I accidentally came across my blog again when I was stalking myself (i.e. Googling my name) for lack of better and more important things to do. I have decided to leave my placement early for reasons I will talk about later, so I am basically just hanging around my workplace these past few days, trying to get my clearance signed. The clearance I’m talking about here is unfortunately still not in my hands. Went to the Human Resource Department today to pick up my clearance form without knowing it’s going to be another excruciating one-hour wait and running from one office to the next before they told me that the person in-charge was not around (for some reason only God knows) and that I have to go back some other time. Despite my pleas that I need the form right away because I will be leaving Gondar for good in four days, they just shoved me off and gave me the same “I can’t do anything about it” look that I have now become so accustomed to.
Yes, I am leaving before my “due date” mainly because the circumstances I have been in recently has prevented me from doing my work properly and from contributing significantly to the department. A few weeks ago, the house I stayed in for around 18 months has been burglarized in broad daylight. It was a Sunday. My housemate Joanna and I went out to have lunch at another VSO volunteer’s house, and when we got back home at around 3:30 PM, we found one of the windows in the living room broken and both our rooms ransacked. Joanna lost all her valuables (laptop, I-pod, external DVD player, watch, digital camera, cellphones, money). I lost a cellphone, my beloved Canon camera, and some money). Strangely, I found my laptop and external DVD drive on one of the couches, though I kept it in my drawer. The thief must have been in a hurry to escape and left my stuff, which is just fortunate because I already lost one laptop to viruses, and I can’t afford to lose another one. The local police came, of course, around eight of them, to do some “investigation”—which eventually led to Joanna and I appearing in court, our innocent (at least Joanna and I think so) guard landing in jail, a very good friend having his house searched for the stolen items, and the entire Gondar town knowing about the incident, thanks to the local media.
The incident, unfortunately, has led to a series of unfortunate events—Joanna and I staying in a hotel for a week and getting weird propositions on our hotel phones in the middle of the night, to name a few. I’ve also had streetlads coming up to me, commanding me to give them my laptop. I guess, there’s just too much that I can take. Call me weak, but once you get paranoid about small things, you can never have peace of mind. So I am leaving, for that and for a variety of other reasons. But no regrets. All in all, I’ve had a wonderful time and a very enriching experience in Ethiopia that I could never trade for anything else. I have learned a lot about the people, the country, and about myself. I have made a bunch of friends, expats and locals alike. I will definitely leave Ethiopia a different, if not better, person.