I'm going to continue my travel journal over the next couple weeks, but every now and then I may insert a sidebar about our adjustment at home or about some unique thing about Ethiopia. This post's subject: enduring Africa's heat in long sleeves.
Before we left for Ethiopia, everyone said everyone dresses in layers. This was hard to figure. Why would you need layers in the middle of summer? First of all, Ethiopians are conservative people. They tend to stay covered; they don't wear shorts or tank tops. I saw a handful of people who strayed from that rule, but most people wore long pants and long sleeve shirts. Second, it does get cool at night and the air is very dry, so if you're not in the direct sun it's fairly comfortable. Still, I was quite dewey a good bit of the trip, especially in Awassa where it was significantly hotter.
Once, on our way back from Awassa, the road turned into a big pitted, dirt path. Everyone quickly rolled up their windows to keep the dust out. Then an amazing thing happened. The driver switched on the A/C. Spence and I just stared at each other as the cool air enveloped us like a little piece of heaven. Two minutes later when the road turned back to pavement, he switched off the A/C and rolled the windows back down. Hmmm. Truth is, A/C is very rare in Ethiopia. Even the fancy traditional restaurant we went to one night had no air, and the dancers never even broke a sweat.
The biggest mistake I made was bringing only summer clothes for Dawit, not because I felt he was cold, but because everyone thought he was cold. I spent a lot of time wrapping him in blankets so I wouldn't be judged for being the worst mother ever.
I miss Ethiopia like crazy, but I'm loving being back in the good ole A of C.