March 21, 2006

Oi vey

Exhaustian has set in on the Fun Zone. Fortunately, the Huskies keep winning, which gives me renewed energy. My favorite sports writer, Jim Moore of the Seattle PI, has even admitted his desire to see the Huskies win. This from a diehard Cougars fan. (Think of an Arsenal supporter being happy that Manchester United keeps winning in the Champions League tournament.)

Can't say much is happening in Addis. I am waiting to take a picture of the construction around here. It is simply unbelievable. I walked a plot over by Bole Medhainialem Church and counted at least 20 construction sites, all within 4-5 acres. I read in the paper today that Ethiopia reported a 30% increase in exports in the first quarter of the year. All pretty phenomenal. Being in it, you kind of wonder what the heck am I doing working for NGOs - there's real money to be made.

There are skeptics about this growth, however. The editorialists in Fortune newspaper are some of the most thoughtful and articulate. One of their major contentions is that the growth is largely unfelt by the lower parts of the population. Maybe we've got a whole trickle down thing going here.

At the same time, from anecdotal evidence, I keep hearing that it's really hard to hold a housemaid these days and one of the suspected culprits is construction sites. Lots of maids are turning to work as laborers, hauling debris, cement, etc., rather than toiling away unseen in the backyards of Ethiopian family compounds. Not that I blame them. I'm sure the freedom to work on a construction site, to be part of building something, and possibly gaining skills that can be reapplied later is a mighty attraction. I probably would do the same.

Other than that, tomorrow is another hearing for the Opposition leaders. I think we will have to wait and see how Addis Ababa and the country reacts.

Best to all.


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