Salom!

28 05 2011

Salom! Greetings from Ethiopia! My 68 fellow PCV/T (Peace Corps Volunteer/Trainees) have landed safely in the capitol city, Addis Ababa. After approximately 27 hours of waiting in airports, flying, and waiting some more, we arrived at the King’s Hotel in Addis. King’s Hotel is a very American style hotel, as we were served ‘hamburgers’ and ‘french fries’ when we arrived late on Wednesday. This hotel also has running water (even hot) with showers (with no door?), flat screen TV with a few English speaking channels, wireless internet in the lobby (sketchy connection), and American food (a considerate attempt) available at our buffet style meals three times daily. The staff here at the hotel could not be friendlier. With every passing in the hallway, we are guaranteed a smile and a ‘hello’ or ‘salom’. We all feel very welcome!

Who is ‘we’, you may ask. There are 69 of us in our training group, one of the largest numbers of PCV to enter a country at one time for training. I am proud to say that I now know EVERYONE’s name! I was put in charge of collecting everybody’s email addresses (imagine that, me?! J) to send out a collective email to our group (Group 5, or G5). I was able to meet everyone during this project. The prospective Volunteers are so diverse, coming from all over the United States (including another girl from Kansas!) and having very diverse backgrounds. It is so cool to hear the different stories of how we got here and its fun learning about each other, how different we are, but yet, how many similarities we share. It seems that the most common similarity between us all is that we were not originally ‘supposed’ to come to an East African country, leaving in May 2011. Although, another commonality is that we agree that this is where we were ‘supposed’ to be, in a sense. Meaning that ‘everything happens for a reason’, and we are all ecstatic for this opportunity to be here in Ethiopia, with so many different people, working towards common goals.

Speaking of common goals, the PC (Peace Corps) has three goals that promote world peace and friendship.
1. Helping people of interested countries in meeting their needs for trained men and women.
2. Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the people served.
3. Helping promote a better understanding of other people on the part of Americans.
To expand on this, our goal #1 is to help countries that ASK the PC in the areas that the country officials believe need to be addressed. Goal #2 is to promote the image of an American citizen, and goal #3 is to educate Americans about foreign people and cultures. An example of goal #3: I’ve had a few people ask me already if it was freaking hot here. The answer is no. Ethiopia is a very diverse county geographically. Due to its wide range of altitudes, Ethiopia experiences extremely varied climates, including cold mountains, temperate highlands, and hot deserts. Normally, the rainy season lasts from June to mid-September, preceded by intermittent showers from February to May; the remainder of year is generally dry. So right now, its 65-80 degrees with overcast clouds every day and the occasional shower.

My PCV/T group has been busy with getting to know each other, trainings, interviews (so PC staff can get to know us), and will start basic language (Amharic) training today! I learned yesterday that I will be placed in Assela, Ethiopia for community-based training (CBT). Assela is a larger city and is one of the zonal capitols of the of the Oromiya region and will be the ‘hub’ town for training. On ‘hub’ days, all of G5 will come together in Assela for large group trainings. There will be 10 of us in Assela for trainings, while other volunteers are spread out in towns and cities located around Assela.

We haven’t been able to go outside of the hotel much, if at all, so far, because we don’t know the language and how to get around yet. We have a bus tour of Addis scheduled for Sunday afternoon that I am very excited about. I hope to get some good pictures to share with all of you!

That being said, I’d like to know what is going on with YOU too! Please send me messages on Facebook, emails, hand-written letters, and now you can even CALL me! I purchased a phone yesterday and calls from you to my phone are free (for me J).

Thank you for ALL of the love and support that you’ve shown me over the past few months as I was preparing to leave and for the support that you will continue to share. It makes it so much easier to be here knowing that I have people back home that believe in me and what I have decided to do, be a successful Peace Corps Volunteer J

Until next time,

Bailey (PCV/T)

Peace Corps/Ethiopia

PO Box 7788

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Bcrandall5@hotmail.com

Skype – bcrandall5

Phone Number – 251922452298 (not sure how to dial to Ethiopia from the US, lol)

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27 months in Ethiopia… Ready or not :)

21 05 2011

Hello All!

Thanks for reading!

Tomorrow morning, I will be getting on a plane in Garden City, Kansas, and flying to Atlanta, Georgia for Peace Corps Staging. I am very, VERY excited about what is to come 🙂

Thanks to all of you, friends and family, who have believed in me throughout this process of becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer. I could not have done this without you!

I promise that my blog will get better, but for now, this will have to do.

Love you ALL!

bailey