Ron Peterson, P2R Account Director and published author, has embarked on a trip of a lifetime. Ron was a Peace Corps. volunteer more than 30 years ago assigned to assist in Peace Corps support efforts in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
This is an official “reunion-type” trip sponsored by the Peace Corps and the Ethiopian government. Ron left on his journey on September 22 and will be in Addis and other cities through October 8. He is the author of A Time to . . . A Baby Boomer’s Spiritual Adventures.
P2R will be posting his updates to this blog as we receive them. Ron’s first two reports follow…
“Our Man in Ethiopia” – Sept. 24
I arrived in Addis after a 12. 5 hour flight about 6 hours ago. Was greeted at the airport by the American ambassador to Ethiopia, the Ethiopia Peace Corps Director and other officials. I had an emotional reunion with my friend Alemu and took a taxi to his home to meet his wife, daughter and grandson. It was a very joyous occasion with lots of conversation and good food and drink.
I’m in an Internet Cafe now with Alemu after he took me to his nearby bank to exchange my American dollars to Ethiopian Birr. We got caught in a heavy rain on our way to a taxi to tour the Piazza area. Unfortunately the taxi, an old toyota minivan held together with wires, didn’t make it far because it began hailing and raining hard. The taxi didn’t have a windshield wiper, seat belts or a defroster which made it hard to see. So we got out of the taxi to come here until the rain stops. We are invited to a free dinner at a restaurant billed as a mini Disneyland due to its extraordinary features. I’ll report on what I see later.
Tomorrow, I’ll tour around Addis in the morning with Alemu before heading to a Peace Corps conference followed by a reception at the American embassy. Alemu will join me for that.
A couple of the annecdotes to date from the flight are:
I sat next to two young Ethiopian women who have been living in Las Vegas for the past 6 years. They are returning home for a 2-month visit with their families. I also met a young Ethiopian who was returning home to bury his 27-year-old sister who died in childbirth due to complications.
Addis is much more developed, with lots of tall buildings all over. I’ll report more after I tour around.
Until next time,
“Our Man in Ethiopia” – Sept. 25
Alemu and I had a great time last night at an Ethiopian restaurant with the 100 Peace Corps Volunteers on this trip.We were interviewed by a two radio stations and two TV networks to tell them our story. I also spoke with an official from the Ethiopian government in charge of development and exchanged business cards with him. He seemed interested in learning more about how P2R can help Ethiopia gets its story out.
This morning we visited the old Emperor’s palace and had an audience with the Ethiopian president with the rest of the PCVs and had our pictures taken with him.
Got to go to a conference now and then on to the American Ambassador’s residence.
Bye for now,