Thursday, May 16, 2013



Being a camp guru is exhausting.

I've wanted to hold a mini camp for awhile, so just before Easter I sat down with a counterpart to start planning. We determined that camp should be in June, not August.

This means a lot of running around doing quick planning. But in this week we managed to get together a budget, submit our grant, order t-shirts, find a location (a old recreation center that recently reopened, who also has plans in the future for a swimming place. I swear, Huruta is the best site ever) and get permission for a field trip to Adama University with lunch included.

Now we just have to plan our sessions and select girls to attended.

I'm actually really excited for camps. I'm helping with two this summer, a massive multi-PCV event in Bekoji come the second week of July and my Huruta local one the third week in June. Both are GLOW camps, Girls Leading Our World. In Bekoji, we're focusing on girls just finishing grades 8th and 9th. In Huruta, it's all 12th graders and it's a university prep camp.

There are 64 girls in 12th grade. Maybe 32 will pass into university. And according to national stats, 22 of those girls will drop out during their first year. I'm hoping to reduce that number, obviously. Hopefully it works.

But it all comes down to this crazy planning. Gotta talk to a doctor this week, see if he wants to volunteer to do a session of family planning. And pay for the shirts. Finish reading that life skills manual. Do some research.

Can't wait for my vacation at the end of June.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Running in Hawassa

Today was one of those hot days where you don't sweat, your skin just gets tight. So of course I sign up to do a race.

The EveryOne race was this morning and I did the 7km. I can't believe I did it, it's not like I trained for it, just did my regular twice a week workout.  But I managed to do it in 44 minutes!

It wasn't a bad run. Fought with a tree at the start line and got scratched up enough where a girl gave me Kleenex to stop the blood, and 7km was a lot longer than I thought it would be.  But by the second half I got into a stride, stopped to walk less often.  Might have had something to do with the fact that part was on a cross-country trail along the lake. Shade is awesome, let me tell you.

Running here was weird, most of the volunteers stuck out. I got so many people passing me saying bravo or hitting me on the back.  I could do without the touching, there was even one guy who tried to get me and his girlfriend to hold hands while running. Got a lot of attention from kids, they liked running with me. Some of them were impressive, they did the kid run in the morning and then had no issue merging in with the 7k runners.

I had wanted to sprint across the finish line, but the homestretch was a slow incline and I really couldn't bring myself to much for than an extended stride. I was so spent, one of the volunteers gave me two bags of water.

And really bags of waters are kinda crazy.  And when the half way water point isn't really at the halfway point, you get your hopes up so much.

I have to say, being in a hotel room higher than I would normally pay was nice just for the extra large shower. Best shower ever.

For not really training for this, I feel really proud that I did it. NaNo during finals season proud. I might only have a t-shirt and a 'congrats you finished' pamphlet instead of a 50K novel, but it's the same type of accomplished feeling.

We'll see if I do it next year when the time comes, but I'm glad I signed up.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Addis Fun Time with Debra and Melissa

I spent three glorious days in Addis.  In the past, I've only gone for Peace Corps business, so this was my first time to simply spend time in the city with friends. Melissa was in town for a dentist appointment, and Debra to pick her sister up from the airport to start her trip here.

The journey into Addis was a bit of an adventure. Sunday was Ethiopian Easter and I wasn't too sure if buses would run so I was at the station at 6 am.  Morning buses usually aren't interrupted, it's the mid-day ones that are, and the buses made good time due to little traffic. I was in Addis city proper by 11.

We had a grand ole time just exploring the city and having good food. We went to a Canadian place that took the theme to the extreme (the bacon cheeseburger was called Ottawa Senators), and discovered a Jamaican Grill that had the best jerk chicken I've ever tasted. We almost witnessed a drug deal, which we figured just added to the atmosphere: good food, music that reminded me of playing laser tag, and weed smoke.  Also had some really good Korean food, made double good by the fact that a Korean doctor joined in on our pre-food Uno game and then said we made excellent choices for lunch.  There was also a lot of sweets: cheesecake (twice), brownies, ice cream, and a chocolate version of Candyland Melissa got in a care package.

I loved just having the time to walk/bus around Addis, get to know it more and find things to do that weren't near the two hotels Peace Corps uses or the office. I feel more comfortable going there now, where as before I hated going into the city. But as Debra and I hopped from guest house to guest house (Melissa got put up in a hotel by Peace Corps, whose free wifi we used a couple of times) I now know several cheap places to stay, how to get there, and know what to do in the area.

It was a glorious vacation, a nice get out of Huruta trip and see friends type of deal.  I even felt good after getting to Huruta, despite it taking two hours for me to get from my hotel to the bus station and previous such journeys.