We had planned to leave at 9am but our local guide, who accompanies us during our entire stay in Southern Ethiopia, was delayed so that we spent 40 min waiting for him. Upon the start of the drive Daniel was compliant to the bet I made with him the night before (see blog entry of Dec 4th) meaning he was driving completely naked. Actually you can’t see that much from the back of the truck but when driving underneath some trees one could see the reflection of his body in the front window. The air flow also blew his shorts out of the window and Tom needed to jump out of the cab to get them for him. This clearly contributed to everybody’s entertainment. I sat at the very back of the truck and didn’t watch the show too closely since I thought I will have enough time for this until Nairobi. I only asked Michelle and Liv, sitting in the seats just behind the cab, to inform me whenever Daniel becomes incompliant to the bet. Actually this happened already after 15 min when Daniel put his clothes back on.
We drove for about 45 min before we stopped in the city centre of Awassa. I went with a few others to a little café where we chilled out for 1-2 hours. Here we also received a WiFi signal from the hotel next door so that I could follow up on some emails. Afterwards we went to a little supermarket which was the first one I have seen since Khartoum. When I say supermarket I actually mean more a store which is comparable to a mom-and-pop grocery store back home.
On my way back to the truck I ran into Daniel who asked me if I already consider my bet as won and clearly I did. However, he said that in his eyes I haven’t won yet since from his understanding he needs to drive 50% of the time to Nairobi naked meaning when he is driving more than 50% of the time he can wear clothes during this time. I wasn’t sure about his interpretation of the bet and so I asked a few people who were there when I made the bet. Most of them backed me up and so I went back to Daniel to tell him that I definitely consider the bet as won. Surprisingly he agreed that I have won and shook my hand to confirm it.
After lunch we checked in at nice little pension and everybody with the exception of the two couples received their own room. This is the first time since nearly two months were I didn’t need to share a room and it felt wonderful to have a little private time.
In the afternoon we went to visit the Awassa Children’s Project which Dragoman recently started to support. We also took some money out of the kitty to make a donation in the name of everybody in our group. The Children’s Project is a registered local NGO taking care of children who have lost both parents. Some of the children are also infected with HIV. Therefore, we decided not to take any pictures during our visit since we don’t want to expose the children and their situation. One of the board members and a temporary volunteer worker from Spain showed us around. The Children’s Project does actually own a piece of land on which they have built several small houses in which the children live, receive their education and on-the-job training e.g. in wood work or computers. The Children’s Project also employees a number of locals such as teachers and women who take over the role of a mother for up to nine children meaning cooking for them, cleaning their clothes etc. I was very surprised what they created here and it clearly exceeded my expectations. I also consider it more efficient to support small private projects like this one rather than large NGOs since the money you donate goes straight into the project and is not used to finance a large administrative machinery in the background.
In the evening some of us went to a restaurant recommended by the Lonely Planet and our local Ethiopian guide. The speciality of the restaurant was fish and chips which most of us ate. I somehow do not like dishes containing lots of fat and so I ate stir fried chicken instead which unfortunately was not as delicious as the fish and chips dish.