After a spectacularly prolific October, November flew through my hands leaving no trace of it on my blog. Where the hell does time go?
I’m (still) settling in, this still kinda feels like an extended vacation, I’m getting to know the frustrating and extremely unreliable transportation; while adopting an Ethiopian attitude about it – I’ll get there when I get there. I’m getting to know how my students learn, and trying to figure out how the communication within the circle of teachers works (I keep walking into the school to learn that today, there is a club I’m running, or a test I need to give, or a meeting after school…..things I think I should know in advance.) Maybe by next year I’ll know what to expect?
For Thanksgiving I went to Jimma. Seeing people outside the Metu loop was great, plus it’s about 75 degrees here, and there was a pool!!!! (If you don’t know, back home swimming was my thing – at least twice a week for the past few years.) Swimming was absolutely magical. I was able to completely ignore everything and just be.
A sour note at the end of that trip was when I was a complete ******** idiot, and dropped my laptop. I’m pretty sure it’s just the screen that was broken…I’ll know more soon. On the upside, I have some absolutely amazing friends, who completely humble me with their support of my craziness, and they have already started helping me figure out how to fix it. (I seriously love you guys.)
So now that you’re caught up, on to the post.
As I was on the bus this morning from my site to my hub town, I had the random thought “who the **** thought I was qualified to do this?” And then I realized, it was me. Well then.
Transportation in Ethiopia is an experience. One that is making me a better person….stronger person??….more patient?? I’m not sure, but it’s definitely forcing me to handle sht differently. Sometimes literally. More frequently it’s vomit though. Sht has (luckily) been rare.
Sometimes chickens roam freely on a large bus. Sometimes they’re strapped to the top. Sometimes the person next to you pukes… I’ve only puked once on a bus so far, and it was somewhat self induced. Lesson learned.
The craziest story I’ve heard thus far was about a mother, who thinking (correctly) that the bus was going to crash, tossed her toddler out of the window to save it. The kid survived, but I think had a broken leg? Not 100% sure about the kid’s injuries, but everyone definitely survived.
The buses leave when they are full and arrive at the station when they do. There is no real schedule, and time is seen as subjective and fluid here.
Another American assumption that does not hold – seats are not for a set number of people. They are for as many people as can be crammed into them. A bajaj with 3 seats in the back and one in front for the driver? I’ve seen (and been one of) 9 passengers. A “mini bus” for 12? I’ve been one of 27. The larger buses….cram as many people in as you can. Hold on!
An unfortunate addition to this is that some people think fresh air brings diseases to you (??)….so unless you’ve staked out a window, settle in for a long, hot ride.
As I said in the intro, I’m thankfully relaxing and getting the hang of the transportation “system”. I made it to Jimma and back by myself, which definitely helped me with feeling like “I can do this!” thing.
(*about thelittle three wheeled vehicle, and a kit-kit is a type of bus.)