Monday 20 April 2015

Building Bahir Dar - Interdisciplinary Student Project in Ethiopia - Excursion Day 1

It was the first official day of our project in Ethiopia, starting in the capital Addis Abeba. After having breakfast on the terrace of Taitu-Hotel, the students from Bauhaus-University and three students from EiABC met up with Professor Donath, Mr. Veltrusky and Mr. Stäudel for briefing on site. On this day much was scheduled. Divided into different groups, the team went to the lower region of Entoto Mountain by car. While moving back into the city on foot, our task was to make contact with the local inhabitants and the traders at Shiro Meda market, asking for lifestyle habits, living conditions and costs for items and living.

Our first destination was a typical compound near the main road. The compound was fenced by metal sheets. An old woman opened the door and invited us to enter and study their property. The Ethiopian students helped us with the translation. There were a few houses built of eucalyptus, clay and straw, some apiaries, a hen house and a goat run. The current supply was well installed and they had working satellite dishes for TV. To get daily water, they had to move to a nearby water tank. They told us that the price for 25 liters of freshwater is 0,50 Birr (0,03€). The water is filled and transported in yellow cans and used for cooking and washing, but not for drinking.

After moving on, we arrived at Shiro Meda market. Shops in this market mainly offered traditional Ethiopian items, souvenir items and in particular Ethiopian scarfs. Lots of people and pupils were on their way. A few poor people asked for money or food. Sometimes the way they were dressed was terrifying. At some market stalls we inquired the prices for goods and items: a goat cost 2000 Birr (90€), a dress 400 Birr (18€) and a hammer 160 Birr (7€).

Arriving back in the city centre, we visited the building site of the Flintstone warehouse. It was an awesome structural work including escalators and lift shafts. The big staircase was built like a helix. Otherwise the scaffold of bamboo looked and seemed to be instable and many electrical installations were badly and loosely laid. I can’t imagine feeling save there as a worker!

In the early evening we moved to the condominiums, an area of the Ethiopian low-income housing. Professor Donath explained structure and design and how to get such a flat. The procedure works like a lottery. While checking and analyzing the housing area and infrastructure, our group was surrounded by excited children wanting to play with us.

This eventful day ended with some glasses of beer near the St. George brewery und a pretty good traditional diner in Finfine restaurant. We had a tasteful dish of Ferfer and delicious honey wine called ‘Touch’.

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