A Brief Travel Update

I arrived in Addis Ababa this morning and am camped out at Sidama Lodge, a spacious and comfortable residential apartment just a few blocks from the IIE offices. I’ve got a few hours reprieve before meeting with the IIE staff here in Addis, then will hit the road once again for a few days to meet with the fellows here in Ethiopia.    (MX8)

I’ve showered and shaved, and as Philip Marlowe would say, I’m feeling almost human again. Actually, Marlowe would have had two cups of coffee before saying that. I haven’t had any coffee yet, even though it was offered, and Ethiopia is the coffee capital of the world. I’m not a coffee drinker, but coffee is an important part of the culture here, and I plan on imbibing frequently.    (MX9)

Internet access in the hotel is very good, which I find delightful, all the more because it irks Cheryl Francisconi, who has been waiting for months for me to experience the pain that is Internet connectivity here in Ethiopia. She has threatened to force me to spend a day using the Internet at her house, and I’m quite certain she means to follow through.    (MXA)

My net access has been poor to none this past week, which partially explains the lack of updates here. Although I’ve been taking copious notes and have several posts outlined, the reality is that even if Internet access had been good, I wouldn’t have posted much.    (MXB)

The experience so far has been incredible and overwhelming. I spent five intense days meeting with reproductive health leadership fellows, learning about their work and challenges and getting to know them as people. This alone would have been enough to put me out of commission for a week. Add to that the packed schedule, the long travel, and the many, many new experiences, and you can why I’m not quite up-to-date with my blog posts.    (MXC)

It will take me weeks to process everything I’ve experienced thus far. Some things are starting to hit me, though. While taking a long, hot shower this morning, I started thinking about what happened this past week, and I was overcome with emotion. I’m not going to go into a lot of details now. Maybe people will understand as I start posting the rest of my stories about India. But I’ll leave you with this teaser.    (MXD)

My thesis has always been that we, as a society, have collectively forgotten much of what we once knew about collaboration. We need to remember those things, and then we need to get even better at doing them if we’re to have any chance at grappling with the urgent, complex problems we’re facing today. The remembering process starts on the ground with small, diverse groups spread out across the world. It starts by tapping into their knowledge, identifying the common patterns, and sharing them widely with the rest of the world.    (MXE)

Ultimately, this remembering process is about revisiting what makes us fundamentally human. That experience can be quite jolting, especially for those of us who immerse ourselves in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, often neglecting to deal with our overall well-being.    (MXF)

This past week, I was reminded over and over and over again of the things that make us human. It’s left me humble and moved.    (MXG)

My Internet access will be shaky again for the next few days, but I will post about India and my new experiences here in Ethiopia when I can. In the meantime, enjoy my pictures from India, which are almost up-to-date and which tell at least a small part of the story. I’ve also got some video, which I’ll upload when I’m back in the States.    (MXH)

Leave a Reply