We arrived in Hawassa (also known as Awasa), a city located 270 kilometers south of Addis Ababa, around late afternoon to beautiful weather. Our hotel was located right on Lake Awasa, a beautiful, pristine lake set against the mountainous backdrop of the Great Rift Valley. Our group of journalists were staying two nights in Hawassa where we would visit the Regional Hospital, a Health Center and a Health Sciences College to learn about their maternal and newborn care in the region. It was our first visit to Southern Ethiopia and I was excited for the meetings and interviews ahead.
I had been warned about the monkeys from our Program Director who told me stories about their bravery at jumping from the trees and snatching your breakfast right out of your hands. Although they were rather pesky I still enjoyed watching them play with their humanlike fingers and features. They were a fun photo subject while I passed away a free Sunday afternoon.
I was thankful to have a room with a beautiful view of Lake Awasa where I could get some writing done and relax a bit after a rather exhausting trip. It was my first two-week journalism trip away from home and although it was incredibly exciting and fascinating sleep was something that was lagging. I had to admit I was exhausted.