Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Address

Please Mail me a card or a letter- I WILL WRITE BACK!
Mailing Address:
Laura Still
US Peace Corps- Ethiopia
P.O. Box 7788
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
East Africa
(also write 'air mail' on the front of the letter)

Regular letters take a 98 cent stamp.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Happy 2003!

I’m in Ethiopia and its 2003 by their calendar. I already know 2003 is going to be a great year for me here.

Dance parties are universal. Been playing lots of card/board games and dancing with my fellow PC Trainees.

I’m adjusting to it now, but man was the cityscape a shock when I first arrived. Coming from Niger, I had certain very strong ideas of what countries on the bottom economic tier should look like. These ideas where all shattered immediately. Addis is a bustling, rapidly expanding city with skyscrapers and building projects popping up everywhere. By this time in Niger, I was using a squat latrine, sleeping outside, eating Nigerien streetfood and getting terrified in Hamdallaye’s open air market. In stark contrast, I am in Ethiopia, watching Batman on my flat screen TV in my hotel room and surfing the web. Vegetables exist here, and malls. Malls! I thought I wouldn’t have to see a mall for 27 months. I’ve had to adjust my expectations of what Peace Corps service here will be like. Of course amenities in my town will be much less than in the hotel, but I’ve had to say goodbye to my hopes of having another extremely rural, bush village experience. Peace Corps’ HIV program is centered in areas where the disease is prevalent. This means larger towns, not Po-dunk-no-wheres-ville Ethiopia. Despite some initial disappointment, the more I learn about the health situation here and the potential projects I will have, the more excited I become (and at this exact instant I just happen to be REALLY REALLY EXCITED). Here’s why…

Technical Job Training

This is why I’m here! Its what gives me inspiration and has me jumping up and down- eager to get started. Tech training has been mostly an orientation to the health care system here in Ethiopia, what health problems people in the country have and what our role will be as health volunteers. Its been a rush of information and ideas that I can’t wait to implement! Going to use HIV testing, prevention and treatment as an entry point to address a wide variety of health concerns. So far I’ve learned a lot about STIs (sexually transmitted infections), MTCT (mother to child transmission of HIV), ART (anti-retroviral treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS), maternal and prenatal care, and a slew of other topics as well. The health initiatives happening now in Ethiopia are ambitious and very exciting..


Ethiopian food is legit. Super duper healthy. Injera (a flat, spongy, fermented bread that you eat with absolutely everything) is fully of amino acids and iron, its low cal and not processed. Fresh mango, papaya, pineapple and bananas. Wot, oh my goodness wot. So vegetarian diet out the window- I love wot! Wot is stew- beef or goat or lentil stew. Yummers. We’ll see how my diet changes when I move in with my host family.

Experiment: Try to YouTube the song Ishi Ishi Awo Awo. Let me know if you find it- its pretty representative of Ethiopian pop and is really fun to dance to.

OK. Blogspot doesn’t work in Ethiopia (my parents are posting this on my behalf). So I’ll make a new website eventually. Beginning small town Ethiopian life tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Am having a good time and thinking about you guys often.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Thanks Peace Corps, for setting me up in a swanky hotel in downtown Atlanta. The meetings are over. All that is left is a shot or two early tomorrow and an attempt to board an airline with WAY too much luggage. 6pm tomorrow is the 9.5 hour flight from Atlanta to Frankfort, 4 hour lay over and then a 6 hour flight to Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. After that is 10 days of training in Addis followed by training in satellite villages surrounding Assela (to the south of Addis) for 10 weeks. I have no idea how much internet access I'll have during training or after I will be at my post.

I'm too excited to sleep.

Lovin' and Nostalgia: Double Feature

There has been a movie reel of all my favorite people doing all my favorite things playing in my head since I got to Atlanta. Playing games in Beaumont, kicking dad's butt at Race for the Galaxy, Caleb licking Baxter, Anthony laughing, getting in one last delta, dance-off with Hayley Monster, dance-off with mom and Hayley Monster, relaxing on beautiful Texas nights with beautiful Texan friends.... Give me some of that soulfull lovin' and I will hold it close to me where ever I go.

My Niger stage-mates and friends have also been on my mind alot since I've arrived here. Staging is the exact same format as before and I keep expecting to turn around and see Dougie giving me a goofy smile or Shelly busting out the baby hands. I was blessed to have such an amazing set of fellow volunteers- its hard not to wish they were all here in Ethiopia with me. Now I have 68 new fellow stage-mates to get to know and already I've meet some great folks.

Next time I update the blog it will be from Ethiopia and this long awaited adventure will be underway. The anticipation is overwhelming. I feel prepared to meet whatever is thrown my way. BRING IT ON PEACE CORPS!