In my last conversation with Jan, we talked about the importance of visualizing my time in Ethiopia in advance, in as much detail as possible, to maximize the outcomes of my experience. Naturally, I plan on letting serendipity play its important role, but I also want to practice imagining specific meetings with specific people (or types of people), which is a new approach to travel for me. Such visualizations will encourage me to come prepared with relevant vocabulary.
To take the easiest example, I can visualize the ride from the airport to the guest house where I will stay for the first two days. I just learned yesterday that a man called Jon will be waiting for me just outside the airport in Addis Ababa, holding a sign with my name. Jon is the brother of Almaz Asresahin, the woman who runs the guest house. Almaz and I were connected through a mutual friend named Jeff Blair, whom I met earlier this year in Seattle through a friend that he and I have in common. Learning the vocabulary to talk about these friend connections could provide material for my first conversation during the drive with Jon.
|Lulit tells me there is no term for "mutual friend," but there are several ways to express the same idea.|
|Nifas Silk Lafto is number 9 on this map.|
|The Nifas Silk Lafto subcity is not far from Bole International Airport.|
|Almaz told me she is a short walk from the Vatican Embassy. The Akaki (ኣቃቂ) River, a tributary of the Awash River, runs nearby. According to Wikipedia, however, "The city of Addis Ababa has made the Akaki its waste disposal site."|
**Another goal is to get to know the education community in Addis, starting with the International Leadership Academy of Ethiopia (ILAE). But that's a topic for another blog.**
Still another goal is to learn more about the imprisoned Zone 9 Bloggers. Just two days ago, the journalists reached their 200th day in Ethiopia's notorious Kality Prison. I hope they got some good news at their 11th court hearing today. If they didn't, and the government schedules another court date while I am in town, I visualize attending.