Warthog at DinshoI was lucky enough to get a lift back to Robe on Wednesday with Dereje and Nigel (VSO doing research into Valuing Teachers). This time, we came via the usual Shashemene route, which took 9 hours. As I knew I was getting a lift, I shopped while I was in Addis – luxury items (porridge oats, noodles, coconut milk, cheese, crisps) that I have not found in Robe. Oh, how I shopped!

On Thursday, I was back at work. I accompanied Nigel to Alii Birra Primary School – the school I can hear from my house as I am hoping to arrange to do some teaching there and thought it was a good way to introduce myself. In the afternoon, I ran a Higher Diploma session, which Nigel observed. In the evening, we went over to the Wabe Shabelle Hotel in Goba – the Ethiopia Wildlife Society had a trip to the Bale Mountains, so I had arranged to meet up with a couple of them.

On Friday, we decided to do something touristy – so I arranged to work on Saturday instead. We went up to the Sanetti Plateau, and saw 2 wolves. It was amazing as it The road homewas quite misty – very different to the last time I was up there. It was also handy as the electricity had gone off sometime in the night, so it would have been difficult to do much useful at work.

That evening, I had invited Dereje and Nigel to dinner. As it happened, Dereje wasn’t feeling too well so didn’t come. Luckily I had decided to make noodle soup, which I could make on the kerosene stove, and we ate by candlelight.

The electricity was off all night – which is not ideal when you are woken up at 3am by familiar rat scrabbling noises. I did manage to see it this time (by torchlight) – it wasn’t as big as I had made it in my imagination … but still a rat, definitely not a mouse. I decided to get up, trap it in my bedroom and wait until it was light to get it out (one of the benefits of each room having a door to the veranda). Unfortunately, the rat had different ideas, and managed to get through my blockade into my lounge, where I was sitting reading by candlelight. I went back into the bedroom, hoping that the rat would have the sense to leave my house by going under the lounge door (I have not seen it since I got up, so I am assuming it did leave). The electricity was off for over 24 hours, which is unusual – the only power cuts I have had to date have lasted less than an hour. Now that the electricity is back on, I will be able to try a rat and mouse deterrent that a volunteer gave me (she is leaving Ethiopia and knew of my rat problem).

New Year’s Eve – in bed by 8.30pm! Probably my quietest ever and I am at work tomorrow.

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