Counterpart, I Can Count On You

Salam natchu!


I should have learned not to make sweeping statements like ‘the next post will be the last one on African soil’. This is the second one after that entry, and I’m still in Ethiopia. I just get carried away with the drama and the emotion of a good blog conclusion. I also can’t stop myself from writing little things. So you’ve got some bonus material. Gobbez Laura.

I’ve wanted this blog entry to happen for a long time, and now it has: ladies and gentlemen, this time, we have a guest blogger! The voice I am about to hand you over to is none other than my own counterpart, the ever-beautiful Mehret. She has put together a small but perfectly formed paragraph on her experience of VSO ICS from the perspective of a national volunteer. This is important for the sake of fairness, because I’m aware that everything here has been a UK perspective and a UK voice. So here I now present a little something from Mehret:

I’m happy to be a part of VSO Ethiopia as a volunteer, because I’m working with new people that I’ve never met before – from the UK and Ethiopia. Initially, I was fearful of working with the UK volunteers because we have different lifestyles, cultures and languages, but I soon realised they are the opposite of my perception: they are sociable and adaptable in their new situation. I am especially happy with my sweet counterpart Laura. She is good and can understand everyone easily. Generally, I am happy to have made a lot of new friends from the UK and national volunteers, but now we are finishing the program and I am feeling bad because I’ll miss a lot of them. Thank you for inviting me on the blog Laura!

I told you she was lovely.

I would just like to actually take some time to talk about Mehret, and thank her for everything she’s done for me over the last 11 and a bit weeks.

When we met on the first day in Addis, we immediately clicked, and have been together ever since. I think it’s true what they say about opposites attracting –Mehret is always perfectly dressed, while I look like a complete scruffball. I remember the overwhelming feeling of relief when I found out that she would be the person looking after me in the first few unsure weeks; she’s been my other part; and my instant friend. She’s taught me so much, from the first difficult attempts at Amharic, to the less tangible things that I’ve learned: not being upset by those who wrong me, accepting what I cannot change, and continuing to do my best. She went out of her way to get me home every night for far longer than she was obliged to. She dried my eyes when I had my first week mental breakdowns. We talk about life and the universe, hopes and aspirations, and untangle problems. Being with her for 3 months has been an absolute joy, and we’ve got a lifelong bond now. And when I come back (Mehret, I promise that I am), I want her to be the first person I see.  Thank you for being my sister and my better self. I hope that some day I can repay you for everything you’ve done for me – I honestly could not have got through this without you. Amasegenalow konjo x



One thought on “Counterpart, I Can Count On You

  1. This cannot be your last blog. You have to keep the Ethiopian volunteers up to speed with your return volunteer weekend and perhaps devote a poem to your experiences back home? Reading has been fun

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