Monday, September 10th
Today was my first day at the office. I am working with with an NGO here to document project success stories, write concept notes on how to scale-up some existing projects and if time permits write an article or two on the strengths and weaknesses of some of the work. Everyone has been very kind and welcoming and I’m looking forward to talking more with them, especially those who I corresponded with over e-mail back in Ottawa. It’s nice putting a face, voice and personality to a name and e-mails.
Today also happens to be my birthday! Yippeee! Before I knew I was coming here, I had planned on doing something with my sis since she’s a September baby too. When I found out I’d be here for my bday, well I didn’t know what I’d do to celebrate, if anything at all. But I figured being in Ethiopia was cool enough.
The day turned out to be wonderful. Since it was my first day, Dr. M treated me to lunch. I mentioned it was my bday as we were already eating since she asked how old I was. Not satisfied with having just treated me to a delectable meal of chicken, and rice that resembled Jollof, salad, soup and fist kofta, she bought me a sweet card on our way back to the office and surprised me with a birthday cake. It was a great way to celebrate New Year’s Eve, a few of my new colleagues said. A sweet way to ease me into all the reading I’m going to have to do in the next few days as well.
Tonight I met up with MM and JM for a spontaneous and thrilling evening of cultural singing and dancing at Habesha Restaurant. We had planned on going somewhere else but were enticed by the long driveway with a canopy of trees and green string lights as we walked by and so went in to check it out.
Ethiopian dancing is incredible. How can I explain it? Shoulder shaking up and down and forward and back with impeccably controlled sternum popping, accented with forward and back thrusts of the neck and whipping of the hair back and forth. It was Willow Smith-esque but less rocker-like. Beyonce could learn a thing or two from these girls- and guys for that matter whose movements were equally as energetic, precise and captivating. When I wasn’t speechless and on the edge of my seat, I was leaning over to MM, projecting over the singing and clapping, “Do you see this?”
Ahhhh I loved it!
Sometimes having no plan is the best of all. Happy New Year – Melkom Adis Amet!