Friday, July 17, 2009

A Busy Day Part 2: A view of the city and a contrast

We left the busyness of the mercato and began to head to a hill where a view of the city could be seen. We had heard about this hill for the view as well as for the entoto wood carriers: ( info here and here). Sasalwi was glad to take us up and show us the whole view of his city so we made our way to the outskirts of Addis. It was nice to see trees again! Addis is not like our American cities with their avenues and parks and tree-lined streets. I was thankful for the glimpses of green. We passed lots of runners (Olympians we were told) as they raced the donkeys down the hill. Many trucks came up and down the road, honking at those trying to make it by foot. Men and women with their donkeys laden down were moving at either a jogging pace (downhill) or a walking pace (uphill).

Also, of course, were the wood (or fuel) carriers. As we went up in midday, we saw many returning from the town to their village near the woods where they collect. Their ages for the most part could not be guessed. their work had aged them I felt beyond what my eyes could estimate. They looked tired, of course, but many were walking together...still smiling, still with a spark in their eyes.

After we reached the top of the hill, we turned around and stopped to get out and look at the view of the city. I had a 10 birr note in my pocket so I handed it to a woman who had stopped to rest from her burden. She bowed so low I felt shameful. It truly wasn't that much...about one dollar. What did I do with all my money. She certainly shouldn't be bowing to me.

We got back on our car and headed down the hill and back into the city for a few more twists and turns as we see some things S. thinks would be fun to see. It certainly was although it struck me driving through place after place just how different this city was to our cities back home. A mix of old and new, make-due shacks to hold goods to sell next to gated buildings housing who knows what. Rows and rows of virtually the same thing.

Eventually we rounded a familiar corner and came to the guest house. After lunch and a short re-grouping, we were out again for our afternoon visit with Noah. There are many people there again. The French group. And it is loud inside. Dr. S. is there in her white coat speaking with the French group one by one about their children. She inquires about Oliver and assures me that a low fever is okay. I feel mostly fine. Josh is not feeling well so I hold Noah since he wants to stand.

Soon we are headed back to the guest house for another rest. Tonight there is a group going to a traditional restaurant for dinner (this is more the kind of busy days we have been waiting for!). A little while and we are back in the car.

It is late and we both feel pretty badly for keeping S. out. He never seems to mind...but I am sure he would rather be home with his family. "This one night." We tell him. "No NO! No problem!" he replies.

"The lights on the street were out as we drove down the road so everyone drives slowly. How S. knows where to turn is a mystery to me, but we turn down the road he feels best. Some man points us in a direction and we follow an alley. Soon we see men in tuxedos opening our door and ushering us into a luxurious, exotic courtyard. As we enter, music hits our ears full blast and I reach down to cover Ollie's with my scarf. L and M are spotted and we join them while we wait for the rest of our party. The wait staff moves us to our reserved spot to make room in the crowded hall. Murals adorn the tent and singers in traditional dress fill the hall with noise. Soon the rest of our party arrives. The loud sounds make conversation difficult, but we have a wonderful time." -journal

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