Day 12: Friday, April 18, 2014
It’s the beginning of the Easter holiday in Ethiopia and like most places around the world people are commemorating and celebrating. That means everything of interest to me, notably NGOs, are all closed until Tuesday so that also means I will be “hotel living” for the next few days. I do plan to get out and about in Addis if just up and down the street from my hotel.
One thing that’s certain is living in a hotel for the long Easter weekend is BOR.ING! I have been here so long I know the full menu backwards and forwards. I also know all of the staff who work here and their shifts. We’re all good buddies now after I’ve been here for nearly two weeks. They’re great, but there is nothing to do except sit and twiddle my thumbs. I don’t want to go out much. After all, I am a woman in Addis and I want to make it back home, so wandering around town (even though I am well-traveled and it’s fairly safe in Addis save pickpocketing) is not in the cards for me this go-round.
So, I am relegated to watching a lot of BBC and CNN. There’s also international MTV which I am actually enjoying. Who knew international MTV was better than the homegrown one?
Day 13: Saturday, April 19, 2014
Sheep in the Street
I asked my taxi driver yesterday on my way to a meeting why there were so many sheep in the streets. He told me that for Easter families come together and buy sheep because you have to “spill the blood” for Easter. Large sheep can go for 3000 birr and smaller ones can go for 1100 birr. $1 USD = about 20 birr to give you some perspective on the cost.
Today on my way to the famous market here in Addis I saw not only sheep, but also large bulls I suspect will be a delicious dinner for many, many families tomorrow. Did I tell you my favorite meal here in Ethiopia is beef tibs. So good!
Easter is huge in Ethiopia as many practice Orthodox Christianity. There are some Muslims and Protestants and further south where I was last week there are even some practicing Rastafarians, I’ve been told.
Most Ethiopians fast for 55 days prior to Easter eating no meat or dairy (even though nearly every Ethiopian I’ve met has sneaked a meat or dairy dish around me. Shhh!). Since you’re supposed to fast for so many days before Easter, Sunday is a day full of gluttonous eating and drinking. I was told to not even contact anyone on Monday because most people will be hung over. Duly noted.
My work days don’t get started again until Tuesday when I head out about three hours southwest of Addis. I do have one scheduled meeting on Monday that I am extremely grateful for. My time is winding down and I have to take advantage of every minute I have left in Ethiopia.
I wish you a happy Easter if you celebrate! Meanwhile I will be sitting here watching TV.