Just got back to Gondar from 12 days of Grassroots Soccer and Regional training in Bahar Dar. All of this was very exciting cutting edge stuff… cough cough… but I’ll talk about that later. The real events of the week included two shootings and a warehouse fire!
As we arrived a couple weeks ago, we were told to avoid a certain neighborhood in the city (with the beer garden damn!) because of a shooting incident. The rumor circulating is that an ex military guy shot up a wedding of a former lover, killing her family and a few unlucky bajaj drivers nearby. It was a really big tragedy for the area, some staff having personal connections to some of the victims. He then drowned himself in the lake. The next week, another shooting occurred in the same neighborhood. I feel a family feud developing.
A few days after that, a warehouse caught fire across the street from the hotel. None of the incidents are officially related, but if I were a script writer I would cry arson! We were told it was a palm oil storehouse, so clearly it burned quickly.
What was fascinating was the emergency apparatus here. Considering many households do not even have basic needs met, I was impressed by the multiple fire trucks that showed up. However, there is no hydrant system so they would wet the fire, have to drive off to get more water, and the fire would be blazing again by the time they came back.
Bahar Dar is one of the more modern cities in Ethiopia. Even though Gondar is bigger (or maybe because of it), Bahar Dar boasts cleaner streets, wider sidewalks and better infrastructure (including stop lights! You don’t even see those in Addis). So I can’t tell if I was surprised that there were two fire trucks, or surprised that there were only two fire trucks for a city that size (pop. about 200,000).
Peace Corps also officially consolidated us in the hotel. So I can check that experience off the list. Though we lobbied to move to the resort down the street for “safety” reasons, I don’t think they bought it.