Sunday, March 27, 2011

Photos from Lalibela, Ethiopia

Lalibela, a World Heritage site, undoubtedly ranks among the greatest religious-h­istorical sites in the Christian world.

An ancient world, including 11 magnificent, medieval, rock-hewn churches, dimly lit passageways, hidden crypts and grottoes, was carved into the red volcanic rock underlying this remote Ethiopian town almost a millennia ago by the Zagwe dynasty. Today that world remains, frozen in stone. -Lonely Planet

Friday, March 11, 2011

Is There a Right Way to Spend Money When Traveling?

This is an interesting article for travelers. Going to Ethiopia really tested a lot of my travel rules of not giving money to people on the street... but I definitely followed a lot of these rules and have a whole second suitcase to prove that I supported local merchants and even wiped my brow today with my new handkerchief that I bought out of the minibus window yesterday. I also tried to buy some really cute socks,but they were for little kids. :(

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Ethiopian Coffee

Ok, so one of the downsides of Ghana was the complete lack of coffee. For those of you that know me these days, you know my afternoon coffee is like a shot of happy juice in my day. While I tend to run pretty well on adrenaline on these trips I still missed coffee. So arriving in Ethiopia was a wonderful next step. Here everyone drinks these little macchiatos. For those of you that don’t know that is an espresso with milk and lots of foam. Plus here there is an added bonus, the milk is thicker and creamier and just better! They are so good that I have been stopping more than once a day. It’s a fun place to sit in the sidewalk cafes amongst all the men. I think they just look at me like another crazy “ferengi” (foreigner) since there are very few other women around. Also there seems to be a middle class growing "Starbucks" cafe culture. Check out the impostor.

Reflections on traveling to Africa for work

Writing about the countries I visit in Africa is so much harder than other places I have been. First off, my visits are pretty packed with Princeton in Africa partner site visits, time with current and past Fellows and trying to keep up with emails and Princeton in Africa work from the US versus trips to the various tourist sites. What that tends to mean is that I don’t have a lot of extra time to sit back and think about what I am seeing. Usually when I travel for pleasure, I try to read both fiction and non-fiction books about the country I am traveling in. I try to read the local paper every day and get a sense about the current state of affairs of the country I’m in. Unfortunately on my work trips I don’t always get a chance to do this. Traveling to 3 or 5 countries in 5 weeks each year usually means I hardly know what is really going on and instead just get a chance to dig deep into a particular issue by hearing one of my Fellows daily experiences at work or visiting an organization that Princeton in Africa partners with. I’ve gotten to learn lots about the treatment of HIV, particularly in youth, issues in Africa education in a few countries, issues concerning drought and successful strategies to handle it like building rainwater harvesting systems or developing better local solutions for filtering existing water sources and I’ve certainly gotten to hear a lot about humanitarian aid and food security.