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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Dimmock

Seeing in 2021 from a campfire

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

We have only been in Addis Ababa a few days now, but it somehow feels longer. Tiger slept - even through the other children of the house waking up early - through to 8am and was straight onto the trampoline. She has also started to master a balance bike, and has loved going on the swing in the back garden, surrounded by banana trees!

In the morning we simply walked to Qides' "school" aka nursery and Tiger got stuck in playing in the sandpit, saw real (rather than the ones she sees in books!) rabbits and a tortoise. Unfortunately, I'd left without my phone, but her face was a picture. Having said our goodbyes to Qides, I walked with their nanny Tijitu - who had baby Samia on her back - to visit the St Marry (Maryam) Church which was packed with locals in white robes listening to the sermon. She lit candles, we wove our way through the crowds and back to the airbnb with Tiger walking most of the way!

After naptime, I got Tiger on my back again and went for a wander to Piazza which was full of your typical African shops selling Chinese goods and quite a few gold shops. We stopped off for a cheeseburger and fries, a draft beer (wow!) and watched Manchester United's rerun game - well, until the power went off anyway! It was the first time I actually felt like I was on holiday as I sipped a cool beer in the sunshine.

We then went for a long, dusty walk further into the city. The only thing I was really hoping to find was contact lens solution but it seems that opticians and ordinary pharmacies do not stock this. I asked in every opticians I passed - and mostly got a blank response! By the time we returned home via the 70 steps, Tiger was fast asleep on my back and ready for dinner and bed.

On the following day, 31st December, we walked Qides to nursery again, and then headed off to visit some museums. On the way to the National Museum of Ethiopia, however, we stopped off again at the St Marry (Maryam) Church we had been to the day before - and this time I had my phone to take a few pictures. It was packed with an outside congregation and a choir in white and gold robes, singing and chanting to a lady who played a big drum. Really atmospheric and moving!

The rest of our day was good exercise as I walked a lot with Tiger on my back but both the National Museum of Ethiopia and the Ethnological Museum were closed due to covid. We also passed the Yekatit 12 Monument at a roundabout on the way, which is an obelisk commemorating the politically motivated mass killings of Ethiopians by Italians in 1937.

Back at the ranch, after naptime, Tiger had her first go in a hammock!

In the late afternoon, we were invited to a "New Year's Eve" party at Qides' nursery which was basically a lot of kids and their parents and was fabulous. It was so interesting to meet some of the ex-pat community - Italians, Welsh, Germans and Dutch - married to Ethiopians who had made Addis their home. The nursery had an incredible tree house and grounds which Tiger still wanted to climb all over even when it was pitch black! We had a fire and a BBQ and nonstop playtime until Tiger eventually crashed at 7pm. We walked home in the pitch black, only to get back to a powercut (!) so I put her to bed by candlelight and was asleep on New Year's Eve by 8pm! One of my earliest New Year's Eves, I missed kissing the DJ, but I wouldn't change it for the world. Roll on 2021!

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