Posted by Cris on March 4, 2007
To come to Africa is to become a celebrity. Small kids cant stop looking at us, others want to shake our hands. Even grownups yell, “Hello!” or “Farenji!” at us as we walk down the street, wanting us to talk to or even just look at them. Our time and attention are like gold here. Its pretty flattering, just knowing that waving at a kid will make him giggle and run to his friends, chattering about what that funny pale guy did. Others want our attention for other reasons: “I am hungry, give me money.” Or, pretty commonly, “Give me money” with no qualifier as to why. Youre white, give me money. These people are not so much flattering as disappointing and depressing. Some get coins, some not. Usually if they ask they get none- it is most likely the lady near our house who has two prosthetic legs who will get money (she is there every day, she seems grateful, she clearly cannot work) than the kid walking down the street in the uniform of a herder- short shorts, green blanket wrapped across his shoulders- who sees us and throws his hand out in the universal sign of beggary almost as an afterthought. He came or was sent to the city to earn money. He can work. He can go do something to earn money. Its hard, and I hope I dont sound callous.
So our one day of self pity over the visa problems expired, we rallied ourselves and started looking for alternatives so we could stay here. I am happy to report that after a paltry 24 hours of looking we found new jobs that we can work with or without a business visa. The jobs are at an elementary school, working 20 hours a week teaching english and general studies to kids. They pay the same, if not a bit better, than our other jobs. So here is the plan: we go to the Djibouti Embassy Monday morning and get our visas to Djibouti. Then we book flights either for Monday night or Tuesday morning, go to Djibouti, and try to get our business visas.
If we are successful, Amy will work the majority of the hours we already have at the Windsor English School, I will pick up the rest. This way we can cover the hours we already have there and fulfill our commitment to them. I will work at the other school, since I will much more enjoy working with kids. I will have my own classroom with 20-28 kids, from 8am to 12 noon Monday through Friday.
If we do not get our business visas we will both work at the elementary school, and try again to get business visas over the Easter weekend. Either way we get to stay and we will earn a good amount of money, over and above our needs. Needless to say we are pretty happy to be able to stay. We went shopping today and have renewed our home-making activities with vigor. I am thrilled to teach kids and be in a position that will give me more experience in a classroom, which will help when I apply to grad school.
We got a mobile phone, so write this number down: 251-0912-073567. 251 is the country code for Ethiopia, and the rest is our number. Im not sure if you will have to dial anything else to connect. Ive been told that if it doesnt work try without the first zero. It is free for us to recieve calls. We are 11 hours ahead of the West Coast, but will happily wake up in the middle of the night to talk to people. I think the cheapest way to call is to look for phone cards on the internet. Our address, for snail mail, is:
Amy/Cris, P.O. Box 2560, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
So there. You can contact us now, since we’ll be here for a while (yes!!).