Before my departure, I couldn’t wait for the end of my university term because I was supposed to spend my vacation in Addis Ababa for one month to support PROJECT-E. Two weeks before my arrival in Addis, I started to be an active member of the Fundraising Department in Team Europe.
I remember my first day in Addis Ababa, realising the great weather which I wasn’t used to anymore and being overwhelmed by all the things I saw on the long way to the Hospitality Institute, where I was supposed to work for the next month. Large crowds of people, the narrow minibuses and the crazy driving took quite some time to get used to, but I was surprised how fast everything became familiar to me and I started to love it. During my time in Addis, I was also taught some Amharic words, but even though I was not able to express myself properly, the people were always helpful. For breakfast, I stopped at a coffee place on the street on my way to work every morning (it was like a little tent), and I always drank Ethiopian coffee and ate the delicious local fried biscuit “Bonbolino”, which I got addicted to after the first time I had them.
At the Hospitality Institute, everybody welcomed me so friendly and I felt comfortable from day one. During my time, I got the chance to get to know the students through playing board games together, chatting during lunch break or even through dancing – we tried to dance to Ethiopian and German songs, which was always a lot of fun. One day they even invited me to their dormitory, where they showed me their traditional dresses and let me wear one of it. They also styled my hair and we had a coffee ceremony together, which I really enjoyed.
Since the students’ exams came closer, we practised different dialogues important for the hotel sector as well as job interview situations. Most of the time we had Injera for lunch and could enjoy the sun on the terrace, until going back to work to our volunteer office. The tasks at the Institute were very diverse and have motivated me to continue working for Team Europe after my stay in Addis. Hopefully, all the dreams and aims of the students will come true, as it is great to see how self-confident the young women are at the end of their vocational training. Some of them want to be a hotel manager or even open their own business.
Besides my work at the Institute of PROJECT-E, I could discover the city. My colleagues and some new friends I met in Addis were always happy to show me around. Places such as the juice stores with many different delicious kinds of fruits, the crowded markets with the spicery, coffee, textiles and finally the bars where we could practise the local dance moves. I spent one weekend outside of Addis where I could see many wild animals and experience the beautiful landscape of Ethiopia. The month ran by too fast and I will miss a lot of things here. Addis Ababa has its own charm and if you engage yourself in this city you will have an unforgettable time. I myself fell in love with this city and the work at PROJECT-E and will hopefully come back again.