Archive for February, 2008

9th Grade Retreat

February 11, 2008

The last week has been fairly relaxed. Grades 10, 11 and 12 are busy doing Mock exams, so I have about half of my timetable free. This will continue for another week. I’m not looking forward to it going back to the regular timetable!

On Wednesday of last week we invited the Horizon Street boys over to Bingham to watch a video. We showed them “Evan Almighty”, a modern comedy about the story of Noah’s Ark. The kids obviously didn’t understand the dialog, but were able to laugh at some of the visual jokes. One of the Ethiopian Bingham workers who is heavily involved with the Horizon Project shared with them after the movie what it was about, and the whole story from the Bible. We took them out for dinner afterwards. The funny thing was that, having not seen a drop of rain for months, while we were watching a movie about a flood, we had the largest downpour of rain since I arrived in this country. For the entire time the movie was running, there was thunder and lightning and extremely heavy rain. Once the movie was finished, it cleared up again.

On Thursday afternoon, my soccer kids had a game against another school. It was at Bingham, but unfortunately, for the second time in a row, the referee didn’t show up. That left it up to one of us to referee the match, I said I would do it for one half and one of their coaches could do it for the second half, but they said that I should just do it for the whole match. I reluctantly agreed, which was a mistake. The first half was fine, and we finished the half level at 2-2. However, the rain clouds were coming again for another downpour which happened shortly into the second half. I was totally unequipped for the weather, and was wearing my glasses which promptly fogged up. I could hardly see 2 feet in front of me, let alone referee a football match, so it was not fun. Apparently, their team got away with murder at times, however, my guys held out for a draw which I was glad about, and I went back in to dry off. I had brought a change of clothes, fortunately, for indoor football that evening.

This weekend, I joined a number of the other teachers on another retreat for a class, this time the 9th grade class. We were heading to an area called Babogya, an SIM owned compound for missionary chill out time. It had recently undergone renovations, and wasn’t strictly open yet, so we took tents to camp there. I was hoping that the rain had finished again for the next month or two. Fortunately, the weather was great.

Babogya is a medium sized lake very close to Debra Zeit, where the Ethiopian Air force Officer’s Swimming pool is that I’ve written about a few times. The SIM compound lies on the side of this lake, and the situation could not be more picturesque. The lake is very clean, we swam in it a lot during the weekend, and the surrounding area and plants make it one of the nicest places I’ve visited in Ethiopia. The kids spent their free time swimming, fishing and generally chilling. We had a number of study sessions, studying the life of Jesus, trying to get them to answer the question: “Who do you say I am?” My small group certainly seemed to enjoy the time and joined in the discussion well.

During a pitch-dark walk home from dinner on Saturday night, we were feeling our way down the steps. Unfortunately, they changed direction. As I was leading, I was the one who had to fall down the drop where the steps should have been. Thankfully, it was something that we could all laugh at; I just wish I’d seen it. Brian insisted we took a picture the next day of the distance I fell in the dark.

These chairs are situated on outside the main building on the compound.

This is the view they have. It’s no wonder it’s the perfect chill out spot.

Other photos here.

Bye from Addis,

Niall

Field Day 2008

February 1, 2008

So I’ve been a while to post again on this, sorry about that. Things are really getting busy here. I’ve got a large number of classes each week, and have a lot of preparation to do for each of them. Any free time I get during school hours I try to prepare for upcoming days so that, as much as possible, my evenings are free. I’m involved with coaching the Junior Varsity soccer team also, (really good fun; they won their first match yesterday!) who practise on Mondays and Thursdays and have matches on some Tuesdays. On Monday evening, I have volleyball, Wed evening is street ministry and Thursday evenings we’ve started indoor soccer. So my schedule is totally full and I am beginning to find myself losing energy. It is hard to decide what to cut out of my schedule though.

Other than being totally busy, things are going well here. I’m loving the new living situation, I’ve seen more of the city in the last 2 or 3 weeks than I did in the first 3 months I was here. It really improves your Amharic also, and its really great to have roommates!!! Living in this house is all good, I’ve even gotten used to the noise made by the church next door. Which is a good job too, cause last night they started up at 1am, and finished up around 7am. It doesn’t bother me, but Brian can’t sleep at all when they are making noise. Not really surprising; I’ve recorded a sample of the singing that we hear often at very early hours of the morning. Take a listen!!!

On Friday and Saturday of this week, we had Sports day or Field day as they call it at Bingham. One of my students had designed and programmed a computer scoring system for the day, so that as race results came in, they could be entered into the computer which automatically totalled house points etc. This was essentially my job, ensuring the program ran smoothly. Most of the time it did, with one or two hiccups. We were able to set up the computers in one of the Toukles that Bingham has beside the sports field. Which meant that I was able to stay out of the sun for the day and didn’t get sunburnt like some of the other staff. On Saturday there was a staff relay, which was good fun also.

On Sunday, we went back to the Ghion to chill, and went to chuch in the evening in a small church service that has recently started. It is organised and run by the family of one of my students. It is really low key, simple and warm. Unlike Beza or IEC, you feel like you’re missed if you’re not there. I’m hoping to help out the musicians with some bongo playing.

Monday was a day of errands, as Bingham was closed for the day; Monday was a holiday because field day was on Saturday. We visited the dreaded Merkato again, I needed to buy some new shoes. I went determined not to get ripped off this time, and adament to do some good haggling. I was able to buy two pairs of shoes, and got them down from the asking price quite a bit, in particular the second pair which I picked up for 130 birr, about £6, where the guy was obviously desparate for the sale. If you make like you’re not interested, get up to walk away, they usually give in.