I'm back in Cape Town now for a few days after a very quick, but very meaningful and informative trip to Ethiopia. In each of the places I've gone on this project I've had time to fully immerse myself not just in the educational or astronomical culture, but also a bit in the national culture, the language, the local histories, the arrangement of the cities and so on. By spending 2.5 weeks in Ethiopia, instead of my standard 2-3 months, I didn't necessarily have time to do this, and instead was on *Watson Power Mode*, attempting to absorb and do as much as humanly possible in the short time I had.
Through my work at the OAD in Cape Town, I was able to connect with the ESSS ahead of time and through them, I visited 5 different schools across Addis in the time I was there. We visited both public and private schools, although each of the schools we visited had their own Space Science Club. Besides these clubs, astronomy is barely in the school curriculum, usually taught as small units in physics or geography classes. For the most part, I gave my standard presentation and engaged with students directly this way.
|Speaking to the Nazareth girls school Space Science Club.|
|Nazareth girls school, student organized Space Science Club evening event, complete with star gazing|
|Misrak Goeh Secondary School Astrophysics club|
|St. Joseph School Space Science Club|
|Student presentation on the life cycle of stars, Nazareth Girls School|
With the ESSS, I visited the site of the Entoto Observatory, just 30km away from Addis Ababa. Despite the proximity to the city, the light pollution is fairly low and because of the high altitude, it is less rainy than in the city. When I visited, the spaces for the two domes were being constructed, and the buildings for offices, cafeteria and accommodation were nearly complete. Over the course of my visit, the domes were delivered, and in the months ahead the telescopes themselves will be shipped and installed.
|Construction of the Entoto Observatory|
|Construction of the Entoto Observatory.|
|Main Observatory building for offices, cafeteria and accommodation.|
|With Birukti in front of Wenchi Crater Lake|
About five years ago, Birukti started a house for teenage boys who had formerly lived on the street. The project, called "Change House," had a total of 22 boys to start, many of which have graduated and are working and self-sufficient. With Birukti, I visited the house, which has 4 boys living there now. The following night, the boys, plus a few of the graduates, came over to Birukti's house for dinner, games and a little bit of telescope time. The clouds rolled in before we could see anything too cool, but it was nice that they still got to see how the telescope worked.
|At Birukti's with the Change House boys|
|Looking through the telescope before the clouds roll in.|
Birukti also organized a program for girls she works with in the Entoto mountains to do a quick lesson on astronomy. We went over the basics of the Sun, Earth and Moon system, and explained orbits, seasons and lunar phases.
|Birukti translating for our lesson about the Sun, Earth and Moon|
|Learning about Earth's tilt.|
Tomorrow I head to NEW ZEALAND for phase 4 (or 5?) of my trip. I'm sad to leave what has become my family and my home in Cape Town, but I feel ready for more adventures and a new place to explore.
To close, more pictures from Ethiopia:
|Huge Orthodox Christian church in Bole, Addis Ababa|
|Sunset from Birukti's house. The sky, I think, was Addis' most beautiful quality.|
|View of Addis Ababa from halfway up the Entoto mountains|
|Wenchi Crater lake|
|First time on a horse! Wenchi Crater|
|Amazing sunset from the plane|