Terese and I frequent a restaurant on the 5th floor of a building where we get a lovely view of Addis with its road construction and horde of dangerous taxis, stopping  in the street stalling traffic to pickup anyone with a few birr.  Pedestrians clog the traffic flow, and venders and beggars annoy those walking by.  One of the main roads I drive on is under major construction.  The Chinese have come in to widen the street and add overpasses at clogged intersections, and overhead walkways.  When they get done, long after we move to our next post, the drive to and from work will be nicer.  In the meantime, the drive home which took about 20 minutes now takes 35-40, because of the path I have to take.  … and the pedestrians!  If someone could just turn off the spigot.

(under the category of: we don’t know how lucky we are, babe)

While driving to and from work, one interesting item I see from time to time, is the lone individual, either heading to work in the morning, or heading home at night carrying a simple tool.  Usually, it’s a hammer, shovel or pick.  Now think about this a moment.  Whereas I have several of those items in storage in Lubbock, or you may have a few in your garage or shed, this object they carry is probably their most valued possession.  It is the tool they use for their livelihood.  They have a special place for this tool at home and maybe take time to clean it before putting it away.  This may have cost them several months pay but it was an investment to help survive life and feed his family.


Michael, the Gardener, has a fondness for the cat.  This animal is not domesticated in Ethiopia.  Cats are small scavengers in the city that chase mice and die from an occasional dog bite.  To have one roaming freely in the home, that you can pick up and caress, strangle or cuddle, is a most unusual thing.  So, Michael was baffled and intrigued at first, but now appreciates the little critter.  When Terese goes into work with me, he will let the animal out in the yard with him while he works.  Our backyard is a wonderland for her.  When we had her in Moscow, she had the feel of grass only briefly.  Here in Addis, once Michael had the backyard cat-escape proof, we let her out.  Strange as this new experience was for her, the grass was most baffling.  Terese picked her up and placed her in the middle of it.   She froze, trying to stand without using her four feet.  Once she finally accepted it, the next step was to get her furry butt used to sitting in it.  Took several ups and downs, but she finally mastered it.  Now, it is her heaven on earth.

It will be some time before this site works properly.  I’m not a 14 year old middle school kid anymore, so be patient and don’t be surprised to see things change.  … or not work at all.         D.