We have moved twice in our time in Ethiopia. When we first arrived in Ethiopia we lived in a large town in the north, Mekele. As Chris’ work evolved we moved after six months to the capital, Addis Ababa. Excited by the opportunities the city promised we found a central place to live. This time in an apartment not too far from Chris’ office. As our time in Ethiopia grew we felt as if we needed to grow too, and the concrete walls of our apartment were getting way too small. To stretch our wings we found a nice small house in Bole, another central suburb of Addis Ababa. We asked Bella (a street dog living in front of our apartment building) if she would like to join us in our new place, thankfully she wholeheartedly agreed. We also employed two guards and a cook/cleaner, ripped up the grass, planted vegetables and flowers everywhere and tried to settle in.
Before we came to Ethiopia it was difficult to imagine what life might be like here. What would the accommodation be like? What sort of food might be available? On a daily basis, life is not dissimilar to Australia, with a few exceptions. For us we have had to adjust to daily changes such as having guards and cleaners in our lives (they have definitely helped, but we are not used to having people around all the time), razor wire, domestic livestock on the front lawn, a different language and way of doing things. We drink from a large container of bought water; we shower beneath a hot water tank plugged into the wall near the shower outlet; our water pressure is gravity; we brush our teeth from bottled water; and grocery shopping includes a minimum of 3 stores. If we want many of the things we are used to I have to make it. I have become adept at finding or making up recipes for things like tomato relish (particularly when we had too many tomatoes coming from our garden); jam; mango chutney; bread; ice cream; muesli bars; and, dog food. But, I have fallen in love with the simplicity of life here.
For three years we lived in Ethiopia with the bare necessities. It is only in the last 12 months I felt the need to make it feel like we lived here, not just transited. Did you notice some of my photographs making an appearance on the walls in our house?!
Life for us in Ethiopia is not all that different to home, once you adjust to the changes. It is simply another house, but it is the people (including Bella, she thinks she’s a person) that have made this place a home.
What did you think it might be like?