Thursday, 19 December 2013

Our little monkey

 I realised when finding some photos on my camera that I have quite a few of Lily, who seems to be able to empty out anything in a split second while your back is turned.
This is the 'I have just been caught look'

Monday, 16 December 2013

Christmas festivity

Living in Africa there are not the same signals that indicate Christmas is coming that we grew up with in the UK. Firstly it is warm, which I am not complaining about at all. I love it, but being the same temperature for most of the year doesn't help realise which month we are in and how close we actually are to Christmas. Secondly, you can not see Christmassy things around - anywhere. There are no crowds to battle through to find presents as there are few presents to be found here! There are no decorations to see through windows as you pass homes or stores driving down the street.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Christmas Gibsha

 The Christmas Gibsha (party) started the festive season for us at Bingham. It is a time when all the staff bring their families to Bingham for the day. There was chatting, games and plenty of injera to be eaten.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Roasting a pig (or two)

 Before writing about some of the Christmas festivities I realised that we missed sharing about our thanksgiving celebrations:

Friday, 13 December 2013

A Christmas Animation

One of these days I hope to catch up with blogging what has been going on lately. Until then I hope you will enjoy this animation by Toms class:

The Great Bingham Run

A couple of weeks ago saw the day of the Great Ethiopian Run. Due to some security issues in Addis and the fact that Tom was desperate to run and not old enough, we were excited that some people decided to organise the 'Great Bingham 10K Run' instead.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving. We have been spending this week thanking God for so many things with our boys.We all have so much to be thankful for and love adopting the thanksgiving holiday thanks to our American friends and family!

This year we are especially thankful for the gifts of Lily and our little neice Isabelle who we look forward to meeting next year. It has been such a special year with Lily in our family and seeing how our boys love her and how she loves them so much.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

John Piper came to visit...

John Piper has spent the last week or so here in Ethiopia. He wrote a great blog post about some of his experiences here. It includes the following:
"Most of the peoples left to reach are hard to reach. What is needed is the commitment of a life, not just a year. A language to learn, a culture to know, a people to love, a gospel to speak, a church to plant, leaders to train — this is the pouring out of a life. May God give many of you this high and holy and hard calling."
I would echo his plea for long term missionaries. I would especially love to see more teachers devote their career to International Christian schools that support the work of frontier missions around the world as well as having a 7 hours-a-day, 5 days-a-week, 40 weeks-a-year for 13 years opportunity to point hundreds of children and young people to Christ.

Friday, 8 November 2013

ziplocks growing on trees?

Things you see in Africa are just different to elsewhere - in Ethiopia this might be donkeys crossing over pedestrian bridges, blue and white mini-bus taxis crammed full of people or such like. Well here is a new sight - ziplock bags hanging on trees.

We re-use everything wherever possible here so ziplock bags hanging drying is a fairly common sight, ours hang in our kitchen window, others have been spotted on clothes lines and it would seem some are drying on a tree :-)

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Guy Fawkes bonfire at Bingham

 Our Guy Fawkes celebrations starting with the creation of the guy
 Tom helping Mrs J stuff hay into the guy
 The finished guy on the bonfire -  thanks to all our 'honourary Brits' for helping get that ready
And then the guy was no more! We had fun hanging out around the bonfire with a pot luck meal (and sadly no fireworks as no one could find any in the shops this year!)

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

someone getting a head start?

While yesterday saw the elementary school races, today the middle and high school students race. However, someone seems to have started early..

House cross country races

 KG-Grade 2 boys starting off

Sunday, 27 October 2013

More Butterflies!

The start of the dry season seems to mark the changeover from Giant Ants to butterflies. Here are some pictures from our garden.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

walking in nature

 We took another trip out to Born Free, this time we took a picnic and went for a walk around the nature reserve. We saw many caterpillars and butterflies and Tommy managed to photograph a few. We also saw a few deer, but they moved too fast for photographing.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Ethiopia is the 8th hungriest country

This week the Global Hunger Index 2013 was published (full report can be accessed here).

The global hunger scores were calculated by looking at the percentage of the population that is undernourished, children younger than five who are underweight, and the percentage of children dying before the age of five.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Class of 2013 Legacy

Last years Grade 12 class made this scoreboard for our sports field before they left. 
It is now up in place ready for action.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

al fresco dining

The rains seem to have finally finished and the days are now full of beautiful sunshine. We've been enjoying doing some painting in the garden this week and eating outside in our little garden.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

thank goodness for new shoes

When we lived on the ship we found that ship life was hard on kids shoes, it seems that living in Ethiopia is not much better! These rather revolting specimens were bought in the UK in January, this is what they look like 7 months on!

the fans are ready, let's hope the players are!

Judging by the number of Ethiopian soccer shirts walking around town and the difficulty we had getting to church this morning, I think it is safe to say the locals are pretty excited about the match happening this afternoon.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Soddo Christian Hospital

Soddo Christian Hospital is about 200 miles out of Addis. Some of our home school families are working down that way. They have a blog which is worth a look to see some different work being done in Ethiopia. Their latest post is sadly reporting an outbreak of measles in the area, other recent posts are about the kinds of medications they are able to stock at a rural mission hospital and a lady who had quadruplets!

Check it out at:

Friday, 11 October 2013

learning comes alive week: sports fun

 The elementary kids LOVED the sports day fun this week. They had races with skipping ropes, bean-bags and running with cups of water to fill their teams buckets....

learning comes alive week: viking day

 This week was activities week, all the big kids went away and all the small kids got to experience 'learning comes alive' week, Tuesday was Viking Day for Tom's grade, then the boys have had arts and crafts day, science day and sports day. It has been a lot of fun, and just what they needed right before the school break.

Here Tom is dressed for Viking day - his artwork behind him is the red dragon.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Mount Entoto National Park

 After seeing the more cultural side of Entoto on our previous visit, we had fun exploring some of the greener side over the Meskel holiday weekend with some friends.
 We stopped by a small waterfall for the kids to play.

Check out our new web-site!

You can find it at

If there is anything you'd like to see on there let us know and we can pass on any ideas, but we hope you agree that it is looking good (Thanks Krisha). 

There is a link on there to a reflection from Chelsea, one of the student teachers we had with us last year. You can also click here to read it.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

8 months

8 months brought moving backwards and frustration at being unable to move forwards. It does mean Lily frequently gets stuck under the bed and needs rescuing but otherwise she is not too much trouble still!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

crazy hat day

 Tom with a lego football pitch hat, Josh with an actual football as a hat

Entoto Maryam Church and Emperor Meneliks Palace

The entrance to Entoto Maryam Church: within the grounds of the large Orthodox church there is a museum with many historical artifacts (plus some random Olympic medals that have been donated by Ethiopian sports champions) and the old Presidential palace. Entoto was the capital of Ethiopia prior to the establishment of Addis Ababa.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Kiddus Raguel and Kiddus Elias Churches, Mount Entoto

 During the rainy season we headed up to Entoto National Park and stopped at the churches on the way.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Addis housing plan

 In some areas of Addis there are many condos like these - and plenty more on the way due to a new Government scheme. These type of dwellings are where the middle class might live in Addis, being in between big houses that some wealthy Ethiopians live in and the shack type housing that many poor Ethiopians live in. Tthe condos photographed are where a friend of ours lived until recently.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

my bucket list just got longer

A new thing on my list of 'things I really must do one day' is to travel in one of these three wheeled taxis - there are not really many around our part of town, but plenty not too far away that I should be able to tick this one off one day not long from now!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

water again

Our water situation has probably improved from what it has been - some days we do have water for some of the day in addition to the evening, but we still have a significant amount of most days without running water.

Previously we were using the water tanks (pictured) as our back up supply when the city water was off for some reason, but we have had problems with the tanks and the water system in Bingham in general the past few months, with multiple leaks in the system.

These really do cause our team big headaches as some of the leaks have been very difficult to locate as they are underground and therefore not at all obvious, please be praying for our water to be sorted out soon.

Friday, 27 September 2013

meskel and (hopefully) the end of the rains

Today is a public holiday called Meskel to mark the 'discovery of the true cross'. We celebrated at Bingham again this year, with a bonfire and desserts party outside last night.

 The Ethiopians say that Meskel is when rainy season ends, and having been here for the entire rainy season that is truly something to celebrate and seems a wonderful reason to have a day off school (although last year we do remember that was not entirely true)!

We have cleaned the mud off the wellies/rain-boots ready to pack them away and I have just ordered a picnic table for our garden to celebrate the next 9 or 10 months of sunshine. Bring it on!

[We blogged last year about Meskel which you can read here to learn a little more about what it is all about.]

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

giant ants

Dear Friends in the UK,

In case you need something to be grateful for today, you can be thankful that you do not have army ants. They bite and hang on for dear life when you try and brush them off and make you look like a crazy person doing some kind of weird dance to remove them once you reach your destination.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

house (extremely loud) fun

This week saw another house t'shirt wearing day and some house fun. It is amazing at times to think that we have been here for a year already - but with New Year happening AGAIN and then the house spirit rally happening AGAIN, it would seem that it is true and there is something actually quite settling about that :-)
 The kids (and teachers) are in three houses - please be cheering loudly from wherever you are for Carey (yellow).

Saturday, 14 September 2013

out of the city to Destemender

About 20km from Bingham is Destemender - a little spot of peaceful tranquility away from the city which we visited during the rainy season break with Mark.

There is a small farm managed by women who have been unable to be helped successfully by the fistula hospital and do not wish to or can not return to their homes.

Friday, 13 September 2013

five residents - finally!

We finally got Lily's residence ID through a week or so ago. It took them so long to process that they requested updated photos of her - as she looked too young in the original ones!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

dirty nappies

The laundry has been a problem here for weeks now. And today I just lost it with Joshua - he'd put a dirty t'shirt in his desk and I happened to discover it. I have no idea really why it was easier for him to put it there rather than the washing basket, but there you go. Maybe it was to avoid the groaning from his mum every time she sees more washing appearing that is nearly impossible to get done! I didn't really mean to be THAT cross about a dirty t'shirt and I did apologise to him afterwards, but I think it reflects the stress of doing laundry here.

Really it is not about a dirty t'shirt in the wrong place, it is knowing that I am about to run out of clean nappies and that there is no chance of washing the t'shirt. I washed the nappies about 48 hours ago. Except the water stopped and so the washing machine stopped. Then when the water returned I tried again, and the power went off. Then I tried again when the power returned. Eventually the washing machine finally completed the wash the night before last after about 8 hours and about 6 trips to re-set the machine.

rain while fruit shopping

On the way home from the grocery store we thought we'd stop quickly at the fruit and veg man. As we reached the street the rain started and as we left this is what the street looked like - up and down the road from where we were. This is crazy rain - all the road was flooded in both directions all within a few minutes!!

The rain was so heavy we didn't want to get out of the car - my friend's solution was to ask for a kilo of everything from inside the car ;-)

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Melkom Addis Amet!

Happy (Ethiopian) New Year!

Ethiopia has now entered 2006. Today is a public holiday so we are enjoying a mid-week day off school. Ethiopian families will celebrate together, my house-help friend said that they will be eating the traditional doro wat (chicken in sauce), but I'm thinking lots of people will be eating that cow that was my neighbour for the last 48 hours! The boys enjoyed watching it be butchered yesterday, quite an interesting life for them at times!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

you know there's a holiday coming up when...

...there are animals in surprising places... a cow on the school field.

To explain - Ethiopian New Year is tomorrow and whenever there is a holiday the Ethiopian workers bring a cow or a couple of sheep to the school, butcher it and then share out the meat to take for their families!

Monday, 2 September 2013

a little bit of culture at Yod

 While Mark was here we went to watch a little bit of Ethiopian music and dancing. The dancers changed outfits for each different dance, which seemed to be possibly telling some kind of story?

There was one dance where you worried that the ladies heads might actually fall off and another where they all seemed to be doing some kind of chicken impression - you should really come and visit us and see this for yourself!! I am not sure how it compares with other places as it was the first dancing I'd seen here, but was fun for a change!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

our ten pin bowling experience

We recently discovered that there is a place not far from us where we can go ten pin bowling so we gave it a try.

This is like ten pin bowling elsewhere in that there are balls that you bowl at the pins down the alley. But there are a few differences:

  • You get given not only shoes but also socks - on a one size fits all basis
  • The alley is not quite flat, so even if you are amazing at bowling you might find that the ball doesn't go exactly where you are expecting
  • The electronic score board doesn't work - so a man comes and sits with you to keep the score for you (and disappears every now and then!)
  • Sometimes the balls get stuck and the man runs off and tries to get them out again
  • Sometimes the skittles fall down by themselves and you may or may not get the point for the ones that fell down depending on how the man feels!
But it was still fun and I'm sure we'll be back again one day!

Saturday, 31 August 2013

here come the rains in Africa

 This is our garden last night - the white patches are very large hail stones!

13 months of sunshine - apparently

 Ethiopia claims to have 13 months of sunshine - we beg to differ! When it is not raining it is not really cold, but not bright sunshine at the moment either.

Friday, 30 August 2013

National Museum of Ethiopia

 The National Museum of Ethiopia was split into three (technically four but one is currently closed) sections. The first floor was lots of bones - 'Lucy' being the famous one but also other fossilized remains. Lucy is a partial skeleton estimated to be 3.3million years old and had recently returned from her 'travels' somewhere or other!!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Born Free - Ensessakottah

 Ensessakotteh (means Animal foot print in Amharic) is a Wildlife Rescue, Conservation and Education Centre about 30km outside Addis run by the Born Free Association. We took Sarah's Uncle Mark while he was visiting out for a change of scenery:

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

coffee ceremony

 Coffee ceremony's are ritualized forms of making and drinking coffee. Coffee beans are roasted over hot coals and then ground using a pestle and mortar. They are put into the jebena (the pottery pot pictured) to boil the coffee over the coals.
 The host pours the coffee into small handle-less cups and serves it with sugar but not milk. The grounds are then brewed two further times for the traditional three cups of coffee.
And the coffee is served with popcorn - always a hit with the boys who don't get to drink the coffee!