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Ethiopia 2011 - Day 1 @ Addis Ababa

My trip mascot Gera 
I've already lost track of time. Woke up at 4 a.m. Sunday morning for a flight to Washington D.C. then onward to Addis Ababa after a four-hour layover. After three and a half movies, some reading, two meals and a snack, and a nap or two, we landed safely in Addis Ababa at 7:45 a.m.. While still feels like a Sunday to me, it's already Monday.

Gera enjoying the view of Addis
Our trip leader Trevis and intern Andrew were already waiting for us. I was glad to see my luggage made it through. At the security scan, I found another of our interns with his orange tool case being held at check point. The surveying equipment was too suspious to be allowed in without paper work. Our ministry contact did everything he could, including paying a desposit, making multiple trips to different departments to get proper paper work, and even getting a signature from the president of this area. All these to no avail. Our surveying equipments are being held overnight at the airport and we need to go back there tomorrow to pick them up after inspections, or whatever they decide we need to do.  They seem to be making the rules as they go.  Whether we'd be able to pick up the equipment or not tomorrow morning, our original plan of leaving early to get to Jima, our project area, is delayed and our schedule pushed back  for at least a day. As we were still waiting at the airport, our ministry contact shrugged and said, "TIA." This is Africa.
While part of our team stay put at the airport, four of us went to the hotel and settled in. My major accomplishment of the day is walking to the pharmacy down the road to get Malaria pills. Our project site is somewhere between 2000 to 2500 m, right at the border line of being malaria-free. I didn't come prepared like all my teammates did, obviously.
As I'm typing, it's once again 4 a.m.. I woke an hour ago to an empty stomach and couldn't get back to sleep. We are looking ahead to a day of team meetings and probably some down times till we get our equipments back. Hopefully some good news in my next post.


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