(The picture above is of Mettu) 

Site visit!

This is a week, sometime during PST (Pre-service training) when we go and see where we’ll be living for the next two years.
(Monkeys are like squirrels here, but more destructive. And shyer.)

There are three main languages in Ethiopia: Amharic, Oromo and Tigrinya. Oromo is spoken by the highest number of people, living in Oromia – a swath of land through the middle (west to the center, around Addis) and then south east of the country. Amharic and Tigrinya are cousin languages, both using Fidel script, spoken in Amhara and Tigray respectively. (Amharic is also the main/official language for SNNPR (Southern Nations), and is the official language of the country.) I’m headed to Oromia, so I’ve been learning Afan Oromo. 

My site is a tiny village near-ish Mettu, in the Illu Babour region of Oromia. (West/ Central Oromia). It is FAR from Addis. Those of us around Mettu – our regional office is in Jimma. Jimma is 65%ish Amharic speakers and 35%ish Oromo, but people who speak Oromo are always thrilled when we ferengis (foreigners) speak it, so that’s fun. Jimma is a day’s travel away, but I get to meet up with great people there, so it’ll be worth it. (Volunteers in the Keffa region of Southern nations are centered in Jimma too.)

(I found apples!!!! But they’re so so so expensive.)
Site visit was stressful, and incredibly helpful. The best part was meeting the PCVs already in the area. Because of events that happened in Ethiopia last year, everyone currently serving in Peace Corps Ethiopia was given the opportunity to go home and receive “interrupted service”. What this means for me? Everyone who is here, really wants to be. I get to join an amazing community of people. 

Over the past few months I’ve felt my standards changing – for almost everything. Hotel rooms, cell phone use, coffee, clothes, restaurants… food diversity… but after coming back to our training site we all realized where we are right now is not rural. We’re all about to go through another big lifestyle change. Again. This time for two years. So we’ll see how that goes. 

My home for the next two years! My land lady is a gem. She’s absolutely fantastic. 

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13 thoughts on “Site Visit! 

    1. Bus. A variety of buses that have a significantly different standard than the US. It’s a “how many people can we cram in” system, not “how many seats are there?”. More like subways than buses. Also, I think I can make it to Jimma in a day, but I definitely can’t get back. It takes two days.

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  1. Looking at your picture of the fruit – what are the green things on the green basket, in front of the watermelon? Potatoes, pineapples, artichokes?

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    1. They have some funky name I can’t remember because I think of them as the “dragon egg” fruit. I’ve heard they’re good! Also, the apples there are super expensive. Super super expensive. They’re new to the area. You can get 3 bananas for 1 birr, but then 5 apples are 70 birr. (In dollars they’re still cheap because 27 birr is 1 USD but based on what I’m making…it’s expensive. Also, 1 beer is 10-15 birr, so that’s fun :).

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  2. Ack! Monkeys! Did I tell you I was in college in Paris with 2 of Haile Selassi’s grandchildren – Princesses! They spoke Amharic, so I thought that was the only language in the country. I’ve never heard of the other two. What are the Southern Nations?

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    1. Hooooly cow! That’s interesting! “Southern Nations”, aka SNNPR is a large collection of small tribes. There are so so so many local languages in the region. (I want to say over 80, but it might be more). My friends in Jimma loop (with me) but not Oromia are in Keffa, which is a part of southern nations. They’re hearing Amharic, occasionally, and then hearing Keffinya most of the time.

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  3. Tony: I’m sure it is excited to see the place you would be living in for maybe next two years. When would you be finishing up the training programs and moving to the new place? Is the school you will be working in nearby your house? (Its all for this ESL thing. Don’t take it too seriously)

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    1. Hi Tony!!
      I’m swearing into the Peace Corps tomorrow. That’s when I become a real volunteer, and it’s the end of training for now. (I also get to give a speech I’ll post here later. I’m super excited.) I leave for my site/town/school on Saturday, but I won’t get there until Tuesday. (It takes two days to get to my site from Addis, but I’m staying an extra night in Jimma on the way.)
      The school is a 30min walk from my house. I’m going to get a bike – I’ll let you know how that goes.

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  4. Thank you for the update and for your service. You are an amazing young lady! I beam with a wonderful sense of pride when I relay your adventures to friends and family. Blessings and safe journeying.
    With love and admiration,
    Mr.A

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  5. Wow! Mari you are so amazingly flexible and ready to serve others.. I love you for that so much. You will gain enormously from doing this as will the people you serve. I am sure you will learn as much from them as they will from you. Thanks for the beautiful pictures too! These blogs help all of us to see the beauty of Africa too!

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  6. So happy to recieve this little snipit into your world! You and your mates are such adventurous ones! I miss you and so look forward to the next glimpse into your adventure! 💜

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