Jimma and the end of Day 1

I met my compatriot Regina in the airport, I was pretty happy to see her. Yes! Not alone. She’ll have to go through the same b.s. that I do. We checked in, got a SIM card for our phone and had a coffee. The flight to Jimma from Addis had assigned seating but evidently no one pays attention to what seat they are assigned. The airplane itself was a twin prop with two seats on each side of the aisle and the flight itself was fairly pleasant. Landing however was a bit exciting. Nothing too terrifying, but it was definitely the roughest landing I have ever had, including the Cesna flights I had with my pilot friend. We got a ride to our hotel, and passed 2 fellow Touro students on the way; we knew they were in Ethiopia, but I really didn’t expect to recognize people on the street.

We arrived at Syf Hotel, checked in and met up with some of the Touro students there. Seven students were staying in a rural village called Asendabo during the week, but they visited Jimma on the weekends. One of them said that Jimma University was playing a soccer game, so we decided to go. The game was entertaining, but I think most people were watching us more than the game. A group of children practically surrounded us in the stands. They just could not believe white people were at the game. We left at the half and most of the children followed us. All of them wanted to hold our hands and we had a fairly decent sized precession with us. They eventually left. We had dinner. I had a spicy beef Injera. Injera is a spongy bread that is pretty much the National food. All of this being one long, frustrating day for me, San Diego to LAX to Heathrow to Addis to Jimma, I decided to go to bed. It was about 24 hours, but I left San Diego Thursday afternoon and arrived in Jimma Saturday afternoon, whatever. As I tried to fall asleep I kept thinking, “What the hell am I doing here? I am in sub-Saharan Africa and I ain’t goin anywhere anytime soon.” Thank god the other group was here; Jimma would have been even more intimidating without them.

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