Friday, September 07, 2007


TIA, originally a quote from the movie "Blood Diamond", and recently incorporated into missionary jargon here in Addis. It means "This Is Africa", and is usually used in frustrating situations where things don't seem to work or when things are just crazy different than what you're used to.

For example, a month ago I was walking to lunch and saw a dead rooster in a drain, 20 inch elephantitis on a begger, and many people begging who had no eyes. None of these things are unusual here, but they all happened within ten minutes. It's also fun when you try to have a broken english conversation with someone to ask one question and it takes a half hour. Not to mention the massive pollution which makes blowing your nose an hourly requirement. There's always people on the streets. It's freezing in June-September. There's mud and standing water everywhere.

These are the things that make living in Addis "a little better than camping."

It's interesting to take the TIA concept to a different African country, Egypt. Egypt has a 20% tourism boost in GDP that Ethiopia doesn't have, and it shows. I only saw about 4 beggers the entire ten day trip. You usually see triple that if you take a 5 minute walk anywhere in Addis. We took a public bus from Luxor to Hurgada. The bus looked just like those in the states, and we had asphalt road the entire way through the desert. In Addis, there is not asphalt anywhere without pot holes if you're even lucky enough to have paved roads, and public transportation is never a safe option. I'll admit, the Egyptian bus broke down in the desert, but TIA!

All of the taxis in Cairo looked much nicer than all the ones in Addis, all the stores sold nicer things, and all the buildings looked newer. Even in Cairo, which has 5 times the population of Addis, the pollution was not nearly as bad. The Egyptions even "down country" did not stare and point at white people and yell forenj (foreigner in amharic). I think that's because they are used to seeing many foreigners due to the tourism. They can even tell Americans from Chinese!

Also, you can go to university in Egypt and major in tourism! You learn how to handle foreigners and even learn a few foreign languages. This seems silly, but gives lots of good paying jobs to the middle class and even opens doors for jobs abroad with the language skills. It was a bit weird to be walking in a museum and see one Egyptian speaking Spanish to one group, and then another speaking Chinese to another group.

All of this is to say that living in Africa is interesting, and gets even more interesting after traveling to other African countries to compare and contrast. I still love my friends and co-workers here in Addis as well as the food. However, I see more now what need there is in Ethiopia and how different it is even from other countries close to here. Ciao from Addis.

Patriarch and U.S. Ambassador Discuss Modern Versus Traditional Methods in Treating HIV/AIDS

This is taken from the US Embassy website in Addis.

Patriarch and U.S. Ambassador Discuss Modern Versus Traditional Methods in Treating HIV/AIDS

May 23, 2007
No. 30/07

His Holiness Abune Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), and U.S. Ambassador Don Yamamoto spoke to gathered worshippers and members of the media at Entoto Mariam Church in the heights of Addis Ababa today, about the compatibility of Holy Water and Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) for the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Members of the media at the event met with representatives of an association of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) receiving the dual treatment at Entoto Mariam and at St. Petros Hospital, and discussed with them their views on receiving both treatment methods simultaneously.
Since 2004, the United States government has been working through a variety of local and international organizations to fight HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the largest commitment ever by any nation for an international health initiative dedicated to a single disease – a five-year, $15 billion, multifaceted approach to combating HIV/AIDS around the world through programs to prevent HIV infection, and provide comprehensive care and treatment to those affected and infected by the HIV/AIDS virus.
Several PEPFAR partner organizations have been instrumental in furthering the acceptance of ART combined with Holy Water Treatment in and around Addis Ababa. These are the Johns Hopkins University-Tsehai Project, International Orthodox Christian Charities, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, and the Addis Ababa HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (HAPCO). These organizations have worked to educate Orthodox clergy on the compatibility of ART with traditional cures such as the application of Holy Water to treat HIV/AIDS. In addition, many individuals, including a number of Holy Water recipients, clergy and the Association of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) at Entoto have been instrumental in promoting complementary usage of Holy water and ART.
The leadership of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, including the Patriarch, the Holy Synod and the Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission (DICAC), have given their full and unwavering support to the concurrent use of ART and Holy Water. Many educational materials on the subject have been produced and distributed through the church. With this important endorsement, PEPFAR’s faith-based initiative can support a comprehensive approach to HIV care and treatment, including the provision of free ART services to the community at Entoto summit. JHU-Tsehai has opened a chronic care clinic two kilometers from the Holy Water site, and has begun providing anti-retroviral care and treatment services to a growing population of Holy Water recipients, enabling HIV positive individuals who come there to get well enough to return home and continue treatment at one of over 100 PEPFAR-supported ART clinics throughout the country. ?