For the first time in two years, I ventured into one of Bole’s (one of Ethiopia’s wealthiest neighborhoods) supermarkets. Crowded with chin high shelves stocked with Heinz, Nestle and Proctor and Gamble products, I was taken aback by the assortment of materials available. Yet somehow powdered drink mixes (pretty crucial when your drinking only water and home brew for months on end) were unavailable, though there were 8 different garlic presses to choose from. We made the most of it, and found a majority of the bulk staple items we were in search of. Though a store clearly for the wealthy, the incandescent lighting, stark all-white décor, and array of foreign products, gave a feeling of being back in a freshly stocked Family Dollar. It was an odd experience in Ethiopia.
After 30 minutes of zigzagging through the aisles, we left with our first purchase for the Kololo project. The food, and home necessities will fuel our swinging shovels and cleanse our sweat salted clothing. Not to mention, offer a few comforts along the way. Kololo is currently between harvest seasons. Other than avocados (which we will be gladly eating by the dozen) and potatoes, there is very little home grown energy laden food available in the village. In a month’s time, many other fruits and vegetables will be ripe for picking. For the time being, we will largely be relying on rice, kenche (a tasty barley like grain), white oats, peanut butter, powdered milk, and pasta to provide the 4,500 or so calories a day we will need to sustain ourselves. Over time, the initial diet may become monotonous, though as the season changes, a potpourri of local foods will emerge. Believe me, we are all exited for Mango’s with hot sauce, mountains of bananas, and bakolo (when dried, local trail mix) by the kilo.
We leave for Hawassa on Saturday and Kololo Tuesday. While in Hawassa (Ethiopian Southern Nations capital, and 3 hours from Kololo) we will making the brunt of our tool and living material purchases, as well as add to our food stores. By Monday, we will have small truck stocked with everything we will need to contentedly live in Kololo for the next 3 and half months.