We started our day with a walk around the town, much to the interest of the local people who shouted all manner of things at us as we passed.
Nek'emte is a developing town that is served by a new road, built by China, which passes straight through its centre. The town has expanded along the sides of this road in both directions, making it very long and thin.
Sunday is an ...important day in Ethiopia for all faiths, of which there are mainly Christians and Muslims, who go to local churches or mosques to pray. In walking around town we were able to hear and see people coming to and from, all dressed nicely in their Sunday best. Church is a lively and loud occasion in Ethiopia!
Later in the afternoon we visited a local deaf school and were introduced to the children who were spending their Sunday afternoon doing some studying before we turned up and rather distracted them from their work. It was a quiet and peaceful place and the children were very polite. Writing messages back and forth to communicate was great fun and the children were all keen to teach us their names in sign language.
In the evening, we met with Suhilu, the headteacher of Bekumsa Biya primary school. We spoke about our plans for the week and then went out to watch a football game with him at a local bar. Initially, we were not allowed to enter. However, after a bit of persuasion by Suhilu the door staff let us pass and we sat down in a crowded room to watch Machester United play Chelsea on a 14" tv.
A successful first day, largely filled with travelling. We set off from school on Friday afternoon and were in the air by 9pm. After an 8 hour flight we awoke to the sunrise streaming in through the windows on a sunny and clear Ethiopian morning in the capital city of Addis Ababa.
Next, we met our driver for the day and set forth on the road to Nek'emte. The newly built road spanned without turnings for 320km! During our 6 hour drive, we saw a wide range of livestock, dogs, baboons and birds. Despite its rural location, the road was also bustling with people herding animals, collecting fire-wood and walking from town to town.
We stopped for lunch in Ambo, the home of famous hot-springs and the source for Ambo water, Ethiopia's oldest bottled sparkling water. Westerners are rarely seen this far outside of the capital, and our arrival proved to be quite a novelty to the local people. This became a regular occurrence as we travelled closer to Nek'emte. Shouts of 'Faranji!' and people chasing the car became commonplace, much to the amusement of our driver.
We arrived in Nek'emte at around 4pm (10 o'clock Ethiopian time, as they consider sunrise at 6am to be 1 o'clock), checked into our accommodation and said goodbye to our driver. We are now getting ready to have dinner with some local teachers tonight.
Tomorrow we shall get up early to familiarise ourselves with the town of Nek'emte and to meet with the headteacher of Bekumsa Biya, our linked primary school, to discuss our plans for the week.
Dartmoor Training Centre Weekend 1
Last weekend from 10th-12th October 2014, half of year 6 took part in the annual Dartmoor Training Centre residential! It all began on Friday evening with a delicious dinner and some great team games. The ‘Windy Days’ game was full of laughter and coined the new phrase ‘Mr Pitts do the splits’! Mr James’ no-handed cartwheel attempt was a true delight to see! This was followed by a jam-packed Saturday with an active walk on the moors and an exploration of the nearby underground caves. The children were particularly courageous and many conquered their fears. On the final day they took part in an orienteering challenge which tested their map-reading and navigation skills. The children and staff had a fantastic weekend and the children were courteous throughout, a real credit to the school.