A relaxed morning for some:
Sunday 21st May began with the call to prayer at 5am echoing around the mountains. For three of us in the group this would be a relaxed morning exploring lake Awasa. Our three charity trustees needed to make a visit to one of the charity partners, so we took advantage of the beautiful day and decided to try and haggle a boat trip for ourselves. After a treacherous walk along the side of the lake, dodging the rather alarmingly large marabou storks (I admit, I'm a bit of a wimp, and these things looked like resurrected angry dinosaurs), we found ourselves a little company providing trips round the lake.
After some unsuccessful attempts at bartering, we found ourselves out on the stunning lake, breathing in the atmosphere, watching the fishermen on their papyrus rafts. Our Captain was keen to give us the promise of seeing hippos - little did we know how seriously he was about to take this commitment!
A little while into our trip we turned into a small area surrounded by reeds - HIPPOS! Great excitement as the three of us rushed to get a look at the pairs of eyes bobbing up to the surface. Our Captain, seeing our excitement, announced "we go closer". Great! And so we moved a little closer... and then a little closer... and just a little bit closer again. Nervous glances exchanged, we declared that this was quite close enough, thank you, just as an over protective daddy hippo launched himself out of the water towards our boat, causing our Captain to do a quick reverse. "We go Closer?" he asked again, optimistically. Needless to say, the decision was unanimous that we did, in fact, definitely need to get back to shore urgently!
Back in the car and another four hours driving south to our home for the week - Dilla. There was, again, so much to look at out of the windows, as the scenery was ever-changing, passing through mountainous areas, lush greenery, and a huge variety of different vendors lining the roadsides. Glad once again to be getting out of the vehicle, we each settled into our accommodation, waiting for the torrential rain and thunder storm to pass before heading out for some food in the evening.
It was brought home to us all that evening how lucky we are to live in a place where we can take electricity and fresh running water for granted. We were staying in a place that had the luxury of having a water tank - more than most, but this tank needed to be manually filled, with regular water deliveries arriving by donkey and cart. Seeing the process of filling up the tank bottle by bottle did make the ice-cold shower experience seem like a privilege.... It's funny how quickly your perceptions change when faced with a new reality. That said, the water was a little sporadic, making for some interesting hairstyles throughout the week for those of us who might have got as far as applying shampoo before the water then finished! Electricity, too, was somewhat sporadic, and being plunged into darkness mid-dinner became a normal occurrence. We headed to bed early on Sunday night, ready for the week ahead and all that would be achieved.