Weekend thoughts

Saturday
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The apartment is empty, I hit play and spin the dial, the walls begin to resonate with the fulfilling sound of bouncy base. I dance and bounce and the words “I’m feelin alright, cause it ain’t that bad, I mean it ain’t that tight, and so I’m not that sad. I’m feeling alright, aiiigghht… My state of mind is faith, my soul needs satisfaction like my shoes need a lace, the blues got a case of slippin out of me…” fill my existence.
What have I been up to? I broke down and finally bought myself a $20 Photoshop magazine in Toronto, so I’ve been squeezing every penny’s worth out of it, I’m pretty sure I’ve paid off the debt and am running solely on profit now. Oh by the way, anyone in my iphoto library, you might have a different hair colour now, or you might have mysteriously become a Van Gogh…

Today has been a good day. Why? Well lets put it this way, one, there were no kids involved in it, two, there were none of the regular people I see day to day involved. Not that these are bad things, it’s just nice to get a break to yourself once in a while, really nice. I went to visit Laura Pearly and her husband Alex on the other side of town today, and spent the morning there enjoying a delicious brunch. Alex talked for a long time about Africa, and showed me pictures of the school he built in his village in Uganda, and the computer building he had created at the university. It was a fascinating history lesson. He went to high school with both the president of Uganda, and the president of Rwanda. He is a chemist currently working for the UN. I came home to see that Kyle had not left, and spent some time playing with Photoshop.
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It was another challenging week; I’m not really sure where to begin. The noise that the kids can make seems to summon to life the Dementors out of the Harry Potter books they are reading and suck the soul right out of me. I am wiped by the end of the day. I’ve been tired a lot lately and think I’m allergic to something I’m eating. The weeks go so fast that they are a bit of a blur right now. It’s hard to imagine that I’ve been here for three weeks already. I’m beginning to feel comfortable in Addis, and excited about traveling to different parts and seeing new things. I am looking forward to leaving Addis and heading out into the countryside soon. From what I have been told it is another world. In 1999 Ethiopia was ranked the poorest country in the world, I’m not sure where it stands now.
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I’ve been eyeing up various churches and am planning to go tour some of them soon. The original church of Addis is up on a very green and lush looking hill, I’m looking forward to making my way up there. I also have some hopes to visit Aksum and its ‘littering of massive teetering stelae, ruins of palaces, underground tombs (most still undiscovered) and inscriptions rivaling the Rosetta stone itself…’ And where the vast majority of Ethiopians passionately believe the Ark of the Covenant resides. And of course I can’t leave without visiting Lalibela and it’s 11 ‘medieval rock hewn churches, dimly lit passageways, hidden crypts and grottoes, all carved into the red volcanic rock.’ Gondor also sounds like a must see with its centuries old castles and palaces, ‘Africa’s Camelot’. Most exciting of all, I’m headed to Somalia for Christmas break!
Mom’s heart just stopped. Unfortunately National Geographic will have to suffice for now for Somalia.
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Sunday
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My deep sleep was intruded this morning by the vibrating and ringing of my phone at 8:00. It was Gail, I knew if I answered I’d be slurring my words with sleepiness so I got up and had a banana and some water before calling her back. She was calling to invite me to Jasmin’s karate graduation, which started at 9. I said I’d go and was in the shower seconds later, throwing on some clothes, and out the door to meet her. We arrived at a building that had been one of the meeting halls during the communist rule, it is now used as a government building and rec center. Gail, Layle, Yonitonn, Shane, and I waited till around 9:45 before we were ushered into the hall. They had just spent 45 minutes setting up a fancy PA system, but I don’t think they realized the power was out. The presentation started with no sound, but I wasn’t concerned as it was all in Amharic anyway. About 50 students ranging from 8 to probably around 17 or so filed onto the stage. They were all dressed in worn looking white Gi’s and belts that looked as though they were simply made out of died fabric. I was generally impressed with their Kata. It is a Shotokan club. I was glad to recognize the Japanese commands, a welcome break from the unfamiliar Amharic. Although, I think they had a few of their terms mixed up, and some took a few moments to decipher from the Amharic accent. The chief instructor did a Kata with his only brown belt student; I was very impressed. There was also some impressive Bunkai from the lower belts. No Kumite. Afterwords they handed out lots of new belts and certificates, Jasmin recieved her green belt. From what I understand they have a total of 9 Kyu. I spoke briefly with the instructor after, I told him I did Shito-Ryu and he said something about Japan Karate, but he didn’t speak very good English. He told me to come on Saturday. Sorry for all the Karate jargon, this is for the Karate readers.
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Now for the Baha’i readers, after the karate we stopped by and picked up Jasmin on the way to the Baha’i center. There we met with a group of around 8 junior youth who we will be starting book one with next weekend. The Baha’i center has several printing presses that they use to print all of their own literature. We are hoping to have them print some book one’s for us. Exciting!
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After the meeting Jasmin and I headed back home, stopping at a few supermarkets on the way home. I bought a big map of Addis off of a guy on the street. It was very expensive, but it is nice. Recently the government renamed all of the streets in Addis, but nobody knows the names and everyone navigates by landmarks. Each street has the name of an African country, and they had a great opportunity to name the north part of Addis with the northern countries and the southern part with the southern countries etc, but instead they randomly named them.
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At one point while walking down the street about 5 kids were harassing me all at once, they all wanted food. The worst is when a mother comes to you with a baby on her back asking for food for the kid. It’s heartbreaking.
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Last time I washed my clothes I used cold water, talking to Laura I realized that I need hot water. The shower is perfect for this, primarily because it is the only place I can get hot water in the flat besides boiling it. We’ll see how that works out!
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I’ve figured out how to set my camera up to shoot self timed at regular intervals, so now I can capture myself in action, just for you Lindsay : )
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So, I haven’t been talking much about school… I’ve been busy and tired during the week, and so I haven’t been writing much then, I’ve been writing what’s on my mind now, on the weekend! I’ll do my best to bring you some stories about school this week, and this coming weekend will hopefully produce some exciting stories to be told!

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