Extended Holiday Season – Happy New Year & Melkam Gena from Aman!

06 Jan
Christmas Decorating Committee - Me & Uday

Christmas Decorating Committee – Me & Uday

So the holiday season has come and gone but not in Ethiopia! Yep, that’s right! Tomorrow is Ethiopian Christmas “Gena”. Ethiopians follow the Orthodox Julian calendar so their Christmas falls on the 7th of January. It is kind of strange just having done my best to make it feel like Christmas a couple weeks ago and New Year’s and now all the local shops and restaurants are putting out their Christmas trees and decorations. Christmas trees and such are not typical of Ethiopian Christmas but have come to be due to western influence. Too bad they didn’t put out the trees before my Christmas, maybe I would have splurged and bought one. Oh well! Anyways, it has been a while since I’ve last posted anything. My Christmas and New Year’s was nice but nothing like I would normally experience in the US. I spent Christmas Eve celebrating with a very diverse group. We had 3 Americans, a Brit, 2 Indians, 4 Filipinos and a handful of Ethiopians at our local get-together in my village of Aman. Most guests came from the local university but since I am in town as well as a couple of other Peace Corps’ volunteers up the road we were invited since we recently met some of the other local “ferenji” professors and volunteers at the university. We had a nice feast and then spent the remainder of the evening playing games, visiting and singing karaoke. Christmas Day was a little less than eventful but I spent the day playing cards and drinking coffee with the British volunteer in town while her housemates were away at work. New Year’s Eve was spent doing something very similar as well as actual New Year’s Day with a couple other friends.

Now, I’m shocked because Christmas is suppose to be over but just today I spotted a couple of restaurant owners putting up a Christmas tree on their balcony. Quite interesting definitely considering the fact that it has continued to get hotter and hotter in the local Mizan-Aman area and we haven’t had rain except a few sprinkles since a week or two ago and it feels nothing like Christmas time.

So, as I mentioned Ethiopian Gena, their Christmas is tomorrow. This means preparations are underway for Christmas feast, get-togethers, etc. Since this is my first Gena in country I’m not sure what to expect. I haven’t gotten any invites yet but I’m guessing by 7am in the morning my neighbors will be knocking on my door begging me to come eat with them. More invites for lunch and possibly dinner. No school tomorrow because of the holiday and I’ve been warned some students and teachers may be absent on Tuesday too.

Aman airstrip when school gets out

Aman airstrip when school gets out

Even though Ethiopian Christmas is tomorrow and I have the day off I have a busy week ahead of me. A new year means new projects at my primary school. Currently, my student English Club will be entering its 5th week and this Tuesday (hoping people show up) I am planning on starting my Teacher’s English Club. Also, this Saturday will be the first meeting of a six session training I’m doing for the English teachers in my four primary cluster schools. I plan on having a 3 hour training during the second Saturday of every month until the end of the academic year in June to introduce new teaching methodologies, improved lesson planning and assessment techniques. This is my first training so I’m a little nervous but I’m excited at the same time. I finally feel like I might be able to do something here and help at least a little bit. Also, planning and programming are underway to host a local competition for Peace Corps Volunteers’ International Creative Writing Contest that will take place over the next few months. Well, that is it for now. I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and I wish all my family and friends and loyal followers a very Happy New Year! May 2013 bring you peace and happiness.Oh and by the way this is just a little bit of self-pride but I hand washed three weeks of laundry today in an hour and a half. Uncommon Success as we would say at DePauw! hehe 🙂 God Bless!


4 responses to “Extended Holiday Season – Happy New Year & Melkam Gena from Aman!

  1. Pat Peterson

    January 6, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    So great to read ans enjoy what you have written……thank you for doing what you are doing! Pat

  2. Patricia Molina

    January 8, 2013 at 7:05 AM

    Muy lindo lo que escribes, me encanta leerte y ver como estas logrando crecer en gran forma como persona, como profesor y como un gran hombre sensible y fuerte a la vez.. ánimo en tu trabajo y en la dura vida que elegiste pero que sin duda muchas personas etíopes y en especial tus niños te lo agradecerán.. te admiro amigo mío porque hay que ser muy valiente y de un espíritu muy solidario para dejar la comodidad y el confort de EEUU para irte a vivir al África en ayuda de otros seres necesitados.. Me alegro que celebraste doble Navidad, la nuestra y la del 7 de enero junto a tus nuevos amigos.. Espero que el año nuevo te regale buenas noticias, mucha alegría, salud, paz y amor en tu hermosa vida.. Un abrazo Antonio..TQM..!!!

    • anavarrete2012

      January 8, 2013 at 9:08 AM

      Gracias Pati! tqm! Besitos y un abrazo enorme. Parece como un siglo el tiempo q tengo acá pero en realidad es poco, dos anos no mas. Hay momentos difíciles pero esta experiencia me ensena mucho del mundo y de yo mismo y mi experiencia y lo que aprendo acá quedara conmigo por siempre.


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