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Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009

Charley Noble 01 Feb 09 - 10:50 AM
Ebbie 01 Feb 09 - 12:16 PM
Charley Noble 01 Feb 09 - 12:21 PM
wysiwyg 01 Feb 09 - 12:33 PM
Newport Boy 01 Feb 09 - 12:51 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 01 Feb 09 - 01:08 PM
Charley Noble 01 Feb 09 - 02:48 PM
Barry Finn 01 Feb 09 - 04:04 PM
Barbara 01 Feb 09 - 05:05 PM
Charley Noble 01 Feb 09 - 05:19 PM
Sandra in Sydney 01 Feb 09 - 06:54 PM
katlaughing 01 Feb 09 - 07:12 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 02 Feb 09 - 05:33 AM
Deckman 02 Feb 09 - 07:00 AM
Charley Noble 02 Feb 09 - 06:21 PM
Bob Hitchcock 02 Feb 09 - 08:10 PM
Charley Noble 02 Feb 09 - 10:03 PM
Maryrrf 02 Feb 09 - 10:28 PM
Azizi 02 Feb 09 - 10:50 PM
catspaw49 03 Feb 09 - 02:31 AM
Charley Noble 03 Feb 09 - 08:11 AM
Newport Boy 03 Feb 09 - 10:32 AM
olddude 03 Feb 09 - 11:29 AM
Charley Noble 03 Feb 09 - 12:59 PM
Charley Noble 04 Feb 09 - 10:43 PM
Charley Noble 05 Feb 09 - 07:31 PM
Roger in Baltimore 06 Feb 09 - 12:47 PM
Charley Noble 06 Feb 09 - 01:04 PM
Bob Hitchcock 06 Feb 09 - 07:57 PM
catspaw49 06 Feb 09 - 08:22 PM
Charley Noble 06 Feb 09 - 10:00 PM
Charley Noble 06 Feb 09 - 10:05 PM
Charley Noble 07 Feb 09 - 09:03 PM
Charley Noble 10 Feb 09 - 08:06 AM
Charley Noble 15 Feb 09 - 12:30 PM
Charley Noble 15 Feb 09 - 05:12 PM
Maryrrf 15 Feb 09 - 06:03 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 15 Feb 09 - 08:10 PM
Charley Noble 15 Feb 09 - 09:49 PM
Newport Boy 16 Feb 09 - 10:47 AM
Charley Noble 16 Feb 09 - 12:49 PM
Mo' Handy 16 Feb 09 - 05:28 PM
curmudgeon 16 Feb 09 - 05:34 PM
Barry Finn 16 Feb 09 - 06:23 PM
Charley Noble 17 Feb 09 - 09:21 AM
Charley Noble 20 Feb 09 - 11:49 AM
Sandra in Sydney 20 Feb 09 - 08:38 PM
GUEST,Brother Bob 22 Feb 09 - 05:12 PM
Barry Finn 23 Feb 09 - 11:00 AM
JudyB 23 Feb 09 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,Franz S. 23 Feb 09 - 10:05 PM
JudyB 23 Feb 09 - 10:11 PM
Sandra in Sydney 24 Feb 09 - 12:51 AM
Charley Noble 24 Feb 09 - 01:46 AM
JudyB 24 Feb 09 - 07:02 AM
GUEST, Brother Bob 24 Feb 09 - 12:07 PM
Charley Noble 26 Feb 09 - 01:53 AM
Charley Noble 28 Feb 09 - 07:05 AM
JudyB 01 Mar 09 - 10:59 AM
Haruo 02 Mar 09 - 12:29 AM
Charley Noble 02 Mar 09 - 01:46 AM
Charley Noble 02 Mar 09 - 02:02 AM
Haruo 02 Mar 09 - 07:30 AM
JudyB 02 Mar 09 - 01:45 PM
olddude 02 Mar 09 - 01:48 PM
Barry Finn 02 Mar 09 - 04:56 PM
Charley Noble 03 Mar 09 - 12:41 PM
katlaughing 03 Mar 09 - 01:12 PM
Charley Noble 05 Mar 09 - 09:52 PM
Haruo 06 Mar 09 - 01:37 AM
Sandra in Sydney 06 Mar 09 - 03:25 AM
Charley Noble 14 Mar 09 - 12:19 PM
Charley Noble 15 Mar 09 - 01:19 PM
Charley Noble 10 Apr 09 - 08:35 AM
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Subject: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Feb 09 - 10:50 AM

For the last few years I've been thinking about revisiting Ethiopia where I taught science and geography as a Peace Corp Volunteer from 1965-68. It's been over 40 years since I was there but in some ways it seems like yesterday. This year I heard from a fellow returned Peace Corps Volunteer that he was going to be teaching this winter at the University in Addis Ababa, and that triggered my decision for a revisit. I'll be flying out February 17 and, if all goes well, returning March 4.

I plan to keep a journal as I re-explore where I worked. I've also drafted a prologue with music, images, and commentary for anyone who is curious about my experience, which is posted on my website: Click here for website!

I should have a lot more to say when I get back, and many more pictures!

In the meantime I've be happy to answer any questions you might have about this revisit.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble, still resident in snow-covered Maine


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 Feb 09 - 12:16 PM

Peace Corps experiences evidently have lasting effects on volunteers' lives. A friend of mine served in Guyana in the 70s and still visits his 'Guyana Mom'.

I hope you have a most fulfilling visit.


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Feb 09 - 12:21 PM

Ebbie-

Thanks for the good wishes.

It's hard to predict what old friends and acquaintances I'll be able to track down but I do have some good leads.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Feb 09 - 12:33 PM

I'll be watching this thread with interest. Taking an MP3 recorder?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Newport Boy
Date: 01 Feb 09 - 12:51 PM

I will also be watching this thread and your website. Ethiopia definitely calls one back. We spent three weeks there in 2002, mainly visiting various projects which we support around Nekemte. This is just off the NW corner of your map. We also drove down the Rift Valley as far as Shashemene.

I'm sure you'll have a great time. Renewing contacts should not be too difficult if you have a few places to start. Personal connections are very important.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 01 Feb 09 - 01:08 PM

I too was there (84-86 in the State Statistical Office in Addis doing the agriculture pre-harvest forecast and post-harvest estimates) and loved the place. (I also played more and more varied music than at any other time I think!).

I'll follow your trip with interest. Hope you have a great time.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Feb 09 - 02:48 PM

Guest-

There is music in the link to my website.

Susan-

I will be taking my Edirol R-1 with the hope of recording more work songs. And I'll be taking a cassette of some that I recorded in 1968 in the hope of getting them translated.

Phil and Mick-

Nice to know a few Mudcatters have traveled to Ethiopia. Traveling there via Google-Earth is less expensive but does provide an incredible overview, with high resolution images available for major urban areas.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Barry Finn
Date: 01 Feb 09 - 04:04 PM

Have a great time Charlie, see you when you get back. I'll be following you.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Barbara
Date: 01 Feb 09 - 05:05 PM

Nice song up at the website, Charlie. Are there more verses to it?
Have a lovely time and don't get thrown in jail when you go looking for your students.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Feb 09 - 05:19 PM

Barry-

I'll play the worksong leader your CD; I'm sure he'll get a kick out of it and who knows what his team might be singing the next time an ethnomusicologist comes by! LOL

Barbara-

You can find the full lyrics of "Pastures of Memories" on my website if you click on lyrics and MP3's.

I'll be as careful as I can knowing what I know but I may still be surprised.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 01 Feb 09 - 06:54 PM

have fun

sandra


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Feb 09 - 07:12 PM

This is really neat, Charley! Please do share songs and all of the other great stuff. This will be read with relish!


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 05:33 AM

Ahhh a piece of Ethiopian peace to ye and blessings on your trip. But this Noble Charley Horse belongs below the line. With similar logic EVERYTHING would reside in the "upper kingdom."

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Deckman
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 07:00 AM

Charlie ... sounds like a great adventure. Are you taking instruments? Have fun and re-connect. Bob Nelson


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 06:21 PM

Above or below the line, as my Ethiopian friends would say "Min chiguri'n!" or "It troubles me not!"

Bob-

I wont be taking any musical instruments with me. I might raise a drinking song or a shanty if encouraged. And I'll certainly bring my compact recorder, the Edirol R-1.

But part of my mission will be to assess what computer hardware and software will be most useful at the secondary school and for the regional economic development committee (Gurage Peoples Self-Development Organization). Some of the expatriate Ethiopians, our former students living in the States, have already organized a 501-c-3 non-profit organization called The Berkefet IT Project which has gathered together some 40 used computers and accessories and is shipping them to the Gurage country, for the secondary schools. I in turn will be dropping off my older laptop computer this trip, loaded with images of my maps, air photos, and my personal photo collection.

My friend Phil should be arriving today in Addis Ababa. I am anxiously awaiting word that he is settling in.

Besalam (in peace),
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Bob Hitchcock
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 08:10 PM

Charley, good luck on your trip and I hope you have a wonderful time. I had the honor of engineering three CD's for a group of Ethiopian musicians here in the Washington D.C. area and they were just incredible people. I have also loved their food for the past 25 years or so which is quite plentiful here.

Have fun.

Bob.


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 10:03 PM

Bob-

DC is, indeed, the home away from home for Ethiopian expatriates.

I do look forward to more Ethiopian cooking in Addis Ababa. However, I've been very fortunate that a small Ethiopian (actually Eritrean) restaurant has survived here in Portland, Maine, for over 5 years. What a delight!

What were the titles of the CD's and where might they be purchased?

Besalam,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Maryrrf
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 10:28 PM

Charley, what a wonderful experience it's going to be. Good for you!


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 10:50 PM

I'm just popping in to say I also believe you'll have wonderful experiences.

I'll be reading about you trip on your website and hopefully you'll have plenty of stories {and songs} to share on Mudcat as well when you return to the US.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: catspaw49
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 02:31 AM

Very neat Charley! I knew you hgad a passsion for the place and a desire to return and I'm happy this has wworked out for you.

Thanks again for all the info awhile back on Ethiopian cuisine. KAren and I had a grat meal that first night and have returned to the restaurant several times since......and I just bought a bag of Teff flour too!!!

I'll be reading your reports.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 08:11 AM

Spaw-

I'm pleased that you and Karen had a good experience at your Ethiopian restaurant. "Tef" by the way is the essential grain from which the Ethiopians mix up the "injera", the sourdough pancake used to help consume their tasty and spicy stews. It takes a steady hand to pour the injera batter onto the waq, from the inside out. And it's important not to flip the two-foot pancake over, leaving one side sponge-like to absorb the stew. We found it interesting that the Amharic word for picking up a choice part of the stew in injera and popping it into a neighbor's mouth, "gorsha," was the same word as for "bribe."

Back when I was much younger, we Peace Corps volunteers used to fantasize on how long it would be before Ethiopian restaurants replaced pizza parlors in the States. Invest now!

Besalam,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Newport Boy
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 10:32 AM

Charley -

Like cooking everywhere, there are many different methods. Three photos
here with the batter being poured from the outside in!

I'm not sure about injera replacing pizza - I could eat a pizza every day, but twice a week was enough for injera.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: olddude
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 11:29 AM

Charlie
Just come back safe ok

that is all I ask, I know you will have a nice time


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 12:59 PM

Phil-

Nice pixs of the injera pour!

You're right about injera stew every day. I probably will also be sampling the menus of the many other foreign restaurants in Addis Ababa. I recall the teachers who took me to their favorite restaurant for lunch one day near Mexico Square in Addis Ababa. I thought I was used to Ethiopian hot spicy stews. I couldn't speak above a whisper for half an hour! They were very amused.

Besalam,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Feb 09 - 10:43 PM

The nice folks at the Ethiopian Embassy returned my passport today with a lovely visa all officially stamped on it. 13 days before my flight! No word from Phil. He should be in Addis Ababa by now. He's probably scrambling around trying to set up his apartment, his courses, and other necessities and distractions.

Besalam,
Charley Noble, who can hardly wait to miss this subzero weather


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Feb 09 - 07:31 PM

Here's a Gurage folk song to ponder while I gather together a few more essentials:

Chaha, Gurage Country, Ethiopia
Chant transcribed by Dr. Wolf Leslau, 1950
Re-edited by Charlie Ipcar


Raise your eyes and look to the mountains of Daquna!
Brave boys there were, and they were well made,
Like Odja and Agbe and Shorato,
Shafir Fuga and Tidjato,
Like Imam Sidi and Debrato,
Like Oga Abana and Qurato,
All these brave boys -- where have they gone?
They were made an end of and have died.
What hand of theirs has one dared to give to the hyenas?
O death! Let what you have killed be enough!
O hyenas! Let what you have eaten be enough!
What have the mountains of Daquna not seen?
All day the drums, the war cries, and the rife-fire was heard.
What courageous men have been seen on the mountains of Daquna!

Notes from William Shack, 1966:

After the armies of Menelik II conquered the Gurage country, there was no peace for the military colonies established in that country. The heroic fighting of the Chaha Gurage at Daquna is still recounted in folk songs chanted during festivals

See, this thread really does belong above the line. One of the photos on my website shows the hills of Daquna rising above the lower plateau.

Besalam,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 12:47 PM

So Charlie, are ya flyin' or taking a sailing ship?

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 01:04 PM

Roger-

It would be less expensive traveling via shipping crate but there's the risk of the crate residing in a warehouse in Djibouti for an indeterminate time.

Accordingly, I have elected to fly from Boston to Frankfurt, and then to Addis Ababa. It's about 26 hours with a long lay-over in Germany.

Besalam,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Bob Hitchcock
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 07:57 PM

Charley, The CD's I worked on were put out by a group of ex-pats here in D.C. I am not sure if all of them were released, but one I know came out about 10 years ago, it's called "Chewata" I think and traces 150 years of Ethiopian history through music and stories. Many musicians cam in to sing and play on it from all over the world, included the former professor of traditional music at the University of Addis Ababa. The producer was a chap named Abrahim Wolde who I understand was a TV star over there for a while, very interesting fellow. He told me that Haile Selase's grandaughter wrote to thank him for doing the project. I may still have a promo copy lying around the studio somewhere so pm me if you are interested.

I lost touch with them shortly after they completed the recordings as they had some problems paying the final bill, so I got stiffed but am a better person for having known them and their music.

Good luck on the trip.

Bob.


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 08:22 PM

My first attempt at injera was a "qualified" success.....the flavor was right and the texture, if not the size!

I hope all goes well.....The young diplomat who was just killed there was from Columbus so its been in the news a lot and I thought of you immediately. Have a good time but keep your head down!



Spaw


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 10:00 PM

Bob-

Thanks for the additional info on the recording project. International recording experiences can be as stressful as domestic ones!

Spaw-

I'll have to track down that story. I didn't find it on my usual Ethiopian news website.

Besalam,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 10:05 PM

Ah, a brief story is there. No details. Here's the link for future reference: Click here for news of Ethiopia

There's also a lot of personal opinion posted in the comments section of this website.

Besalam,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 09:03 PM

Hmmm?

Still no word from Phil. Has he disappeared from the face of the earth? Does Ethiopia really exist or is it a figment of our collective unconscious? Only time will tell!

Here's another traditional Gurage song, just a fragment, which hints at how they felt abandoned by their gods when the Galla tribe invaded their land:

As told by Fresenbet Gezachow in spring of 1968
Emdeber, Gurage, Ethiopia
Chant re-transcribed and edited by Charles Ipcar
Peace Corps Volunteer Ethiopia 1965-1968


Ageto! You are said to be Ageto!

Ageto, there is a day when you will be remembered, not only one day but for all days.

Ageto, once Chaha played a trick on you; so you grew angry and flew away to a place called Yenor-afur.

At Yenor-afur a woman called Assuyate caught you and kept you in a water jug for two years.

Later, after two years, it is said that you went off to Yoqupaiye-afur.

While you were gone the Galla came and plundered our lands.

Why did you go from Yechaha-afur?

Please turn your face towards Yechaha-afur once more!

Ageto, father of our children, come today, wherever you may be, whether in Shoa or Soyama.

Please come today, wherever you may be!

There was a man called Tassew who went to his uncle's house for a visit.

They gave his horse Subrimo grain but the horse wouldn't eat.

Tassew knew by this that something had happened in Chaha.

The man called Tassew went forth from his uncle's house to see Chaha.

Tassew then went to the Galla lands, crossing the Wake River in the dark.

Then Yechaha Waq (Sky-god) came and led Tassew through the Galla lands, and they were able to return all the things which had been captured by the Galla.

Waq, come today to your home country, where you belong!

"Waq" by the way is the Star God; "Chaha" is one of the seven major tribes of the House of Seven Gurage Tribes (Ye Sabat Bet Gurage).

Besalam,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 08:06 AM

Just got a re-assuring e-mail from my old friend Phil that he is now resident in Addis Ababa. He sent me some nice pixs of his comfortable digs and, more importantly, directions for the taxi cab driver from Bole International Airport.

We're now planning to head out to the Gurage country the first weekend, which should set things up for a follow-up visit which I may do solo.

One week to go!

Basalam,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 12:30 PM

This trip is getting more real. I've actually got my suitcase packed, my laptop and backpack organized, and my various travel documents where I can find them. And the weather looks great for flying out of Logan in Boston on Tuesday.

Another landmark (via GoogleEarth) for our base camp in Ethiopia is the Addis Ababa Home Depot store, right across from our 8-story apartment building (the entire block is shaded in blues which may recognize the fact that it's new construction.

There's a new Peace Corps program that's been recently re-initiated in Ethiopia, focused on public health issues, which I may check out.

Besalam,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 05:12 PM

Oh, the building across the street should be called "Addis Home Depot" which translates as the New Home Depot.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Maryrrf
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 06:03 PM

Charlie, this sounds very exciting. Be sure to post lots of pictures!


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 08:10 PM

God speed Charey! Have a great trip!


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 09:49 PM

Mary and Sandy-

It's getting even more interesting to me. I'm not really doing the tourist thing but more revisiting, and it's not that clear how the world that's there now correlates with the world I left in 1968. There have been three major shifts in government, a massive drought or two. The capital city has mushroomed from 600,000 to over 4 million (Maine's largest city has less than 100,000).

At the same time I have leads to all kinds of interesting people, some directing economic development in rural areas, some academics, and some former students. There are plenty of wild cards in this deck!

I'll also probably pay a visit to the newly re-established Peace Corps office; the new volunteers are specialized in public health issues. My generation of volunteers were more focused on teaching in the secondary schools. The net effect of what we did was probably to shift the system from traditional old line British rote memorization to critical thinking; no one told us to do this but it was what we were hard-wired to do! We were also a large portion of the secondary teaching staff, almost a third of the teachers. For better or worse we had a major impact on the educational system.

So I enter a time machine of sorts next Tuesday, emerge in present day Ethiopia and try to sort out the changes. The results will not be particularly critical (nor dangerous) but they will be interesting, and in some ways amusing!

Besalam,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Newport Boy
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 10:47 AM

Hmmm, Charley

I'm not sure your earlier efforts made a long-term shift in the educational system. Our visits to 4 primary and one secondary schools (in another area) showed the rote learning system alive and well. With primary classes of 60 to 100 it's difficult to do much else, particularly when Year 4 in one school had an age range from 8 to 17!

I'll be interested in how you find it.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 12:49 PM

Phil-

Maybe not. But that was the conclusion of one team of researchers. I'll have to check and see how far back their research was conducted.

Besalam,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Mo' Handy
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 05:28 PM

Bon voyage, Mr. Noble.
There's some likelihood now that I won't be back from India in time for the Peaks Island show. Not sure what to do about that.


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: curmudgeon
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 05:34 PM

Fair winds, Charley! See you in March - Tom


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Barry Finn
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 06:23 PM

Have a safe trip Charlie.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 09:21 AM

Thanks, gang, for the good wishes!

I'm rolling out the door.

I hope you all remember to feed the parrot! (You're supposed to look blank and then say "What parrot?")

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 11:49 AM

I am alive and well here in Addis Ababa. The computer service at our neighborhood hotel is very slow but I now have an operating cellphone, a set of new maps, and tomorrow a group of us are heading out to the village where I used to teach school.

Addis Ababa is ten times larger than when I was last here, now at 5 million, five times more populated than Maine! But many things remain the same. LOL

I can't seem to access my e-mail which is frustrating but it might work better from a different internet location.

We're living in a nice 4th floor apartment in the old airport sector of the city. It's one of the newer buildings but there are plenty of more older modest buildings around and feverish construction activity. The food is great!

Besalam,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 08:38 PM

wow! the adventure starts.


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: GUEST,Brother Bob
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 05:12 PM

Silence - did he say something about taking pictures of crocodiles?
The adventure ends?


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Barry Finn
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 11:00 AM

Hi Brother Bob
Don't end his adventure to quickly, he won't be able to shovel out your parking space to a song if it ends like that.
Nice of you to drop in & say hi to Charles

Barry


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: JudyB
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 12:34 PM

We won't talk about shoveling - someone visiting a place where the lows are in the upper 40s and the highs are in the 70s just wouldn't understand! Fortunately we have a good plow guy, and someone to shovel the walks while he's away.

I was thinking he'd be back in Addis Ababa today after his jaunt into the countryside, but I know he's been having trouble finding internet connections. I think it's about 8:30 at night there now - so suspect it may be tomorrow before we hear the next chapter in his adventures!

JudyB


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: GUEST,Franz S.
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 10:05 PM

Where hsve the old gods gone?

Pour a little honey wine for me.


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: JudyB
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 10:11 PM

Thought I might post this, just to let Charlie know what he's missing - February in Maine!

(Note to Charlie - everything's fine. Very white, but fine!)


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 12:51 AM

Judy, my Canadian friend recently posted a view of her house under snow with a BLUE sky, just like a Sydney sky!

If it wasn't for the red truck & buttery coloured buildings I would have assumed you were using B&W film! Do you ever see blue skies in winter?

sandra (who has only ever seen snow once & had to travel 500km to see it!)


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 01:46 AM

Here's a much longer post which will give you all the flavor of what we're doing:

Ethiopia Journal 2009


Visit to Emdeber Town – 2/21 to 2/22


Our revisit to Emdeber in the heart of the Gurage country where I taught from 1967-68 began at the Millennium Hotel, just around the corner from our 8-story apartment building. The assembled cast included myself, my fellow teacher Phil Lebel, his wife Danielle, the son of Danielle's neighbor in France Renault who was in Addis Ababa leading a workshop in servicing Mercedes, and our driver Yacob Hailemariam, an attorney who is an old friend of Phil who grew up in the Gurage country.

We had a lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs and spicy meat, with lots of good Ethiopian coffee. The manager of the Hotel, of course, was an urban Gurage, Dinku Woldemariam, who was vastly amused that we were returning to his home country. We all piled into Yacob's SUV and took off round the traffic circle to the Jimma Road. The part of the Gurage country that we were going to is known as "The Seven Houses of Gurage" and is about 4 hours by car. Of course we did some meandering along the way.

The road to the outskirts of the City was lined with small colorful shops, mostly food and drink places but an occasional variety store. Every corner had an impromptu open market where people were selling vegetables, spices, and other home essentials. The road was filled with pedestrians and livestock coming into the big city market, and a wide variety of buses, lorries and other cars were competing for space. We finally made it to the main expressway and then stopped for fuel, which sells for more than $4 US per gallon. Once outside the City we saw broad plains filled with golden flowers, which are a source of cooking oil, with high rugged mountains rising above the fields.

Our first watering stop two hours later was at the Genet Hotel in Woliso, a beautifully renovated resort hotel built by the Italians (1935-1941) during their brief occupation of Ethiopia. We then took off for Wolkite, an hour away, noting how the cultural landscape was shifting from Oromo and Amharic grain farms to Gurage. The Gurage villages are very distinctive with their long central avenue, lined on both sides by round thatched houses reinforced with horizontal bamboo poles. Each Gurage house is surrounded on three sides by huge false banana trees (ensete), which provide these people with a drought resistant staple crop; they also grow some coffee and chat for cash crops and keep a herd of cattle in their collectively owned fields.

At Wolkite we turned left onto the road to the Gurage heartland, with Emdeber some 30 minutes away. All the roads in the Gurage country have been planned and constructed by the Gurage, with little help from the Government. We crossed the deep Wabi River, climbed up the steep embankment, and were immediately surrounded by a large flat lower plain where hundreds of cattle were grazing. There were also strings of Gurage villages here and there. One new thing we saw were at least a dozen small Mosques, funded by the Saudis. About a third of the Gurage have traditionally been Muslim but now they are being aggressively recruited into a conservative Muslim sect. We also saw huge transmission lines crossing the fields, something that we certainly did not see in the 1960's.

As we approached the outskirts of Emdeber town we stopped at the new secondary school and were very impressed with all the new buildings, the satellite dish, and the evident supply of electricity and running water. We called the headmaster, Fikadu Biru, to make an appointment to see the computer lab the next day. We then journeyed a short distance to our secondary school, now downgraded to 1-8 grades. There we were also impressed with the many new buildings and other signs of improvement. Further down the road we entered the center of Emdeber and pulled into the compound of the Murore Hotel.

We were astounded! When we were there the only rented rooms for guests were behind small food and drinking places, and some were rented by the hour. This new hotel had a beautiful open plaza filled with blooming flowers, with about 24 rooms on two sides. The rooms had a full sized bed, modern bathroom facilities (!), and a living room with comfortable chairs, all for about $10 US a night; the tourist hotels in many parts of Ethiopia rent out rooms for a minimum of $100 US a night, and these rooms were spotless!

We all checked in and than went off to see if we could find Phil's former landlady. Well, Phil's house had been torn down but right next door was his landlady's house, in excellent condition, and she was in residence. She's a very bright and witty lady in her 80's and she was delighted to meet Phil again and also gave the rest of us a warm welcome. We made an appointment to come back the following morning for brunch.

Next we drove up to the headquarters of the Gurage Catholic Mission, now a cathedral complete with bishop. About a third of the Gurages in this area are Catholics and the Church also provides health clinics, schools, and agricultural advice through its network of 12 or so missions. The remaining third of the population are Ethiopian Orthodox.

Next we drove back up to the main road heading south toward the highlands of Daquna. On both sides of the SUV we could see chains of Gurage villages running along the ridges, with deep valleys on each side. Most were traditional thatched round houses but there were a few rectangular buildings along the main road with corrugated metal roofs. When we got up to Daquna Jacob stopped at the house of the local chief to share the news; he had run as an opposition candidate in the 2005 national election and almost won. We were all invited in to the Chief's house, a much larger traditional style house but on a stone foundation, with windows, electricity and an operating bathroom. We then walked across the road to the neighboring beer house and had another round of drinks.

By this time it was getting late in the afternoon so we took off down the long winding road to Emdeber, visited another chief's house in town, then freshened up in our rooms, and sat down for a supper of roasted lamb, injera, and berbare spice. It had been a long day but the fun was only just beginning. In walked a group of middle-aged urban Gurages, and their leader, Fikre Hugiane Finfune, came over to our table to chat with us. We explained why we were here and he was amused and impressed. He and his group had come to town to help plan for a new technical college in Emdeber. Well, he invited us to an after dinner BBQ in the hotel compound and even though we were stuffed to the gills we couldn't pass up his kind offer. So we gathered some chairs, the hotel staff built the bonfire and placed a huge wak full of cut up pieces of lamb. Overhead we could see the stars bright and clear, with the familiar constellation of Orion directly overhead. Beer was offered as well as wine and even harder stuff. And we soon were regaling one another with stories of Emdeber students we had known. Phil's Amharic is still quite good and he can generally chatter at a rapid pace. Mine is more basic; I can follow the conversation roughly and add in an appropriate comment now and then. We learned that several of our students had gone on to the States and secured professional degrees and positions. Others were working in responsible positions in the Ethiopian ministries. Still others had seemingly disappeared or had died in the civil unrest. One of Fikre's group finally identified himself as one of our students; he's now an engineer. What a delight it is to have chance play nice tricks!

The next morning we staggered out of bed for our brunch with Phil's landlady. I got some pictures of a flock of vultures cleaning up the leftovers in the plaza; a tiny little girl was trying to shoo them away. Phil's landlady had invited more of her family to welcome us, some of whom we had never met since they hadn't been born when we were in residence! We were served coffee, freshly brewed from the coffee trees in the backyard, and with sugar, not the traditional salt and butter. Phil then showed via his laptop a set of pictures he had taken of his landlady and her family at work in the fields, making pottery, and entertaining. She was delighted to see all those youthful images!

We then went up to the Cathedral to see if we could find Phil's former cook Tamare but this time we had no luck but at least people reported that she was alive and well. I looked for my old house as well but it appeared to have been another victim of Emdeber urban renewal. We then picked up the headmaster and drove down to the new secondary school. They do have a lot of computer equipment there, about 30 desktops in working order but for a thousand students. Moreover, it wasn't that clear how well students were being taught and the school no longer had any access to the internet via the satellite dish. We are considering donating money to the school for another year of internet service. I do wish we had more time to talk with some more of the teachers but it was time to visit Gura, a nearby village where Yacob had been raised.

Gura was down several backroads and even Yacob got lost a couple of times, one false banana tree lined avenue looking very much like another. But we finally pulled up to his family's house. A younger brother was now occupying the house, since both of Yacob's parents had passed away. The house was well-maintained, primarily thanks to Yacob's periodic contributions. We were given another warm welcome and at least two dozen other relatives and neighbors gathered in to chat. This time we were served coffee with butter and salt, followed up by araqi, the Gurage equivalent of White Lightning.

By this time it was getting late so we bid everyone a fond farewell and scuttled back to Addis. All in all we couldn't have asked for a better revisit!

Besalam,
Charley Noble

Internet connections are very frustrating here. This time I am posting from the U.S. Embassy from Danielle's computer; mine is fermenting in the gate house because it takes two days to process access for it.

I'll probably try another post by the end of the week. I have lots of images but I'll wait until I get home to begin editing them. The Old Gods are well and good. LOL

Cheerily,
Charley


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: JudyB
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 07:02 AM

Thanks for the update, and it's now up on your website (www.charlieipcar.com/ethiopia)! Sounds like a wonderful time - and the new hotel in Emdeber sounds rather better than some of the ones you told me about from your previous time there! :)

(We do indeed have blue skies in winter, Sandra - it was still snowing when I took the pictures yesterday morning). I took a few more this morning - sky is only partly blue, but should be clear by afternoon. Time to head to work, so I won't get the newer pictures posted until tonight.)


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: GUEST, Brother Bob
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 12:07 PM

Absolutely a great adventure!

Our Mom, back in Georgetown, Maine, reminds me that whenever Charlie spent time in Ethiopia, the winters along the coast blew harsh and cold- snow piling up to unheard of depths... Her power generator has been running for two days now. Guess it's mid-sixties déjà vu all over again!


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 01:53 AM

Monday I picked up two beautiful maps of the Gurage country from the Ethiopian Mapping Agency. They are dated 1975 but much better than what I have been able to put together.

Tuesday, we took another run up the the University at Sadist Kilo; we never seem to travel by the same roads. Our driver Girma mentioned that one of the neighborhood we were going through was nick-named "It is hopeless to cry for help." Once at the University I decided to see if I could find the Chair of the Geography Department, Dr. Mulunek Woldetsadik, who had also done his Masters Thesis on the Gurage country I had lived and worked in. I found my way to his office, after being reassured by the students that they were not sending me to the lion's cage. It was slightly after 1 pm, just after the lunch break and when I was standing in front of his office, I was asked who I was looking for and then informed that Muluneh was coming up the stairs. He invited me in and we had a lively discussion about the Gurage; he is a Gurage himself. He was delighted to receive computer files of my research and we set another appointment for this Thursday so that I could get copies of his. We then went out for coffee.

My poor cellphone shut down again. I tried the pin-number "11H1" but I was typing blind and I am not sure if I ever got the "H" correct, or maybe it was upsidedown "1H11." I am curious but it's really not a necessity.

Yesterday I did some tourist shopping up to Nigeria Rd., lots of little shops with some very nice black pottery, horn glasses, and old coins. I have very few urban photographs, many buildings are evidently forbidden to be photographed. I did stop by the Techical School where I taught for two years and talked with some students; it's now a technical college and many more young women are attending; there were only two in 1965-67.

Today I have a follow-up appointment with the Geography Professor; he even referenced my study, one of the ten people in the world who has read it! I eventually plan to leave my laptop with him for an appropriate student.

In the afternoon I have an appointment with the Minister of the Ethiopian Mapping Agency, who I've discoved is also a Gurage, another bright student; he warmed right up when I called him yesterday and was most interested in our revisit.

Friday I'm going to talk with John Graham, author of ETHIOPIA-OFF THE BEATEN PATH to see if I can persuade him to make a tourist report on the Seven Houses of Gurage; John has lived in Addis Ababa for over ten years and is now working for US-AID, an international development agency. Perhaps, we'll take a trip together.

My friend Phil flies out to Beruit on Saturday but hiswife Daniele will still be in residence.

I have already made a reservation with Girma, our favorite taxi-driver, for a ride out to the airport next Wednesday evening.

This is fun!

Love and peace,
Charlie


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 07:05 AM

Feb. 28

I had a nice long post prepared today and it's on my transfer drive but this neighborhood internet shop I've discovered, almost across from where we live, doesn't recognize it. :(

I have been making friends with some of the neighborhood kitties. They recognize the Ethiopia cat call (like a mother cat calling her kittens) but are very cautious, except for one old tom was delighted to have any attention. I must remember to pick up some scraps for them, or maybe they prefer injera.

Phil and I just had a nice lunch of doro wat (hotly spiced chicken stew) at a neighboring restaurant. It's the first time I've eaten Ethiopian food here that compared in quality to what I eat in Portland, Maine. I was beginning to worry.

All my major missions are complete except for next Tuesday when I turn the laptop over to one of Dr. Muluneh's favorite students. I decided that made more sense than trying to get it back to Emdeber where there wasn't a clear need for it; they already have a full computer lab.

My host Phil flies off for a conference in Beirut this evening but his wife Daniele (corrected spelling) will still be here. She's happy about her new job as a part-time teaching assistant at the American International School which is also in our neighborhood; she qualified to do much more but this is what she wants to do.

This has in all been an interesting and rewarding visit overall. My longer post has an abundence of detail but now I'd just like to say that many Ethiopians I've searched out have made me feel welcome, and the technical snafus while tedious are irrelevant.

Here are some random observations of the Addis Ababa night scene, as observed at various times during this week via my 4th floor apartment window:

9 to midnight the bar blazes forth with comtemporary Ethiopian music from the neighboring Melinnium Hotel. Then it's time for the dogs to take over, and they bark and howel in cascading anthems for the next four hours, only overpowered by an occassional jet plane landing or taking off, or a heavily loaded lorry making its way around the rotary and on up the hill. Then the neighborhood roosters begin their competition and the dogs knock it off for the night. The final act, about 5:30 am, is between the churches and mosques via amplified speakers. Now you know!

Besalam,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: JudyB
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 10:59 AM

Charlie's friend Phil Lebel sent us a few photos of their visit to Emdeber, which I've now posted on Charlie's website - www.charlieipcar.com/ethiopia. I know Charlie will have a lot more photos to add - and more tales to tell - when he returns on Thursday!

I also updated the snow pictures page to show that our evergreens did, indeed, recover from all that weight of snow - February in Maine. It was still snowing a bit when I took the first pictures, and it is overcast quite a bit in winter - but we do also have blue skies, as you can see from the last pictures. :)

JudyB


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Haruo
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 12:29 AM

Charley, there are lots of Ethiopian (and Eritrean, and Somali, and Sudanese) people here in Seattle. I notice your Gurage text referred repeatedly to "the Galla tribe"; at least here in Seattle they strongly prefer to be called Oromo, and at least in English the Amharic and Tigrinya speakers join them in this. "Galla" is seen as pejorative. Is this the case in the Amharic heartland as well? (I've never been there, just known folks who made it to Seattle.)

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 01:46 AM

Haruo-

You are correct. Here in Ethiopia "Galla" is and has been an insusting reference to the "Oromo" ethnic group. My use of the term dates me and I've made efforts to correct myself here.

I've been somewhat frustrated these last few days in finding a computer set-up that will accept my thumbdrive so I can post my journal. Everything is still going very well.

Today is the commemoration of the Battle of Aduwa, the defeat of the Italian invasion of 1898!

My schedule today is to meet with John Graham, the travel editor, for lunch.

Then I go searching for more gifts.

I hope to send one of my longer posts if I get access to a better computer today.

Cheerily,
Charlie


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 02:02 AM

Daniele, Phil's wife, just walked in and I've been able to use her computer with has wireless capacity and accepts my thumbdrive:

2/26/09


This has been a good day. I again shared a ride with Phil and Daniele to the University.

I had a good experience posting my previous update from an internet café; they only charge about $1 US an hour so I felt very comfortable composing my report, editing from what I had composed the evening before on my thumb-drive. I then walked over to the University bookstore and found an economic evaluation of the Gurage area, from 1995 to 2000, that Phil had mentioned, a very intriguing study for those of us with such interest! I did some initial reading while waiting for my follow-up appointment with the Geography Department Chairman, Dr. Muluneh,

Dr. Muluneh was a few minutes late but in this society it is better for people like me to be on time and be patient. We talked some more about the Gurage Country. He was very interested in the book I had just purchased as well, making note of it. Then he loaded up my transfer drive with his Gurage thesis research, including maps and pictures. He's also narrowed down the candidates for my to be donated laptop and we now have a follow-up appointment where I'll meet the student and make sure he or she can do the basic operations.

Next I walked over to the Center for Ethiopian Studies on campus, admired the historic paintings, and the current exhibit of Ethiopian history. One curiosity that I had passed on the way in was explained in the exhibit; it was a set of spiraling stairs going nowhere emplaced in the plaza in front of the Museum; it was constructed by the Italians during their occupation, with each step representing a year of their Fascist government in Italy. Evidently the Ethiopians appreciate the irony of this monument. And they even added a small lion on the top step! Inside I found another book about the culture of the Gurage as told and explained by a Gurage and happily read that for an hour. There were some interesting stories that were passed down generation to generation that I had only seen brief reference to. There were also stories of the first Europeans who had traveled through the country.

By this time it was near lunch so I caught a taxi over to Masqual Square, which would be near my afternoon follow-up appointment at the Ethiopian Mapping agency. I had noted on a previous ride through the square that the old China Bar still existed there and appeared to be in working order. The China Bar was one of the few places that we Peace Corps teachers would go once or twice a year for a special treat. It looked the same, the ceiling full of brilliantly colored tiles with dragons, the waiters and waitresses impeccably dressed. The menu looked good too. I did not order the lobster at $80 US but was intrigued to find it listed on the menu; we were joking in Emdeber the previous weekend about importing lobsters there from Maine! Maybe we should make a deal with the China Bar; lobsterman in Maine only get about $5 US wholesale each for their catch. I ordered fried chicken with vegetables and rice and it was delicious!

I then walked up the hill toward the Mapping Agency. I had only walked down the hill before and I'm glad that I had plenty of time because the hill was quite steep and the sun was quite hot. I was also wearing my best blue blazer, Greek sailor cap, and carrying the somewhat heavy laptop. My appointment was with the Director General, Sultan Mohammed, whom I may have mentioned was another of our bright students when we were teaching in Emdeber. I finally found my way to his office on the top floor through a maze of stairs and hallways and completely out of breath but still on time. Sultan was completing a meeting with his staff so I had 15 minutes to compose myself. Then his staff left and Sultan invited me into his office. He appeared delighted to see me and after discussing our mutual friends from here and away we went right to work transferring my research files to his computer. He confirmed that there were no new systematic air photos of the Gurage area since 1975 but they were planning new survey runs soon. He showed me one draft map which portrayed the current road network for the general area. He was very familiar with the urban Gurages, Fikre and his crew, whom we had met with at the hotel in Emdeber. So we talked some more about the development issues of the Gurage. He also wants to meet Phil and mentioned that he actually lives in our neighborhood, a short walk from our apartment. I then mentioned that I wanted to pick up two more maps adjacent to the ones I'd purchased earlier in the week and he immediately sent a messenger down to initiate the process. He next asked how I planned to get back to my neighborhood, and then insisted that I go back in his personal SUV. He then escorted me down to the mapping department and made sure I got the right maps and introduced me to his driver. I do hope some day (not forty years from now as I said to him) that I would get the opportunity to reciprocate his hospitality. So I got into the shiny new SUV and the driver weaved his way through the rush hour traffic, with me sharing my taxi chat in Amharic of "That was close!" "He's crazy!" and "Watch out!" He appeared to be amused.

Once home I took a long nap and later joined Phil and Danile for a quiet pasta dinner at the Millennium Hotel.

Much of what I'm accomplishing here is the product of good planning and amazingly good luck. Transactions in Ethiopia can still be very bureaucratic, with at least three stops on the way and then three stops back. If one encounters a barrier, it can take a long time to resolve, and for the uninitiated the experience can be very frustrating. I am doing well, even beyond my expectations. Tomorrow I'll laze about the apartment, make some phone calls and do my final phase of planning.

2-27-09


Today was very relaxing. I took a morning shower. Had breakfast with Phil and Daniele. They both had early morning appointments but Daniele expected to be back for lunch. Our apartment keys are very modern and cannot be easily duplicated so as I type this I am effectively locked in, but I am not afraid! I did the breakfast dishes and then composed yesterday's journal report.

Phil came back about 11 am, earlier than expected, and with all his audio-video equipment that had been held up at Customs, He is much happier! Daniele then came back from the American International School up the block with confirmation that she is hired as a part-time teaching aid; she's qualified to do much more but doesn't want to now. She also is quite pleased.

I was able to confirm by phone a lunch/conference with John Graham, the Ethiopia travel writer and now US-AID staff person for next Monday, which gives me some more things to think about. I took another walk around the neighborhood, shot some discrete pictures, ordered some additional horn glasses from the Gurage shop up the street, "exactly like my sample." We shall see. Walking back I took one of the back streets and found it lined with compounds with iron gates guarding expensive looking houses. I shot some pictures of the flowers and trees. It is amazing how close the rich and poor continue to live here. I almost got a shot of a frisky young cat on a wall and my Ethiopian cat-call got his attention, but he disappeared when I reached for the camera. The only other feline I've encountered was an old tomcat who after being called carefully inspected my hand to determine if it were edible (decided it wasn't). However, he seemed quite happy to have his head scratched. Then he bid me good-bye and resumed his patrol.

Now I'm back at home base and it looks like a quiet evening.

For dinner we walked up the street and then right through a construction zone (in the dark) until we reached a new hotel that caters to the Chinese who are working here in Ethiopia. There are some 20,000 Chinese in the City alone involved in major construction projects such as road building, industrial development, and energy exploration. The restaurant at the hotel was certainly more of a challenge than the old China Bar. No English was spoken by the wait staff (Chinese) and no Ethiopian! It was more like trying to order at a restaurant in China itself! We finally pointed to some lovely pictures on the menu and hoped for the best. The first dish than came was steamed Chinese cabbage with garlic and it made a nice appetizer. The second course can only be described as whole fried chicken run through a chop saw by a madman; splinters of bone everywhere. The beef and vegetable course then arrived and it was exceedingly spicy; I was delighted but Phil and Daniele could only manage it with quantities of rice. Still, I'd love to go back with someone who speaks Mandarin and see what the options really are.

Addis Ababa at Night (random observation)


Each city probably has a characteristic sound, traffic roar in Brooklyn with a few emergency sirens and screams to punctuate the symphony. Here in Addis Ababa, from my 4th floor bedroom, I've noted loud contemporary Ethiopian music from 9 to midnight emanating from the hotel bar next door. Next comes what I can only describe as the canine anthems, which build up slowly to a massive crescendo, punctuated by an occasional escalating yelp as one poor cur pleas for mercy. Now and then there are modern sounds such as a jet plane landing or taking off or a heavy lorry making its way around the traffic circle and then slowly up the road. Around 4 am the roosters begin their anthems and the dogs subside. The next movement is the 5:30 am electronically amplified calls from the mosques and churches. The final movement is the construction activity beginning anew on the next block over. Another day has dawned!

2-28-09

Saturday


Today began as usual with the roosters, the church and mosque competition, followed by work beginning anew at the construction site below my window. Have I described the construction site yet? It's gonna be another large building, ten stories of more, designed for use by a Mideastern embassy. They're just progressing above the ground floor. There are about 70 construction workers on site, 10 of them women. Much of the work is done by hand, with a few machines for mixing cement and lifting heavier slabs. It's like watching a beehive, and now tasks are assuming patterns. A lot of scaffolding here is done with eucalyptus poles, even for higher buildings. OSHO would not approve, but OSHO or its local equivalent is nowhere to be seen.

I spent the morning reorganizing and typing up yesterday's journal. Then Phil and I went out for lunch at the Samay Restaurant, this time for a traditional Ethiopian serving of "doro wat" (spicy chicken stew) This is the first time since I've been here that I've eaten excellently prepared Ethiopian food and I was beginning to think that it only persisted in Portland, Maine.

We then walked back toward the apartment and I split off to try our neighborhood internet café to post yesterday's journal. Alas, the machine would not recognize my thumb-drive and I had to make a much abbreviated post. But the service is available for $1 US an hour and the manager is quite pleasant.

I then decided to explore the area south of our apartment building, down by the river; it looked interesting from the Goggle earth view. So I continued walking down the main road, passed the rotary, and proceeded down toward the river. Well, first there appeared some nice houses behind high compound walls, then more modest houses, and by the time I neared the river it was only slum shacks. A rickety footbridge provided further access across the river for the daring and agile. I decided to head back up the hill, take a shower, and relax!

This evening we returned for dinner at the Millennium Hotel, another course of pasta washed down with Castel Beer.

2-29-09
Sunday


This has been a quiet day of pottering around, followed by reading Dr. Muluneh's dissertation thesis on the Gurage. Mulluneh has accomplished some very interesting work and I look forward to discussing that with him Tuesday afternoon.

Phil called in that he has safely arrived in Beirut.

Daniele and I plan to share dinner at the Family Restaurant up the street, a restaurant with an eclectic menu that ranges from Mexican, to Italian, to Ethiopian.

Tomorrow is a National Holiday commemorating the defeat of the Italians in 1898 at the Battle of Aduwa.

Besalam,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Haruo
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 07:30 AM

Thanks, Charley, but this year Sunday was March 1. ;-)

Note to those trying to identify Ethiopian languages in alphabetical but unnumbered lists of phrases, e.g. "Thank you in 50 languages": Amharic and Tigrinya both use the vaguely "rustic-Armenian-looking" Ethiopian abugida (Ge'ez alphabet), called fidäl, a syllabic script that is indecipherable unless you know it. Oromo, on the other hand, normally uses the Latin alphabet, with lots of doubled vowels, so it looks superficially a lot like Somali, which in turn looks like Arabic transcribed into Finnish. Hope that's helpful.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: JudyB
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 01:45 PM

I've taken advantage of yet another snow day to update Charley's website www.charlieipcar.com/ethiopia. Charley's mom maintains that we haven't had this much snow in about 40 years - in fact, since the last time he was in Ethiopia! I think she may be exaggerating a bit - but it is one more reason I'm glad he'll be heading back home in a couple of days! :)

Haruo, the only references I found to the Oromo under either name was in an old song Charley posted earlier in this thread. If there's something I missed on his website, please let me know so I can fix it. Thanks! (And thanks for your help in keeping February as short as possible!)

JudyB


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: olddude
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 01:48 PM

Thank you Charlie and God Bless you for what you are doing
for we are blessed for knowing you.

By the way, your poetry as with your music since 1960 is a treasure for those of us on the Cat that get to hear and read

Dan


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Barry Finn
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 04:56 PM

Charlie, how's the weather and if you say anthing like bamy or tropical you'll come home to being buried in a 10' snow bank but I do wish you pleasant weather. Are you anywhere near water that you can swin in, are the rivers clean & I want to see some pictures of the eucalyptus scaffolding. Ok, enough with my questions, get on with your maze.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Mar 09 - 12:41 PM

Barry-

I don't think you'd want to swim in the river I was looking at the other day; it was more like an open sewer.

Dan-

Thanks for the compliment.

I'm winding things up now. I've passed on my laptop to a very happy Gurage Graduate student in Geography. I need to run a few more errands tomorrow but that's about it except for packing.

I tried out the minibus system today, which travel between major squares in this city. They cost less than 10% of what I pay for a taxi. They take twice s long but they are quite acceptable. I'm getting much better at muttering the proper words that enable Ethiopians to help me rather than just stare at me. I could be a real international marvel if I stayed here another month but I'm anxious to get back home and help Judy shovel snow; hope she leaves some for me.

Cheerily,
Charley


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Mar 09 - 01:12 PM

Thanks so much for sharing your adventures with us, Charley. Just fascinating to read and I can't wait to see more pix!

Safe journey home!

kat


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 09:52 PM

Just a brief note to confirm that I've made it back to Maine on schedule.

One fun think coming back was making friends with an Ethiopian Orthodox priest, Abba Mathei (Mathew), who had also been revisiting Ethiopia. He's now resident in Boston and heads up a church for the Ethiopian/Eritrean community. We sharing many a "waiting room" along the way, and as he explained "a hatching egg will hatch when it will." And we had ample moments to ponder that concept.

Judy saved me some snow. I was concerned that it might all be gone by the time I returned.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble, back in Maine hard-wired to the internet


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Haruo
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 01:37 AM

Welcome home, assuming Maine is really home.

Haruo
for whom Seattle stands in loco Mainei


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 03:25 AM

so there really are BLUE skies in Maine in winter!!

thanks Judy & Bat Goddess

sandra (back in Sydney after a week in Bendigo)


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 12:19 PM

We should have some more photos posted this weekend from this revisit, if anyone is interested. We'll paste another link to my website when they're ready.

If the meantime here's a new song I've composed that describes some of the strong memories that are rooted in the Gurage country of so many years ago (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to line up the chords):

Words and tune by Charles Ipcar, © 3-14-09
Key: D (2/C)

Evening Shadows Fall


C--------G----C----C---C---------G---C
Evening shad-ows fall, evening sha-dows fall;
C--------G----C----C---C---------G----C
Evening shad-ows fall, evening shad-ows fall;
C--------------------F--------------------C
See the moon rise through the trees, feel the chill of a timeless breeze;
C--------------------F--------------------C
See the moon rise through the trees, feel the chill of a timeless breeze;
C--------G----C----C---C---------G----C
Evening shad-ows fall, evening shad-ows fall;
C--------G----C----C---C---------G----C
Evening shad-ows fall, evening shad-ows fall.

Build the fire bright, build the fire bright;
Build the fire bright, build the fire bright;
See the embers dance and fly, join the stars up in the sky;
See the embers dance and fly, join the stars up in the sky.
Build the fire bright, build the fire bright;
Build the fire bright, build the fire bright.

Raise your horn cup high; raise your horn cup high;
Raise your horn cup high; raise your horn cup high;
Praise the Mistress of the Stars, may her wisdom guide us far;
Praise the Mistress of the Stars, may her wisdom guide us far.
Raise your horn cup high; raise your horn cup high.
Raise your horn cup high; raise your horn cup high.

Hear the drum beats sound; hear the drum beats sound;
Hear the drum beats sound; hear the drum beats sound;
Dance and sing the night away; welcome in the break of day;
Dance and sing the night away; welcome in the break of day.
Hear the drum beats sound; hear the drum beats sound
Hear the drum beats sound; hear the drum beats sound.

See the sun rise, see the sun rise;
See the sun rise, see the sun rise.

Notes-

This song came to me on the plane trip home from a revisit to Ethiopia where I taught geography as a Peace Corps teacher in the 1960's. The images are from memories of traditional gatherings in the Gurage country, in which homage is paid to the Old Gods. We built our own fire this time around, sharing wine and memories with old and new friends. The constellation Orion was directly overhead.

Besalam,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Mar 09 - 01:19 PM

As promised here is a link to about 100 photos from my revisit: click here for photos

Now I need to re-edit my journal.

I think I'm really home!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Charley Noble Revisits Ethiopia 2009
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Apr 09 - 08:35 AM

A couple of post-scripts for this thread. I've done some editing of the journal as promised on my website (link above).

My friend Phil has secured permission to have the used computers imported to Ethiopia with the customs charge waived.

And I received this interesting e-mail from a Gurage student who is attending a university here in the States who was surfing the internet and stumbled onto my website:

This is just a quick note, but it comes from my heart to say thank you for your work on "Ethiopian Revisit -2009" website. I like your website. It is an excellent site. As you said, I hope you will improve your site by adding new information in various ways. By the way, I saw a photo of my father (Turga Buta) in your website (Murori hotel BBQ Gang Emdeber, Ethiopia 2009).

I went to "Endeber" last summer for three month on a service trip and loved the experience. I am interested in working for a non-profit organization in "Endeber" after I graduate from University. I am passionate doing this type of work. The last four yours I shipped 25,000 text books for "Endeber" students.

On the other hand, I am trying to start a Free Community Magazine about "Guraghe". If you have any articles, photos, suggestions or any kind of information about "Guraghe" people would be greatly appreciated.


I've forwarded his e-mail to our ex-students in the States who are working on the used computer project. What fun!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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