August 21, 2008  (home at last) 3a.m Dayton, OH

 My internal clock says I overslept, so I might as well make use of the quiet time to try to catch up on this writing. Tuesday evening I flew out of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at 10:00PM about 3:00PM Ohio time and flew home via Rome (1 hour on the ground for a change of crew) and Washington, D.C. (four hours in the airport) Thats a total of 24 hours in the air or in airports. I looked through my itinerary and in the last six weeks I've been in transit by air about 50 hours and in African buses about 45 hours. The air covered about 16,000 miles and the buses about 600 miles. Three days in Addis was quite a change to my travel and work.

I stayed there with Alistair Smith, an old acquaintance from the early 80's in Zimbabwe. He was very active in the Mountain Club of Zimbabwe at that time and our friendship developed. We spent many weekends climbing and on camping trips with Marie, Dominique, and Jacques teaching the kids a bit about the outdoors. Alistair is quite the cook, and he brought me back into the Western food chain while I was in Addis. Priscilla, Ali's wife is staying in Zimbabwe at this time, looking after their home in Harare during the political and economic crisis in that country. They have two children in university in South Africa. Alistair is with a start up organization getting into the airline catering business.

 #I'll be off to work here in in a few hours, but the early wake up permits me some time to catch up on this blog. Addis is like no other city in Africa. I guess that's true of all of them. It's uniqueness is many fold. The nation is the oldest continuously Christian nation in the world. The Coptic church came down from Egypt in the early days. There are churches hewn from rock which attract many tourists. It is a nation frequently at war with breakaway provinces, Eritrea, and its neighbors, Somalia. It has long been a member of the diplomatic community. It defeated a Western power in the nineteenth century, Italy. It's long revered Emperor Haille Sellasie was overthrown by a Marxist regime in the 80's. He ended up stuffed in a latrine. Mengistu Marim is leader of the marxists is nowin political exile in Zimbabwe, and I really don't know much about the current regime. There are expressways in the city, children sleeping on the streets, there is a history of Judaism, Falasha's, Islam, the largest open air market in Africa.

You wake to the sounds of mullahs at 4AM and go to German restaurants with micro breweries, and can drink cafe macchiado's in most coffee shops or chew qat, a mild stimulant that is shipped in from Yemen. The United Nations has many offices here and a huge conference center. Two days was only enough to scratch the surface, and a good taxi driver , Solomon helped me do that. It was the end of a three day fast in the Coptic church, feast of the Assomption of Mary. There cathedrals were filled and surrounded by thousands of women in white robes praying.

I cannot say much other than that. I sort of recovered from the previous six weeks of teaching and travel and had access to a marvelous TV and satellite network out of South Africa that costs less than half what we would pay in the US. So don't feel that your current provider is doing you any favors.

I received an email confirming that David Burcura, who I worked with in the past six weeks, will be coming to the States at the end of March and early April to do some fundraising and speaking, so I will get busy trying to organize some presentations in this area.

all the best and home at last,George

I will continue to send some dispatches out to back fill some of the dates where I had no access to internet. 


August 21, 2008
August 19, 2008
August 15, 2008
August 14, 2008
August 13, 2008
August 10, 2008
August 9, 2008
August 8, 2008
August 7, 2008
August 4, 2008
August 3, 2008
August 2, 2008
July 30, 2008
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July 27, 2008
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July 23, 2008
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June 19, 2008