Sunday, 11 December 2011

8th December 2011

Well we failed in our plight to keep the car in Ethiopia and so have travelled to the border with Kenya. The 13 hour drive was very pretty and for most of it, the road was pretty good. Only one 3-4 hour section of potholed road, which was certainly very tedious to drive.  We managed to get out of Addis easily enough, which is saying something as we have often got hopelessly lost travelling around Addis. But then we were stuck in very slow traffic for a few hours, until the road divided into the Awasha traffic (us) and the Djibouti traffic.

We passed through an entire range of scenery, starting off with the usual villages that are typical of much of Ethiopia and then passing through some very arid countryside that passes for desert land, populated with camels. We then hit an area of amazing beauty, where the lush countryside was full of banana trees and many pretty flowers (haven’t a clue what they all were). It was also an area where they grow pineapples and so I added a fresh pineapple juiced to my macchiato coffee order in the local bar. Having left the Awash area, we proceeded on through hills and mountains, stopping every now and again to take photos of the different scenes. Despite stopping at what seemed like a deserted area, within 5 seconds of stopping the car, we were surrounded by runny nosed children who seemed to be amazed at the sight of two faranjis driving through their village.

The usual. ‘you, you, you, give me money’ came crying through the air as we drove slowly through the villages and knew that we were still very much in Ethiopia.

We also stopped to buy some bananas from some local children, only to have 4 or 5 bunches thrust through the car window, along with demands for 10 or 20 Birr (40-80p). We tried to get some buna (coffee) at a few places but it seemed that the power was off in the region and so this meant that the coffee was off.

We finally arrived at Moyale at 8pm and thankfully, there was a vacant room at the hotel. It wasn’t a bad place, all things considered. The toilet and sink leaked and although there was a flushing device fitted to the loo, it didn’t look like it had ever worked. I guess the plastic jug was there instead.

We had some pasta and a couple of St Georges beer and made our way back to the room/hut, along the dark grassy path, avoiding any sleeping black mambas. Apparently, Ethiopia has quite a few snakes, not least of all, the most lethal black mamba.  

Bed bug bites = 3. Not bad, considering the enormous potential.

Additional note: Camilla texted today to tell me that one of the women we had seen in the clinic, who had a breech presentation with her first baby at 38 weeks, and who we had advised to go to hospital to have her baby, had just turned up at the health centre with a prolonged, obstructed labour and the health officer was asking what he should do. Clearly, the woman decided not to take the advice. However, since she now had no option, she was on her way to Gimbie hospital to presumably have an emergency caesarean section. I will find out whether they made it OK and report back. This is exactly what I was fearful of; it’s all very well giving advice, but if women choose not to take it (for whatever reasons), the advice is of little value. This is an aspect of the study I was hoping to complete during my stay here, but I am not sure whether I will have time.

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