The weekend has arrived! Today, Tim and I (Sarah) had the incredible luck to be invited to a golf tournament on Addis’s only golf course by Abraham Abegaz. Since my (and probably Tim’s) life priorities typically revolve around the opportunities to swing a golf club, to do so in Ethiopia was an experience that is exceptionally noteworthy. The course in Addis is 30 years old, but only recently has been converted back from a military housing area to a public course. We had clubs arranged for us and we were fit into a tournament sponsored by the local Coca Cola representative at the last minute. My foursome was made up of Abraham, a leading gynaecologist in the country, and the chairman of the Addis golf club. The experience of golf here was unique. The chips had to be of marksman quality and the greens were fast and furious. The OB stakes were everywhere you looked, and while the course was relatively wide open, the OB across fairways meant precision was key. The contenders were furiously passionate about their play, and regularly had asides in Amharic to debate a ruling. There was no room for a foot wedge or a mulligan; these guys are hawks! In this season, the grass is very dry, and we had a pick and place rule on the fairway. I shot a disappointing net score of 85, with Tim sweeping in for the win at 84. After the game we shook off the sun and tough game with a delicious BBQ and great conversation. The awards presentation saw Abraham grab bronze. During the ceremony, it was neat to witness the similarity of the love of golf in the room as there is at home. The golf club is in a fledgling state so it was also interesting to hear the conversations of an evolving etiquette, pace of play, and scoring. The great game of golf seems to transcend boundaries as we learned playing here in Addis.
The rest of the team was lucky enough to experience horse back riding at the Italian Embassy and a local wedding. Tim and I were jealous that we could not be in two places at once. The team was treated like royalty at the wedding and given a beautiful feast. Doran underwent a tiger-like transformation after experimenting with some of the local cuisine. We reunited with the team in the early evening for a debrief planning session for Monday’s presentation to IGAD.