Shopping – Day 3

Alright, time for the real work: more shopping.

We headed to the Entoto project compound after our morning meeting. The team worked on sorting clothes, cleaning up, landscaping, etc. I went shopping. We wanted to do some landscaping, flower planting, painting, shelf and closet construction, etc. These things are very hard to do without supplies, so Esias, Tamara, Anna, and myself all went out to get them. There’s one catch: there’s no Home Depot in Addis Ababa. So where do you shop for supplies? Well, Lowe’s of course!

Just kidding. There’s no Lowe’s either. No, you go to Mercado, purportedly the largest open-air market in Africa. If you’ve ever been to a market in a third world country, you can picture it. Shopping at Mercado isn’t like going to the store. You go from shop to shop hoping that someone has what you need. Our trip to Mercado and a couple of shops outside of Mercado took basically the first half of the day.

After lunch we went back to the compound to drop Tamara and Anna off. Their part (paint selection) was done. Esias, Jovani, and I then went out to a wood shop to get the wood we had purchased cut. What an experience. We drove down this stone paved street into a small neighborhood and then down a hill. We unstrapped the 4’x8′ wood sheets from the top of the van and down the rest of the hill, over a ditch, and into the shop. I marked the boards, and the workers cut them for us. We also needed some 3 cm x 3 cm boards, so they cut down some branches for us. Yes, the wood didn’t come pre cut. They had branches that had been quartered length-wise that they then cut to the size we needed.

We then went to the paint factory to pick up the rest of the paint that we needed. After that we stopped at a couple of shops to buy large bags so that we could transport gravel, which we purchased at another shop. It had taken nearly the entire work day to buy paint, paint supplies, wood, shovels, screws, and gravel.

Posted at 8:24 AM on March 29th, 2009
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