Monday, 15 October 2012

Pip update

Following more than a couple of requests, here is a token photo of the bump, as of last weekend (at 24 weeks).

We went for a scan a couple of weeks ago, which was a bizarre experience, although a very positive one! One of the parents at the school arranged it for us, and even arranged it for us at a time when they wouldn't usually have a Dr at the clinic so that Tommy could come with me which was really great of them.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

crazy hat day

It seems that Tommy can't get away from school dress up days! We recently had one called 'crazy hat day', where by wearing crazy hats the kids could collect points for their house. This was a challenge for us, we have no craft supplies, no string, not much at all really to create a 'crazy' hat from, but the boys gave it a go anyway and it was fun to see what the other kids came up with.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

cross country running

The boys have started cross country running club twice a week. The running track is currently out of action due to the new high school building that is currently being built so a 1/2 km route has been measured around the school buildings.

This is some of them setting off from the field, through the car park, around the back of the gym, down the hill past our apartment, then back up past the offices and some classrooms to the field.

The boys love running, thanks to that being one of the few things they did on the ship, but still haven't got the hang of pacing themselves to run long distances, they still think the only point of running is to win a race! Unfortunately the football team doesn't start until 5th grade, so hopefully this will keep Tom fit until then as he is counting down the days (two years to go!) already.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


The end of September saw another Ethiopian holiday - Meskel.

Meskel is an Ethiopian Orthodox religious celebration said to commemorate the discovery of the 'true cross' by Queen Helena in the fourth century.

(taken from Wikipedia:)The Meskel celebration includes the burning of a large bonfire, or Demera, based on the belief that Queen Eleni had a revelation in a dream. She was told that she shall make a bonfire and that the smoke would show her where the true cross was buried. So she ordered the people of Jerusalem to bring wood and make a huge pile. After adding frankincense to it the bonfire was lit and the smoke rose high up to the sky and returned to the ground, exactly to the spot where the Cross had been buried. One explanation for the high rank this festival has in the church calendar is that it's believed that a part of the true Cross has been brought to Ethiopia from Egypt.

 We had our own demera at Bingham with some friends in the car park!
 We learned about the Meskel festival, while the boys got to have some fun playing with fire!
 And we learned what happens if you all throw flour at a fire at the same time - not a traditional part of Meskel just boys having more fun playing with fire. If you wish to try this at home, make sure any children (well everyone really) are standing well back - don't worry Mum ours were very safe :-)

Monday, 8 October 2012

water or not

Occasionally on the ship we'd run out of water, or get close to running out of water at least, so that we had to limit or ban showers and laundry and reserve the water for drinking. It always felt so ironic that we were living on a ship, completely surrounded by water, but that we could still be without safe water.

This is the second time we're without running water since we arrived in Ethiopia. They are predicting that it will be restored in a few days (or so rumour has it, I am not quite sure who 'they' are). The rains have stopped now, and so we can't help but wonder how much this affects the local people and whether they have extra supplies in their homes.

We have a big barrel outside our door with 'emergency water', albeit not very clean looking (the nurse in me would quite like to swab it and see what grows), but perfectly fine for flushing the toilet and for boiling to cook and drink if necessary. Our filtered drinking water supply has also run out (mental note, keep the jerry can in the kitchen full rather than empty), but a friend says they have enough to share some of theirs. We also have some 'treat' bottles of Mirinda in the fridge - a bit like fanta orange and appletizer, which I am sure the boys won't be complaining about drinking at dinner time after their cross country running. 

So really, we may smell a bit for the next couple of days, but actually we can't complain very much. It is always good to be reminded not to take water for granted.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

changing seasons and GRASS to play on...

 Rainy season is officially over and so the field is open. This is pretty exciting for two little boys who have been desperate to kick a ball on some grass since we arrived :-)
 There are some swings at one end of the field and plenty of space for running about.
Tom's classroom overlooks the field and he eats his lunch outside in the little hut you can see or on the bleachers (the steps around the edge of the field that are harder to see).