Sometimes, being an employee has its benefits. Last weekend was a four-day weekend for most Ethiopians; as a consultant, I was expected to work. Not that I’m complaining. I have found lots of ways to maximize family time without missing out on billable hours. (It mostly involves working late at night.) I took the day off on Saturday and we went to see the Portuguese Bridge with some friends. It’s a couple of hours outside of Addis, but it felt like a different planet. Wide open spaces, cactus flowers, the Blue Nile gorge, and even monkeys.
Don’t worry, we weren’t very close to the monkey, called a gelada (and sometimes called a gelada baboon, although it looks nothing like the baboons we saw in Southern Africa).
While it was really great to get out of Addis for the first time since we arrived in October, it was kind of a stressful trip. Being responsible for little kids while you’re walking along the edge of a cliff is kind of scary. We were extremely careful but I couldn’t relax for a second. The drive was a bit terrifying at times, too. Fatal car accidents are very common here and I worry constantly about our safety when we’re on the road. But car accidents happen everywhere. You have to live your life without being afraid every moment, right?
On the way back to Addis, we were stuck behind a van with a bunch of sheep strapped to the roof. Since this was on Easter Eve, they would be killed soon and eaten, marking the end of a two-month vegan Lent.
The next day, I took a break to go out to lunch with the girls and Dan, and our friend Ken, at the Sheraton. Every time I go there I think, “we should hang out here more often.” It was a beautiful day, the flowers were all in bloom (as always), the pool was sparkling, and lunch was delicious. The girls had a great time. I’m so happy I got to spend such a great weekend with the family, even if I also had to work.