense car door interiors
The most beautiful eyes - baby Bayan (above) and local girl (below)

Incredible tea ('chai') and coffee ('buna'), coupled with amazing coffee ceremonies

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