This morning we got a chance to go shopping. We left bright and early from the hotel to drive to Addis.
Thanks to the local people who work for Holt we knew exactly where to go in town for the best Ethiopian coffee, scarves and other souvenirs.
Sarah gave us quick lesson on bartering and how the initial price you are quoted is generally twice what you should end up paying. I discovered it takes a while to negotiate the price and I could use some more practice to improve my bartering skills.
I’m glad we had the time to walk and drive around the capital city today because when we drive back to Addis in a few days we’ll go straight to the airport.
Sarah informed us today that we could leave clothes here to be distributed by the government to the people of Silte. I started to pack and decided to leave the majority of clothes I packed` for two reasons. First of all, their need is so much greater than mine and second of all, that way I have more room for coffee.
I usually only drink coffee two or three times a week at home. Here, I’ve been having it two times a day, so I honestly think I’ll need to gradually reduce my intake when I’m back home.
After the trip to Addis it was finally time for the shoe distribution! In the end we were able to get only the used shoes through customs. However, there was still enough shoes to outfit the people in the community where we built the houses.
We all dressed up for the ceremony and I must say we clean up pretty nicely. Speeches were given by Tesfaye (the program development director for Holt Ethiopia), one of the local social workers, Jim (one of the faculty members that travelled with us) and of course Sarah, explaining the partnership that developed between OSU, Holt and the Silte community and how successful it has been.
I think Tesfaye summed it up best when we said “my heart is singing.” That is exactly how I felt.
Julia was also given a chance to speak about yesterday’s soccer game and what the experience meant to her. Her words were very well received and I was proud of how she represented us as OSU student-athletes.
We went to the work sites afterwards for some final pictures and words. It was sad saying goodbye to the families, especially the children but hopefully we have been able to increase their chance at a future.
We ate dinner outside and were treated to a fire and traditional song and dance. Before we ate a couple of people went to the mic and talked about how grateful we are to have had this opportunity through the partnership with Holt, how we’ve grown to become a Beavers Without Border Ethiopia family and how this has been the best experience in our lives thus far.
It was really fun to watch the dance performance. They even started to play some older American music like ‘My boo’ by Nellie and we all started to sing along.
Then the Ethiopian music came back on and before we knew it everyone was up trying the Ethiopian style dancing. We danced until everyone was sweating and out of breath.
It was then time for evening coffee, served with delicious sweetened popcorn. Dessert isn’t really eaten here, instead coffee is enjoyed with some sort of roasted grain. Our final dinner at the hotel was obviously an extra special one.
Limited Internet access prevented Stephanie from posting these blogs while she was in Ethiopia. The trip was completed in late June 2012.