Friday, June 29, 2007

Good Morning Addis!

I am finally here. Good morning Gunfo! Good morning Addis Ababa! Good morning the best tasting coffee in the world! Good morning the biggest baked bread in the world!

Ahhhhhh! I can finally exhale; and my breathe can mix with Addis Ababa's air. It was such a struggle, making the decision to move here for a personal informal education, school (MA in Ethiopian Studies at AAU) and work. The process of convincing my family and myself at times (a two year process) that the risk (of being robbed in Merkato, dying of Malaria, receiving a poor education, being arrested by the government, having my hand eaten off by a lion, etc.) was worth my time exhausted my eagerness to come. I was falling into indifference; and how dangerous is the feeling of indifference. It wasn't until my flight to Ethiopia that my spirit was renewed. I met a white American man who was on his way back to Ethiopia. He lives here and he has been living here for 10 years. Then I met some other young Americans who were traveling to a small town near Harar, Ethiopia to teach English for 6 weeks; and I felt ashamed. I was ashamed because I was so afraid of my own country, my own people; but at the same time, I was relieved because I was finally here and descending onto the ground.

I stepped out of the airport and with every strength of my nostrils, I took in each scent, inhaling a thick perfect mixture of bad smells - car pollution, sweat, bad food, rain, sewer, and must. With every open pore on my skin, I absorbed each heavy particle from the air - dirt, pollen, carbon dioxide. The next day, I housed every image in my mind - children running eagerly alongside the car, shop owners standing still outside their shops, a group of 20 men energetically helping a man fix his just broke down car, a gush of black smoke escaping the exhaust of an ancient pick up truck, women laughing and gossiping hand in hand, the city in peace in a gray mist, about a hundred people kissing the wall and ground of a church on a Thursday afternoon, commercial billboards of beautiful girls dressed in little clothing, hungry stray dogs weakly searching for food. I stored it all in my body, mind, soul, and some on my digital camera so that you all can see! Enjoy Addis.

...more to come