Ethio-Pictures – Photographic Exhibition

We have a photo exhibition at Blackhall Library now on. It runs from 16th to 30th April. It’s in the lobby as you enter the library. And of course it’s free!! Lots of photos of life in Ethiopia from our time there last year with VSO. We hope you get a chance to pop in and see it.
Address details: Blackhall Library, 56 Hillhouse Road, EH4 5EG

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VSO Campaign Continues!

I was interviewed recently for the lastest VSO campaign. Here are some videos which talk about the whole VSO experience. One focuses a bit more on the process for educationalists from Scotland and the other one is for teachers in general  Enjoy!

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VSO Edinburgh – Returned Volunteers Talk

On Friday night we gave a talk about our experiences to the VSO Edinburgh Group. It was a great evening – lots of discussion and sharing of experiences in true VSO style. We managed to get our 9000+ pictures of Ethiopia down to a more palatable 100 or so and it was great to look back at our life in Ethiopia – and maybe encourage one or two folks to visit!

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Article In Highland Life!

We have now had an article published in the December issue of Highland Life. I might be popping up in other articles soon as part of the latest VSO campaign. Enjoy!

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RV Conference

In October it was the Returned Volunteers Conference in Harborne Hall in Birmingham. It was very nostalgic to be back in the place where we originally trained pre-Ethiopia. It was a very useful and enjoyable weekend – a lot of time was spent giving feedback to VSO, sharing thoughts and experiences on settling back into the UK and learning about VSO’s future plans and how we can be involved in VSO post-placement. We even met three other fellow Ethiopian volunteers. Here are some pictures…

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Today is Blog Action Day, so we have decided to write a little bit about this year’s topic – food! Since coming back to the UK from Ethiopia we have definitely noticed the massive differences when it comes to food, restaurants and shopping.

One of the first things to hit us on coming back to the UK was the overwhelming abundance and choice of food. Shopping in the large supermarkets offered far too much for us to take in, so we only shop in the smaller local stores now and we have tried to cook more of our meals from fresh ingredients, just as we learnt to in Ethiopia. Now we also bake our own bread, make our own pizzas and make home-made jam and cakes. We also eat much more fruit and vegetables than ever before and get eggs from a friend who has chickens. Living in Ethiopia helped us to think about food and cooking and how it was possible to try things that were a bit healthier and tastier.

The Saturday morning trip to the market in Abi Adi was one of the highlights of our week, picking up fresh, organic and cheap fruit and vegetables from the local farmers. Supermarket shopping, with its plastic packaging, air-conditioning and manufactured goods is just not the same. The choice is an impressive luxury, but one of the things we enjoyed about Ethiopia was being able to live happily with what was available on that day, just as most people around the globe often do.

Since we came back, from July onwards, the food crisis in East Africa has become major international news. We never saw any problems in the north of Ethiopia where we were based but we would sometimes see some people participating in food for work safety-net programmes. Here is a map from the BBC News website that highlights the areas in East Africa facing food shortages.

East Africa drought map

So although Ethiopia is commonly associated with food shortages, we enjoyed the food on offer there and the whole food culture in Ethiopia has affected how we now think about what we eat and how we shop. Thank you Ethiopia!

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Meet VSO

On Monday and Wednesday of this week we made presentations at the ‘Meet VSO’ events in Edinburgh. This is a chance for potential volunteers to come and find out if VSO is for them. We had a good turnout and we hope that we gave some helpful information and advice.

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