We're all settled back into life here in Addis Ababa. It feels great to be back to "normality", and starting to create a home together.
We enjoyed a really relaxing and refreshing August back in Ireland an Southampton. We spent just over two weeks in each, catching up with family and friends and visiting supporters. One of Sian's supporting churches is in Cornwall, where she is from, so we were able to go down there for a week, staying with her friends, and enjoying seeing around the beautiful coastline. It was my first time visiting Cornwall, and it was lovely to see around it with someone "local"! It was lovely to spend the summer with friends and family on both sides but I think by the end of the summer; we were both longing for a bit of routine again, and keen to get back to normal life, at least as normal as possible in Addis!
It is great to be settling into our new house here in Addis. We are living in a relatively nice neighbourhood, very close to Sian's work and shops. The three girls who live in the back of the compound are very friendly and have included us in their celebrations of the various Ethiopian holidays that passed last month. We arrived a few days before the new year celebrations according to the Ethiopian calendar, so we enjoyed a great home cooked meal! A few weeks later, the celebration of Meskel was happening, and we had the same again, as well as going to see the festivities in the main area of the city. It is wonderful to have these girls living with us, please pray for us in our interactions with them. We are also getting to know our two guards, Birhanu and Fikru, as well as enjoying the company of our dog, Max. It is a blessing to have a house with such a lovely compound around it, and we are looking forward to enjoying our garden more in the warmer, drier months.
Max likes to try his luck at getting in the house..
I'm settling back into life back at Bingham. This year, I only have one class to teach; which makes up roughly one hour of class a day. It means that I have much more time to invest in things that I'm passionate about; namely working in the IT department and improving systems there, and spending more time with the students outside of formal settings. I am really excited about the prospects of this year; I'm already planning out what I can accomplish this year with in the computer department, and how I can get alongside the students more.
We've started football season this year, we'll be doing practises on most Saturdays. I've put my name down to help coach the older students team; which I had felt the last couple of years that I didn't have time to commit to. This year, I'm really excited to be taking on the challenge. There are a number of new students at Bingham this year who will be good additions to the team, and I'm really excited about being fully involved this year. Please pray for me as I coach the students; that I can build relationships and for good conversations. I am also planning to start climbing club up again in the coming weeks. I know that its a real blessing to many of the students!
At the beginning of October, Sian and I travelled to Langano to attend the wedding of one of our Ethiopian friends, Zenebu, who works at the camp with Brian. He was to get married in Awassa, and Sian and I only had the weekend to travel there and back. We stayed with Brian and Laura on the Friday night, and travelled together to Awassa on the Saturday morning. Brian had mentioned to Zenebu that due to safety concerns, we would have to leave on the Saturday to get back to Addis so the wedding would need to be on time. Nevertheless, the bride and groom arrived at the church a full three hours late. We were able to attend the ceremony, but didn't manage to get any food! Hours later, we arrived back in Addis tired and hungry. These are always cultural learning experiences, but they can be frustrating!!
Two weeks ago was activities week. As I've written about before, this is a week where individual classes in middle school and high school travel to different parts of the country and engage in various social and community projects; aiming to help out needy projects, and to teach the students about the importance and joys of serving. I was assigned to the Grade 9 trip to Mekelle in the North of the country, to work with the SIM youth centre up there. It was a really excellent trip up there, I enjoyed getting to know the grade 9 class for the first time, as well as catching up with many of the youth centre staff that I know. The Bingham students spent some time doing community service projects at the centre, painting and cleaning, as well as enjoying time with the students.
Painting lines on the court
Last week I had a week off school for October break. Unfortunately, Sian's holidays do not follow the same schedule, so she was working. I spent the week doing DIY jobs around the house. The plus side of this is that I'm getting quite a lot of practice at DIY: my plumbing, roofing, and gardening skills are all being improved by the fairly steady list of issues that appear. On the Friday night, however, we were able to take a quick trip out of Addis for a night of camping. Its lovely being able to get out of the city so easily and breath in the fresh air!
Going for a hike after camping
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