Hi everyone!

Trip Start Feb 05, 2011
Trip End Feb 05, 2012

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
Where I stayed
At home

Flag of Ethiopia  ,
Sunday, March 27, 2011

The day I am writing this blog it feels like the hottest since I am in Ethiopia, but I can handle it and I get used to the warm climate.

At these days it is very nice to go to the lake at the other end of town. I catch up with two other volunteers and we sit down for lunch at The Circle of Life restaurant terrace under the trees. The cool yellow, red and green colored place looks Jamaican, and … it's owned by a Jamaican! After lunch we go for a walk along the lake. This place is beautiful, with a stunning view, local fishermen, small boats, and a variety of birds. We sit down at another natural looking terrace and drink a cold Dashen beer, watching bold monkeys unexpectedly trying to steal some of your belongings. Next door is Lewi hotel (a chain of four in Hawassa) which doesn’t look as nice as ’our’ natural terrace, and… the view is the same, the beer as well even cheaper! Well this place is great! I decide to come back here one day with a good book and spend here the whole day.

From my home to town by bajaj is about 3 to 4 km, a lot of hassle, children calling "you, you, you" or “foreigngy”, negotiation about the price again with bajaj driver, and lack of exercise. Reason enough, although a shortcut, to walk every Saturday morning to town. And since 2 weeks a shortcut of the shortcut, what takes me 25 minutes now. It’s a nice walk through usual African dusty streets with chicken, goats, and little shops at houses. Afterwards I walk home with shopping in my rucksack, and a new blue bucket (my red one is leak) with bananas, mangos and two pineapples. It is hot, so I walk close to fences to find some shade. Once at home the shower is awesome! (well … bucket and bowl).

Before introduction of bajajs two years ago, people used horses, donkeys and wooden carts. Still many people use the old fashion way and treat their horses and donkeys very badly. These very thin, unhealthy looking and often wounded animals don’t get enough food and drinks, and get beaten while pulling heavy carts. I hear that there is a NGO in Hawassa that comes up for horses and donkeys rights! I wish these animals will get a better life!

Since two weeks I have a brand new bicycle, got it from VSO. It says: “Made in China!” I try to pump up the back tire, but the pump gets very hot and doesn’t work properly. The tire is still flat. The lights don’t work, and I heard before using the bike take of everything that can be stolen and take of the carrier otherwise children will try to get a ride on your way! I haven’t tried yet, the bike stands still in my living room!

At work is my induction going on, however I may say I am slowly making headway in gathering information, knowing the people and adapting in the environment.

In my first week the Managing Director kindly gives me information on an usb stick. I plug in and find a strategic plan, reorganization plan, reports from committees, power point presentations, documents, and more reports. I list all documents (58) and the number of pages (2,871). I decide not to read all!

I interview managerial staff to learn about their background, their position as a leader, and their vision on human resources. I meet lecturers and medical and supporting staff as well. Meanwhile colleagues show me hospital wards, lecture-rooms, student dorms, and the cafeteria.

In short some of my observations.

-    Nothing comparing with western academic hospitals! The 6 year old building looks like 20, there is shortage of resources, bad working conditions, so is the environment for patients and students.

-    Draft strategic plan 2011-2015 hasn’t been reviewed and approved by management; budgets are already agreed on.

-    Documents are drafted by several committees, although no or insufficient implementations are carried out due to insufficient management skills.

-    Job titles of Head, Manager, Team Leader and Coordinator requires definition of roles and responsibilities.

-    HR Dept. needs recognition and support from senior management, it also needs structure (task allocation/procedures) and more experienced employees (knowledge/skills/attitude).

-    Bad infrastructure, including ICT and management control. Proper online data systems are needed (HR information system and online data systems for patients and students).

-    Communication structure is required to let information flow through the organization horizontally and vertically.

-    HR department needs more upgrading to give support, information and advice to management and employees on the many improvements needed on HR issues throughout the organization.

Big problem is the language barrier. It is difficult to communicate with poorly understanding and English speaking female colleagues, despite a bit of translation by others. Also 80% of all HR documents are in Amharic (laws, budgets, manuals, letters, agreements, etc.), which makes it not easy to get a proper view of procedures and processes, and efficiency of work.

So there are many challenges and I understand that all this is too much for one year. Therefore I will set two or three main goals for this year and see how things move forward.

Sideways I hear some news from BBC television and from colleagues about other parts of the world, for example Japans’ disaster and unrest in Libya, and now Syria. The Ethiopian Herald newspaper gives no or poorly information, but every Monday VSO gives an update by e-mail about the safety in all Ethiopian areas. Fortunately we don’t perceive anything in Ethiopia. So far, no worries!

Thanks to everyone leaving a message on the blog, and again: we’ll keep in touch!

( I just heard temperature this weekend is 38 degrees! Nothing to be jealous on)
Slideshow Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • You must enter a comment
  • You must enter your name
  • You must enter a valid name (" & < > \ / are not accepted).
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address


Monique Kors on

It makes me a kind of Africa sick, when I read your stories about the lake and the views. It must be very satisfactory to be able to make an assessment and to know what to do with the data that have come availabel, Good luck with choosing your 3 issues you are going to work on for the coming year, I hope to speak on Voipbuster again soon, love Monique

rineke en herman on

complimenten voor je (2e) reisverslag van je huidige plek op aarde.
je maakt jouw "voetstappen" voor ons visueel.
Yvonne, een bijzondere vrouw, met moed en doorzettingsvermogen.
Geluk voor jou in alle opzichten !!

ina roeterdink on

Ha Yvonne,
leuk om weer te lezen over je belevenissen!
Ik lees een grote uitdaging: het project en de beschikbare tijd :- )
Sterkte met het stellen van de prioriteiten.
En geniet van de mooie omgeving.
Liefs Ina

Nynke on

Mooi om te leze Yvon! Het is weer een avontuur waar je in beland bent. Mooie belevenissen zeg. Geniet er van, ik blijf je volgen! X

Nynke on

Mooi zeg Yvon, Het is weer een echt avontuur waar je in beland bent. Fantastisch om dit te kunnen beleven toch! Geniet en ik blijf je volgen X

Desiree on

Een paraplu helpt ook tegen de zon,
of een hoedje opzetten.

vincent on

it is a good update to me from Ethiopia. Keep us well informed because this is also a learning process on life in Ethiopia.

Ans van MIddelaar on

Hi Yvonne,
Wat een avontuur ! Ik bewonder je, dat je deze uitdaging aangaat.
Heel leuk om jouw verhaal te volgen. Sucses met het kiezen, wat je het eerste gaat aanpakken. En vooral met de taal! Dat lijkt mij nog de grootste barriëre.
lieve groet van Ans en Johan

jan on


Raak je na 4 maanden al weer aan Africa gewend of denk je nog veel aan Nederland. Ik hoop dat je de taalproblemen een beetje hebt kunnen oplossen. Communicatie zonder taalproblemen valt al niet mee.
Ik ben benieuwd naar je laatste ervaringen

Jan Vroom

Chris Conley on

Hi Yvonne!

I actually found this page by googling for information about the Circle of Life hotel. I hope you are having a good time back in the Netherlands!

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: