OK, obviously the internet here does not favor Mark and I, since it took us two weeks to get the first blog up, not for lack of effort. I feel obligated then, since I currently have access to try and get at least one other blog up. It will be short, since I am not a blogger, and only funny on certain days (according to my lovely girlfriend and old roommate, and today doesn't feel like one).
The election in Ethiopia took place on Sunday, and preliminary results are in. The news looks good for the party currently in power. This however is not shocking. Despite some claims by the opposition and Human Rights Watch, the election seemed to go off without much of a ruckus. It will be interesting to see reactions in the next few days. There were enough European Union election monitors around to ensure what is hopefully a fair election.
Mark and I took a trip down to Sodo to visit with the man who runs the Mossy Foot Association and is the main man for Podo in Ethiopia and Africa. He had some great information for us and took us out to some of the Podo clinics. All I can really say without getting graphic is that all the research and pictures do not prepare you for seeing the infections up close and in person. It was a great and motivating experience. Mark is still down in Sodo, visiting all of the clinics and doing his information gathering.
I have been back in Addis since Friday and have been preparing for my first trip out to the Western Region of Wolega with Christel. The clinics out in this area have not been operating as long as the ones in Sodo, and are a bit newer to Podo treatment. I leave tomorrow and will be out for two weeks, during which we will give away the first batch of shoes donated by TOMS, a very exciting time.
A couple of personal notes. The country is truly beautiful. The land especially in the rural areas is green and lush. The drive to Sodo brought beautiful scenery, and a glimpse into the life of the subsistence farmers that make up the majority of the population of this country. It is evident why family is so important and large families at that. It appears to be a full days work to get the harvest to the market and back, so there has to be people back at the homestead to do the actual farming. The homes are beautiful, huts made up of grass, mud, sticks and cow dung. Most had beautiful paintings and designs on the outside, they were by far the most aesthetically pleasing buildings I have seen since being here. And as previously mentioned, the views from them were breathtaking.
The kids were a trip. Shoes and pants optional, and playing with balls made up of plastic bags, twine and mud. three sticks made a volleyball net or soccer goal. It was very cool to watch. They yelled "Ferengi" constantly which means white person. Comes from when the French were hanging around, and from now on I guess all white folks are french, I know AMoreland might have some thoughts on that.
So that is that, the landscape and people are beautiful, "best looking people in Africa" I have been told on numerous occasions. The projects are coming along nicely, and Mark and I have been enjoying all of our experiences. I know Mark has a blog written about the coffee ceremony, which is very cool, and which has made me drink more coffee in two weeks than I have in my entire life (not hard since I had drank one cup in my entire life before coming here). So he will hopefully get to share that with all of you soon. I will be without internet for the next couple of weeks, so in the meantime, be cool.