Blogs from the Ethiopia Research Project

Bonnie Jacobs

Bonnie Jacobs is an associate professor in the Department of Geological Sciences, and chair of the Environmental Science Program at Southern Methodist University. Her research interests include the significance of biotic and climatic reconstruction in tropical areas, estimating past climates from fossil leaves, and environments of human evolution and in archaeological contexts.

Dec. 3, 2006

The trip over here was smooth as silk for me and Kathryn, but for Chris and Karen, things could have been much better. They missed their connection in Frankfurt and were routed to Addis via Istanbul and Khartoum, but finally arrived this morning, tired but excited to be here.  Our plane actually had a scheduled fuel stop in Khartoum, and because we were flying in daylight we could see the Nile and Sahara as we flew southward from Europe.  We followed the Nile all the way to Khartoum.

We have already had a traditional Ethiopian meal with the brothers of an Ethiopian friend who lives in Dallas.  We enjoyed injera along with several kinds of meat and bean dishes, and with the traditional dish, Dorowat. These are great restaurants, but my favorite part really is the tradition of bringing a large silver pitcher and bowl for each diner to wash their hands before eating.  Injera is eaten with the hands, so washing is important.  If I had room in my luggage I would love to bring one of these bowl and pitcher sets home.

I met this morning with our driver, Mesfin, and our cook, Achamu, who are really great and great at their jobs.  One would think that a driver has a simple job.  But, Mesfin does so much for us all the time - he makes things work even when they seem not to be working.  Achamu is a master chef in the field - and has his list of goods ready for the marketplace.  We will be well taken care of in the field, and never lacking for tasty things to eat.  They will begin to buy supplies today, and complete the purchases tomorrow.  We hope to take off for our 2 day drive on Tuesday morning.  Louis is due to arrive on Monday night.

There was a big rainstorm today - which is unusual for this time of year, the dry season!  Addis is a bustling city, with tall buildings, people everywhere, and businesses of all sorts.  Not far from where I am writing this (at the Hilton's business office), are the National Museum and Addis Ababa University.  But, others who have never been here before, may have better insights.