Ethiopia Dispatches: Days 4 and 5

*** Day 4, Thursday April, 10, 2014

When I woke up on Thursday morning I peeked out my tightly drawn curtains (I was trying to get some much-needed rest) and saw the sun shimmering across Lake Tana in all its splendor. It was beautiful. But, by the time I finally got downstairs to depart for my day in Bahir Dar the shimmer of the sun had faded away quickly, but the lake was still quite gorgeous.


I am still attempting to wrap my mind around how big Ethiopia is. Friends, it is huge! It’s a country of 93 million people and the sheer size of the country is mind-blowing. How do I know? Because I am working on logistics for the rest of my time in Ethiopia in order to make sure I get from point A to point B as efficiently as possible. There are some challenges, but I love an overground adventure!

After getting back from Bahir Dar on Thursday I immediately threw open my hotel windows in Addis  to hear the hustle and bustle of  the city below. There is always something going on in Addis like most capital cities.

Addis  Below


 *** Day 5, Friday, April 11, 2014

On Friday I had four office meetings and two site visits with NGOs. It was an intense day for sure, but full of fantastic possibilities for June. I hired a taxi driver for the day to take me around the city and wait as needed as my meetings were scattered throughout Addis.

It has been extremely nice having so many helpful NGO contacts in the States that have Ethiopian headquarters. It makes my life easier when I am in the planning stage. Global offices are in touch with each another. We all get to know one another. It’s perfect!

When I have traveled before I have never taken the time or energy to get a local number for the country I am visiting. But, in this case, having a local phone is imperative. I have loved being able to call and text my, now very many, contacts instead of having to rely on getting to Wi-Fi and reading my emails.

Tomorrow will one of my last days in Addis until the end of my trip where I will stay in the city to attend more meetings, meet more people, and iron out important details.

A Cloudy Day in Winter

A few weeks ago on a wintry, rainy day I went for a walk and simply took photos. It was a nice meditation for me as the year first got underway. Getting out and enjoying my surroundings and playing with my camera’s settings was a nice change from sitting behind my laptop and typing away.

The weather has been nice here lately even though it was supposed to snow yesterday. The weather is quite blustery, but very sunny with blue skies. I do, however, love a cold, rainy day especially when it’s dark and cloudy. I think in the winter those are my favorite days because they are so rare in North Carolina.

In the next few months I will be traveling quite a lot so I am preparing mentally for that. I traveled frequently last year and it did take some time for me to recover – longer than usual.  I’m excited, though, about traveling internationally again. I’m ready to dust off the passport.

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The Second Leg of My Journey to #Zambia #ZambiaHealth

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I have flown internationally out of Washington Dulles more times than I can count. I always love coming to Dulles’ international terminal. It makes me feel like I’m actually leaving the country, not just flying a regional jet a few states north. They have the whole theme going with the flags and varied international fare to accommodate the taste buds of those who are either arriving in the country or are starting the long trek home.

I will be here for a few more hours still. One thing that I have learned after many years of flying is I would much rather be one of a few people milling around than making a mad dash for my next flight. It’s peaceful here this morning. None of the big flights have landed yet, but a few are getting ready to board for faraway places.

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I am traveling to Zambia as an International Reporting Project Zambia Fellow. The International Reporting Project is a part of The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. I will be reporting on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis and how these three infectious diseases acutely affect mothers and children.

My Walk to a Much-Needed Latte


I love where I live. It’s not Manhattan or downtown Chicago, but it’s my little slice of the hustle and bustle in North Carolina.

I don’t need much to make me happy. A short morning walk to my favorite, local coffee shop is a great way for me to set my day. This morning I walked around the corner to get a latte and took photos along the way. If there is one thing I love, it’s a beautiful summer North Carolina day.

Wolfies - My Favorite Local Ice Cream Shop!

Wolfies – my favorite local ice cream shop – with a few words of wisdom.

It’s the subtle things I love noticing.

While it was only morning and not yet opened, Hutch and Harris’ patio was bustling by lunch.

Picking my lid.


Don’t you love a coffee shop that’s also a wine shop/bar. Love!


Les fleurs!

Les fleurs!

7 seconds....

7 seconds….hurry!

I hope you have a great Friday! By the way, I was interviewed about Social Good Moms today on Jennifer Barbour’s Philanthropy Friday series. I love it. Do give it a read.

- Jennifer

[Photos] Good Times, Great Food in Seattle

The Palace Ballroom

Last week I visited Seattle on a press trip with Microsoft (which means they paid for everything and fed us very, very well).  The purpose of the trip was to learn about Windows 8 and Office 365. Although I am a hardcore digital maven I admit I didn’t take to the changes to Windows very well. I shunned them, in fact. I absolutely didn’t want to learn anything new and furthermore I just didn’t have the time to do so.

That said, I am here to tell you Windows 8 really changed my life. Everything is so seamless, connected, and very functional. My apps and Windows Phone sync beautifully so when I take a photo with my phone it automatically goes to my Skydrive account like magic! I remember when people used to caution us about the cloud. Now, I can’t think of living without it, frankly.

As someone who takes a lot of photos and has collected a ton of them on my desktop in various folders I can tell you having your photos stored in the cloud on Skydrive is one of the best things that has happened to my digital career. It has just made everything easier – simple as that.

Here are some photos I took with my camera at Tom Douglas’ The Palace Ballroom and  Tavolata and then uploaded to my Skydrive account. I love that all of my photos will now be in one place that I can access at any time, anywhere!


Copyright: Microsoft

The Palace Ballroom

The Palace Ballroom




Great Coffee and Conversation

Yesterday I had a really inspiring morning with a great friend. Not only did we have really wonderful coffee and conversation, we also cooked up a few things  that will be fun in 2013.

One thing I love is really delicious coffee at  my favorite local coffee shop. Something about yesterday just kicked my day off well.

Today hasn’t been too shabby either. I will be speaking at Britmums Live in London this year and can’t wait to be back in one of my favorite cities in the world. This year will mark three straight years I’ve visited London Town and I can’t wait to get back.
Coffee at Camino

Coffee at Camino