[Chandler took a year off after graduating from Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh, North Carolina, and has been traveling around Africa, volunteering and generally impressing everyone she meets. We were thrilled to have her at the Cherokee House from January to March 2013, working with Onesimus and Youth Impact. Her travels have also included Zanzibar, South Africa, and Ghana. You can follow the rest of her adventures here.]
I’m now 3 weeks into my projects. I’ve finally gotten a hang of the mini-bus taxi transportation and I’m having an easier time getting around. Some mornings I have to wait in line for an hour before getting a taxi to Mexico.
I have injera for lunch about every other day at my placement and the staff is always proud of me for liking the habesha food. We always have coffee after our plates are cleared. It’s a small cup but it’s very strong.
After lunch there is one boy named Abdulfeta, the reigning ping pong champion among the Onesimus boys, who always challenges me to a game. I’ve beaten him only once. He has a killer serve.
The best part of my day takes place at the Youth Impact library. I teach 2 English classes there. The students are really bright. I like the older class better because it is smaller so I can connect with the kids more easily. On Thursday I asked them to write about their dreams for the future and one girl wrote a beautiful essay about becoming a doctor and raising her children in a safe home.
I’m always escorted to the taxi station after class, either by the library’s director or some of the students. It’s such a nice gesture. When I’m walking with Ethiopians, people on the street are less inclined to shout out ‘ferengi’ or ‘YOU!’ towards me.
I’ve been in several cafés or restaurants and ordered something directly from the menu, only to be told ‘no,’ indicating that they do not actually serve that.