I spent three months in Quiha, North Ethiopia on work training from March 1st until the beginning of July. There are about 12 000 people living in Quiha town and I was the only European (white) person there. The nearest big city is called Mek’ele and the population is about 200 000. Living and working in Ethiopia was challenging but also rewarding in different ways. I defenetely had to move outside of my comfort zone many times. Staying in Finland would have been an easy alternative but I am happy I chose to take a risk.
As part of my studies of Bachelor of Social services I worked as volunteer in Lola Children’s Home in Mekelle. There are 46 orphan children in of whom 11 are HIV positive. They also have day care for the the children of local single mothers who go to school or work. It was an amazing experience to work in Lola and I will never forget the children and the staff who were very kind and nice. I was teaching English, arts and craft and outdoor games to the children. There were voluntary workers from other countries too. The children taught us some traditional Ethiopian songs and dances.
As I stayed in an Ethiopian family I spent most of my free time with them. We went to the market Place to buy food and clothes, to the night club to dance and prepared local food. We went on a road trip in a minibus to Aksum which is an old town and religious center of Tigray, North Ethiopia. Most of the time we spent at home washing dishes and clothes by hand, taking care of the animals (dogs, cats, rabbits, chicken and cows) and living everyday life. In Ethiopia there is a lack of everything: water, electrity, internet connection etc. What makes Ethiopia special is that in spite of the poverty people are extremely friendly towards strangers. I always felt welcome and got many friends for life.
Ethiopian coffee ceremony