On the western edge of Abi Adi there is quite a large development of colourful apartment blocks. In a town where most houses are single-storey, fairly traditional brick homes these new buildings really stand out. We went along to have a closer look.
There are about 10 blocks of different sizes and it looks like there will be around 200 (?) individual apartments when finished. Most of the construction is nearly done but we could see some Ethiopian-style wooden scaffolding still in place. However, none of the apartments have windows yet and work still has to carried out inside. Perhaps they will be ready to live in sometime next year. We also saw a brand new school that has been built next door, which looked complete.
A colleague has told us that people don’t want to live in these blocks. A lot of traditional houses in rural areas have space for animals, a garden for some crops, areas for cooking, pounding coffee and often large families live there – none of which seems possible in this modern, Western-style accommodation. Also he told us there is no possibility or tradition of getting bank loans / mortgages for such places. We’re not quite sure who will live here – perhaps government employees – but we have heard that such schemes are being carried out across Ethiopia by the government.