Tuesday, May 20, 2008

One of the best parts of the trip was the stuff I wouldn't normally get to see

As I said, my friend works in development. So one day while I was in Addis Ababa, we visited some of the programs her organization is funding, or considering funding.

This was a drop-in centre for kids. They were watching Babe when we came by and from what I could tell, loving it. And, as a friend of mine pointed out, they were also sitting on plastic lawn chairs. They were super cute.

We then went on to visit one of the families who has a child attending the drop-in centre. That child wasn't there, nor was the mother, but a sister, a little one and a neighbour were. This is actually a bar (their home is behind this room) and like many of the homes in Addis, the walls are of constructed from mud, or cow dung, and the roof is made of sheets of metal.

You can see the bottles of booze to the left - light and dark - and I can only describe the smell as "nostril hair burning-esque."

This cup, hanging outside, indicates the home is a bar.

In both places we visited, the ladies of the house had papered over much of the walls with old newspapers. Two, I noticed, were from Abu Dhabi (which I thought odd). I had a moral dilemma with these visits, though. For me, they were perfect: off the beaten path, a glimpse into life in Africa not seen from the Hilton. But I felt terrible about it, like I was along for a game of "let's cluck over how terribly poor you are. And I'll even take pictures to show my friends back home."

I didn't give them any money either. I'm not sure why - because it would have been awkward? The least I could have done was bring a gift. I still feel bad about it.

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