First Week in Mekelle

Arrival in Mekelle

We’re now away from the protected  bubble we lived in in Addis preparing for this moment of reality, now in Mekelle, north Ethiopia,  our home for the next 2 years.  After a rather ignoble departure from Addis where our box of entire possessions (apart from 2 large bags each) was too
heavy – yes, we were those people having to scrabble round and  repack on the airport floor – then we were off.

It’s much warmer than Addis (fortunately), but also dustier, you feel it in the air. It has a much more organised feel and traffic is calmer. Having said that livestock in the street so far: sheep, goats, donkeys, oxen and a camel along with buses, tuktuks and the two  4xwheel drives –  our convoy from the airport. It’s a strange (and sometimes sad) feeling to observe what our grandparents and great grandparents will have witnessed: the imposition of progress – transport and expanding towns on a previously rural lifestyle.

We’ve been allocated a one bedroomed flat – which will take some adjusting to – no garden! Thinking of the positives have come up with a few:

  • Close to town centre so walkable to work, shops, markets and restaurants – even have a western style hotel 2 mins away –great
    when we arrived and were wimps getting to grips with cleaning, the kitchen and finding shops.
  • Water – a big issue in Mekelle – but so far better off than other newly arrived Mekelle VSOs in their 3 bed, 3 bathroom detached villa out of town (ha ha). 
  • north facing so pleasantly cool day and night.
  • 3rd floor: good views and snooper protected balcony for peering at and photographing local life.
  • Feels safe and is quiet apart from the club  opposite – which plays till late – but we like the music
  • Landlord and family delightful – have enjoyed their wonderful hospitality


  • See photo
    -which NEVER tell the whole story especially the kitchen.
  • Bathroom smell – say no more.

Much of our time has been spent shopping for kit for the flat. Water containers feature which is a taste of things to come –the rainy season is just finishing. The showers will stop around now, (and when it rains, it really rains) then no more till about May. Brollies coming in handy for rain
and sun.

Work – Well, that’s getting going slowly.  Barriers include: Monday – office closed a national “Flag” day; Tuesday okish but ½ day only as nowhere to sit allocated yet in cramped office space – awaiting completion of new offices soon; Wednesday – National Holiday – Meskel – a religious day; Thursday will try again. No more national holidays until November now!

John is doing better. Although all services are off and on, we’ve got sorted with Internet – dongles mean he’s been able to receive and send his
work off, which is great.

Must go  – more water to filter!

Leave a comment


  1. Sue

     /  29/09/2011

    Wow two years in a one bedrooom flat!!! Is it hot there? we are having a heatwave – still 25C at 7pm tonight!!! Miss you already but will have fun reading your blog..Take care. PS This week is European Languages Day and I am teaching Years 5 and 6 – John their teacher has chosen Poland – so think of me!

  2. Lesley Jones

     /  06/10/2011

    Hi, well done for being so amzingly positive about your one bedroom flat! But then Barbara, you always did look for the upsides. And not too much to clean either!
    Really interesting following your blog so I will see if I can copy some of it to show the children at school.(West Berks won’t let me open your blog!!)
    Keep smiling both of you, even in the bathroom!!
    Love Lesley

  3. Good luck from all of us at the Pangbourne and Whitchurch Sustainability Group. Your challenges might put the issue we worry about here into a different perspective.

    Kind regards

    Peter McManners

  4. Fanuel Haile

     /  29/06/2012

    its kind of interesting to here about Mekelle – from someone new!!
    anywho, like!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: