Addis Ababa Helps Out

I need help

I need help

I arrived in Addis Ababa last night. I have only been here for a little over 12 hours, but I have plenty of thoughts about the place already.

The main thing is that everybody has been extraordinarily helpful. This is good since I have needed a lot of help. When I first was leaving the airport, I needed a taxi to get to my hostel. The address given on the website was vague to say the least—it gave a neighborhood, but no street—and the woman I spoke with didn’t recognize the name. But without hesitation, she called the phone number listed on the page and asked where it was. It turns out she knew the place, she just didn’t recognize the spelling, so she got me a taxi and I was on my way.

When I arrived, the man in charge didn’t have my reservation. I showed him my printed confirmation, but he said he didn’t have it. Instead of turning me away, he had me take a seat in the restaurant while he figured it out. So I sat in the middle of a bunch of chattering Ethiopians and waited for him to return. I had little to do but stare at the TV, which was showing The Evil Dead for some reason, so I watched people be gruesomely murdered as I waited. The man (I still haven’t learned his name) returned periodically to let me know that his “guys” were trying to find me a room at another hotel. Sure enough, they found one, and he drove me over there, dropped me off, and gave me a key. He returned to pick me up in the morning and took me back to his hostel to give me a room. A shining example of customer service, he was.

View from Atelefugne

The view from my lovely new room

I hope that the people I meet will continue to be as accommodating of my incompetence as those two were, because I know there is more to come. It is inevitable in a foreign country, especially a country as foreign as Ethiopia. I still need to find a phone, an apartment, and a good means of transportation, all of which offer plenty of opportunities to end up lost, confused, and in need of help. I’ve been served a quick reminder that independence only really works when you know how to do things. I don’t know how to do things here. Not yet, anyways. I expect it will be another week at least until I find some legs to stand on, and until then, I hope I don’t fall on too many locals.

I have been devising ideas on how to begin the actual research, and am keeping an eye out for any relevant information I come across, but it will be some time before I can really get into it. It would certainly be unwise to try and dive into it before becoming more grounded in this country, not to mention my partner doesn’t get here for another week. I look forward to truly starting to work though. My imaginings of how the project will come together have gotten a lot stronger since getting my first glimpse of this country. Hopefully it’ll start becoming reality soon.

Never forget that windows are good metaphors

Never forget that windows are good metaphors

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