My last day in Gilgel Beles. I woke quite early and began to do the last bits in the house – burning the rubbish, emptying water bowls etc. I started getting a little panicky when I was packing as there was way too much stuff.
The car, as confirmed on many occasions for the last two weeks, was due to arrive at 10am.
At 9:20, with all my stuff spread all over the floor, the car arrived. I told them we had agreed 4 (local time) and they should come back then, so they left. I finally decided I would never have time to pack properly now and get it all down to two cases, so I got out a couple of big boxes and threw a lot of stuff there. I was ready at 10am, case, bag and boxes ready to load.
At 10:30am, still no car, I decided to walk up to college to find out what was going on. Anyway, after going round to all the offices and saying goodbye to everyone, we finally got into the car, drove down to my house to pick up the luggage and for the property person to check I hadn’t broken anything or stolen any chairs. We went back to the college so the property person could leave the keys (she was coming to Bahir Dar with us) and finally, at around 11:30, we were off… Goodbye college.
Now this bit is going to sound like I made it up, but it is true. Around 500m after the “You are leaving Gilgel Beles – have a good journey, sign” the driver stopped and told us that the rear suspension on the car had just broken. So, we limped back to the college.
It was like one of those horror films “You’ll never leave!” I’m so glad I’m a pessimist!
After lots of arrangements, we finally left in the college bus (used for taking students on teaching practice) around 12:45pm, stopping around an hour later for lunch.
As it happened, the bus was more comfortable than the car going over the bumps as I was sitting in the middle and it had a long wheel-base. Also, there was plenty of room to spread out as there was only a few people on it. Also, as the rain was heavy, it was much better that my stuff was inside the bus, instead of on the back of a pick-up truck. (Hold on, that sounds like I was looking on the bright side!!!)
We went through a good storm, fork-lighting flashing all around, torrential rain and at one point we saw what looked like snow on the ground – it was actually a huge amount of ice that had come from a hail storm we had just missed.
Finally we got to Bahar Dar at around 6pm, they all helped me get my luggage up to Judith’s apartment and we said our goodbyes. No power or water in the apartment of course!