Follow the star

I’m now completely moved from my apartment, for the moment, I have moved to the smaller one they assigned me. It is very small, and I am quite glad to only be staying temporarily here. I thought that I would stay on compound until after christmas, as there is a lot here that I am involved in. Come January, I’ll make the move off compound and into Brian’s <strike>farm</strike> house. I’m quite looking forward to it, it will enable me to see so much more of the city and Addis life, rather than the American/Canadian/New Zealand/Australian community at Bingham. One of the I.T. technicians who works at Bingham is now living in Brian’s ikabait (literally translated as “house of stuff”, basically an outhouse) which means that I will be able to get a taxi in with him in the mornings and home again. Which will mean I’ll have someone to share the ride with, and will help with getting used to the taxi route.

Last night, the Bingham annual Christmas banquet was held. It is essentially a prom event for the older pupils of the school. It is organised primarily by the parents of the pupils, and a lot of work is put into it each year. I bought a suit to attend for 600 birr or £30. Not bad. The parents had put a nativity theme into the evening, 3 of the parents had dressed up as wise men. The sports hall had been decorated by the art teachers and looked beautiful. They had used large sheets hung up and cut out black cardboard into various christmas shapes that they stapled to the sheets. They shone spotlights behind the sheets to create a sillouette effect, which looked very convincing. After the dinner and games, during which Brian MC’d, we had some performances from the students, who sang some songs. Amanda, who was in charge of organising the performers, had been a little short of performers so I volunteered to sing and play the guitar. Judging by people’s reactions, it wasn’t too bad. After the acts, the three wise men told us all to “Follow the star! Bring your gifts for the King!”, where they had a star on a pole that we all followed into the assembly hall where they had made a nativity scene. We had been told to bring small wrapped gifts that we then exchanged in groups. Gift exchange was done in a slightly different way, whereby each person in a group of about 20 was given a number, and everyone put their gift into the center. In order of the numbers given at the start, people can choose to pick a gift from the middle, or take a gift that someone has already opened. If one is taken from somebody, they then get to either pick a new gift, or take another person’s. This continues until the last gift is taken and everyone has a gift. Somehow, World War 3 didn’t break out and everyone left peacefully.
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Brian in traditional Ethiopian outfit

<img src=”http://deniall.x10hosting.com/coppermine/albums/bingham/followstar/normal_CIMG3614.jpg&#8221; />

Following the star…

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Two of the three wise men.

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Exchanging gifts

<a href=”http://deniall.x10hosting.com/coppermine/thumbnails.php?album=11″>More pictures…</a>

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Niall

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