#1. Affordable produce. Dirt cheap. Avocados are my favorite. A staple in our house. I have been addicted to guacamole since I was first introduced to it at Tovah’s first birthday party. Now, I make it every day for lunch. The going rate for a kilo (or 2.2 pounds) is 10-12 birr (or $0.70). You got it. All those avocados for less than a dollar. Fresh picked organic avocados. Wow. Forget the orphan crisis. That might be reason enough for me to move here! Any takers?
#2. Beautiful people. Stunning. Perhaps you’re not in the market for attractive people unless you’re a single person, a talent scout or just creepy. But they are here. Unashamed I’ll admit catching myself staring too long…wondering just how someone’s features could be so flawless. I would estimate that 90% of the population here are outright gorgeous. Have I enticed you yet?
#3. The sight seeing. While I am always honest, and perhaps a bit too brutal in my delivery, I think last year when I wrote about Ethiopia my perception may have been skewed. Yes, people urinate right in the median of a highway in broad daylight, but I have seen zero men expose themselves during this trip. Thank you, Jesus. However, at one stoplight a woman with a child resting on her hip approached my side of the van with her right hand extended asking for money and her left boob exposed. This was no accident. It didn’t just pop out a little. No. She had pulled the whole thing out and flopped it over her V-neck shirt. Was this part of her ploy to get money? You know some people will show off a disability or hold a sign explaining the sad reason they are begging for money. Was there a fee assumed with being shown the boob? I do not know. But it was a sight to see. Oh, the animals! No need to buy season tickets to the zoo. Just take a walk to the market or a drive into the city. You’ll see plenty. Down a little side road on a walk today stood a silk factory with real, live silk worms! Seriously. Plus leaves for them to eat, women weaving the silk, and items they produced right there for you to purchase. Field trip! Plus, tons o’ shopping. I’ll leave it at that. Ready to pack up?
#4. The culture. Just in general. The people here are amazing. They take care of each other, including the Americans living here (They love us!), as if they’re all a close-knit family. It would put Americans’ idea of community to shame. Whether they know each other or not they serve each other. Greetings and pleasantries can go on for hours, which is sweet….unless you’re in a hurry. That’s another thing: It’s so relaxing and slow-paced here. There’s actually a chance to get to enjoy life, which is rare in the states. Want me to get you a room at the fabulous Ethiopian Guest House?
#5. The lack of crime. With the exception of pick-pocketing, there is virtually no crime. While I have no idea the penalties for petty or serious criminal acts, I do know that people in prison sleep on dirt floors and have no TV. During an inquiry about getting a vehicle and license, we were told if you get caught driving without insurance the fine is 7,000 birr and a year in prison. No warnings. When would you like that reservation?
Life here isn’t that different from life back home. Grocery stores, movie theaters, churches (even English-speaking ones), schools (public, private, even home-school co-ops), malls (I know of at least one), gyms, and a multitude of cable TV options. Take away all conveniences and a sense of entitlement and you’ve got a normal life. Well, a reduced sense of entitlement. Almost normal. Oh, no tampons here! Never even heard of them. So when you come, bring me a box or two.