Blog Entry Week 5- Sunday 10/5 to Saturday 10/12
I learned how to make tibbs this week! Mesky (she and her husband Nate both work for AAI and live on the volunteer house compound) cooked dinner together last Sunday and she taught me how to make tibbs and soup. Tibbs is a meat dish and is by far my favorite traditional Ethiopian food! Coking has been one of the things that I have missed since being here so it was a lot of fun cooking with someone else. Plus Mesky doesn't measure any ingredients and she liked that I didn't ask her how much of anything she put in either of the dishes! Before I leave she is going to watch me cook the dish so I can practice before I leave. Hopefully I can figure out all of the spices she uses because none of them are labeled and since she has lived in Ethiopia her whole life she doesn't know English names for any of them! Good thing I have a cookbook with a tibbs recipe in it (thanks Sarah Kimsey-Sauro)!
Last Monday I taught religion with one of the teachers from Layla and Megan (one of the other volunteers). Teaching the class arose after talking with the religion teacher about how some of the kids don't want to dance because of their religion. Fist, I talked about the Protestant Reformation and how Protestants split from the Catholic Church. Thankfully, I had just taken a class on the Protestant Reformation and just had to refresh my memory via Wikipedia! Then I talked about the different Protestant religions and a little bit about Methodists (since that is my religion). The kids had a lot of great questions and we discussed whether or not singing and dancing was sinful in my religion and other Protestant religions. I don't know if any of them changed their minds but hearing that it's not sinful in other Christian religions made them think a little bit.
Also on Monday 3 kids from Kidane Miheret (an orphanage in Addis that AAI organizes adoptions for) came to the volunteer house before being escorted home. When adoptive parents can't come all the way to Ethiopia to pick up their children, they can arrange for someone from AAI to escort their children to the States. The other volunteers and I fed them dinner and played with them before their escort came to pick them up. They were really excited to get soda and play games with us. I taught the youngest (a girl about 8) how to use the paint program on the computer. She thought it was amazing and wanted me to draw snakes in every color available!
Teaching at Layla this week has been a lot of fun! Megan brought some amazing stuff with her including a parachute that we started using this week with the toddlers and Group 1A (ages 6 to 9). The toddlers loved it- mostly because we just sat them in the middle and moved it around them. But the house moms (they work in Wanna House with the babies and toddlers) were helping us and they thought it was a lot of fun too! Group 1A thought it was a lot of fun as well but we found that it was hard to explain that they couldn't run across it when they wanted to pick up one of the balls on the parachute! Megan also brought modeling clay and we have been using that in activities class for the week. The kids loved making animals and dinosaurs! Then they figured out that the clay bounced so all they made were balls. We also substituted for music on Friday and taught the kids musical chairs. It was hilarious! The kids absolutely loved it and it was so much fun to see them get excited about a new game. Although, I never realized that musical chairs could be so competitive!
By far the funniest thing that happened this week was in America class. We talked about theme parks and that turned in to different attractions in America like Zoos, water parks and family fun centers, which somehow turned in to the food that you eat at said parks. Anna and I then tried to explain elephant ears which did not go well. The kids looked at us with the most confused looks on their faces and were asking questions like "An actual elephant ear?" and "A fried piece of injera?" These questions and confused faces prompted Anna to say "Well, it's basically a fried piece of bread covered with butter, cinnamon and sugar. So it's really not good for you but people eat them which is probably why Americans are fat". I thought that this comment was hilarious and started laughing so hard I almost cried but the kids still didn't understand what elephant ears were… so we had to move on to trying to explain a roller coaster. Somehow that went much better!
On Saturday Megan and I visited Kidane Miheret. When we got there it suddenly struck me that I was at an orphanage. The whole feeling that I got when I was there was much different than at Layla. This should be obvious since Layla is and adoption agency notan orphanage, but for some reason I didn't think the difference would be so striking. The kids at Kidane were starving for attention and before I knew it I was surrounded by kids asking me questions, wanting to hug me and just touch me. After I giving out lots of hugs I sat with some of the kids and they all leaned on me. They were all so sweet and patient with me while I tried to learn their names and I recited all the words I knew in Amharic (I can now say 17 words!). The hardest part wasn't leaving, it was the questions they asked and what they told me. A few of the kids asked me if I had a mother and a father and after saying yes one girl asked me if they wanted to adopt any children because she wanted a family. It was very hard to explain that no, my parents don't want to adopt any children and no I can't adopt any children either. Those types of questions never come up at Layla and I was not prepared to answer them. Even though the visit was a difficult experience for me, I have never felt so needed so I will be going back with Megan this Saturday. Hopefully, I can get some of the pictures I took there developed before then!
After our visit to Kidane, Megan and I needed some relaxation! So on Sunday all of the volunteers went to the pool at the Ghion Hotel. It's on the opposite side of town (it takes 2 minibuses to get there) but the travel time was worth it! We all had a great time laying in the sun and swimming. Alan and Mark also jumped off the highest platform to cheers from other onlookers at the pool. After the pool we walked down Bole Road and found an AMAZING Chinese food restaurant. We all agreed it was by far the best Chinese food any of us had ever had. It was a very relaxing way to end the week!