Out of Addis, and into my rural training site in Tigray with my host family. For confidentiality reasons, I will not be posting the town I am in or pictures of my family (yet, at least…I need some type of waiver form). We flew into Mekelle and checked out our awesome regional office before heading over to meet our host family.
Tigray is the northernmost region of Ethiopia. It is a drier region than most of the country, which I would liken to southwest USA or Nevada. Some of the villages remind me of those I saw driving through Jordan. (Please excuse my formatting as I am doing this on my phone since there is no wifi.)
I arrived Thursday with literally zero knowledge of Tigrinyan. It made the first night painfully quiet, but my host family is really amazing. Top class hospitality and food made me feel welcomed in an unfamiliar environment. After coffee, I took a walk with my little host sister and neighbor (also very young) to look around the village a bit and meet some of the people I will be living with the next eleven weeks. I pretty soon had my own entourage of little kids following me and holding my hand, or at least trying to hold my hand. Parents sure are trusting to allow their kids to walk around with the new guy! Just wish the family dog would trust me…
Fortunately I am now starting to learn the language and can actually speak to my family a little bit, even if it is just to practice. My host sister who knows some English has also been a great help. One funny moment was when they explained to me that the third cup of coffee in the coffee ceremony is called the “baracka” and I compared it to Barack Obama. They laughed like it was the funniest thing they had ever heard. There were many other cultural differences I have witnessed thus far, but this post is already getting long enough. As always, feel free to ask me questions.
Things are starting off great, and it seems like it can only get better from here. I’ve already somewhat mastered the shint bet and how to bucket bathe, which were some of the major adjustments, so it kinda has to get better by default. The blog is going to be tricky with my current internet situation. It seems I can upload pics and posts only at night when I magically gain 4G internet. For now, I’ll just have to enjoy my time here without worrying about what to post.