Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day 4 - January 24 What an Amazing Day in Bahir Dar!

Got my bag from the airport this morning – SWEET!  It was nice to be without extra gear, but I was missing a clean shirt and especially socks to wear!  Our plan was to come to Bahir Dar yesterday, but we received notice that a guarantee of my bag showing up this morning, so we delayed our flight to Bahir Dar in the north. It is about a 9 hour drive from Addis to Bahir Dar and domestic flights on Ethiopian Air is about $40 to $50 one way, so many people fly between cities as are able (our flight was packed!) to save time on travel. It has helped us maximize work time.

I’ll rate the 45 minute flight:  A- . Definitely would recommend Ethiopian Air. Here are a few pictures from the air and on the ground.

Going into the city was thrilling!  A university pick-up truck driver drove us in and it was so not like the city of Addis, I was so refreshed. The cool air (at about 5,500 feet in elevation here) was sweet with the sun shining a warm 75 degrees. The country side was full of beautiful gardens of subsistence agriculture with tradition farming techniques and pastoralist walking barefoot. One main road leads from the airport to the city and the Bascom’s live on the outskirts in Kebele 13, which is Neighborhood 13. They have a great home they were able to use during the Fulbright time.

I really liked this picture that was on the bedroom wall I am using.

Off to the Bahir Dar University! We went to the university after we arrived, which so much to accomplish before this workshop begins. There are so many things that go into a workshop in terms of preparations and arrangements. In Ethiopia, there are even more challenges that come with such work. Developing countries present whole new sets of challenges, which became so much more evident to me today as I met with three geographers on the workshop committee with Johnathan, the Vice President for CIT, Vice President for Research and Community, and the President of Bahir Dar University. It was great to interact with the leaders of the college and to see some of their passion, challenges, and thoughts as we engaged with each other.

The day was full of prep work on the new GIS lab and here is picture of the lab. 

We have been working with the software installs, upgrades and a variety of challenges in the prep for the GIS workshop next week. Here is Johnathan Bascom with the lab manager, Kalkidon.

The day wasn’t all full of work as we took some time have tea and coffee (each of them were $0.12) under a giant sycamore-fig tree. Here are a few captures of me and Emma, my GIS research student and Teaching Assistant for you to enjoy.

We took an Indian imported 3 wheeled, motorized rickshaw to get home from the university. Here is an example of what it looks like from earlier in the day when I was in a car.

To wrap up our day we had a traditional coffee celebration ceremony given by the Bascom’s neighbor, a university business student in her 3rd year. She first washed the beans, then cooked and roasted them. Once ready, they were smashed in this cup and then poured into a carafe. Then we were served three servings of fresh coffee. It was basically the best coffee I have ever had. The beans come from here at Lake Tana. It was very cool.

This picture captures some of the tradition of Ethiopia – coffee, which originated here on earth; popcorn to deal with the intensity of the coffee, Kolo – the traditional “popcorn” of the country, and Ambo – water with gas from a spring here in Ethiopia. The Bascom’s are addicted to the stuff and have crates of the water here at the house.

I am struck by the amazing challenges all around me and by the beautiful Ethiopian people. The crickets are singing outside my window, so off to bed I go.


  1. Thanks for the blog; it's good to see what you all are working on! By the way, I was happy to see some of Johnathan's research (on Branson, MO) included in the human geography textbook my Geography 142 class is using this quarter! Hope you all are well.

    1. JB was so glad to hear it!! Ethiopia is really amazing!