This sign from an enterprising Tanzanian healer caught my eye as I walked along the main street in the Sudanese town of Nimule, just north of the Ugandan border. He didn't seem to have too many customers lining up outside his door--but then, you never know when you might need a cure for bad luck or a swollen body or a court case.... I made a mental note of the location for future reference!
En route to Sudan at the end of May, I flew Ethiopian Air and had a layover in Addis Ababa. While there I learned that Ethiopia still uses the Julian calendar, which means that right now it is the year 2003. Immediately I felt 8 yrs younger! Not a bad way to start a trip.... I also learned that in Ethiopia, the day begins not at midnight but at dawn. When the sun rises, it is considered to be 1:00 a.m.; high noon is 6:00 a.m. Makes sense to me, though it could wreak havoc with airline schedules! The flights posted in Amharic use Ethiopian time; the flights posted in English use standard Western time. Who knew?
You know the old saying, "If you look like your passport picture, you're not well enough to travel!"
That is certainly true of me. Somehow the camera manages, long before I have boarded an airplane, to capture the dragged-through-a-knothole visage, the telltale vacant stare and stiff-necked posture that come over me after 26 or 30 hours of flight from San Francisco to either Nairobi or Kampala (and we're not even in Sudan yet--that will take many more hours on airplanes and dirt roads). How does the camera know that this is how I am going to look when I arrive in East Africa? In Calif, friends look at my passport and say, "Whoa, that's a horrible picture of you!" In Africa, the immigration official looks at the same picture, glances up at me, and nods. Yup. That's her!
By the time you read this I will be in South Sudan visiting our women's Micro-Enterprise projects in Nimule and interviewing candidates in Torit for our Scholarship Coordinator role. I'll be even more bleary-eyed by the time I get back in San Francisco in mid-June, but it's all more than worth it for the sake of the women and girls in Sudan!