Contains: Aqua

I’ve been in Addis Ababa since this morning. The taxi picked me up at my house at 5:30 AM and I was in the ILRI campus in Addis Ababa at 10. Not bad! I’ll be in Ethiopia for another ten days or so, mainly doing some capacity building of the ILRI Addis web development team on the Linux platform (they currently use Windows as a server platform but want to move some applications to Linux servers). I was in Ethiopia last year, but I didn’t take a bus this time so I am already off to a better start.

I’ve got a great room in the hostel here at the ILRI campus. The campus is much more beautiful than I’m used to (hard to believe if you’ve seen the Nairobi campus). For example, today I was sitting in my office just before dusk and I saw a dik-dik grazing in the grass just outside my window. The working environment here is much different too. After lunch we all went for coffee in the campus bar, then took a walk around the compound. I thought my counterparts just wanted to take a stroll, but looked behind me and saw another twenty people just walking and chatting. It felt like a walk to cure cancer or something, very leisurely and social. We don’t do that at ILRI Nairobi…

I didn’t get much of a chance to see the hostel when I checked in this morning, but I cracked up when I got home and investigated the toiletries in the bathroom. One little tube of lotion says it contains, among other things, “Aqua,” which is Latin for “water.” That’s good and fine, but they don’t speak Latin in Ethiopia. And they were never colonized (minus a five-year period by the Italians in the 1930s) by Latin-speaking peoples. To make matters more confusing, the lotion says it comes from Kenya, another country who doesn’t speak Latin. Maybe they just like the way it sounds. It’s beyond me.

In other news, Ethiopians love coffee. I’ve had five cups of coffee today and I feel like I’m flying. One on the plane, three between 10 and 3:30 at the campus bar, and one when I was killing time walking around town by myself after work. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m exhausted and plan on sleeping long and hard tonight! Tomorrow’s commute is about 200 feet to the office…

8 Comments to “Contains: Aqua”

    1. Alan Author

      Crap, I meant to say I was going to sleep long and hard. But obviously it’s really late here and I still haven’t gone to sleep. Working on some Linux stuff…

  1. Tracy

    Hey Alan, I’m envious of your trip to Ethiopia. Didn’t make it that far from Malawi but will get back there some day. Sounds like you are still having a great time in Kenya. I am longing for Africa now that I have been back in the cold Canadian winter for almost 2 months! Take care!

  2. Hellen

    Hey, sounds like you’re having fun. We miss u already in the office and ofcourse at lunch. It’s unusually quiet (we got another student though). Hmmm, that “Aqua” stuff, i thought all lotions had that(as a matter of fact, just checked my Nivea and it contains the same). I guess it’s got nothing to do with being Latin | being colonized.

    ‘Roho safi’

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