Kate Montgomery

Kate Montgomery

The countdown has arrived ……….

 Posted by Kate Montgomery at 8:54 pm  Ethiopia  Comments Off on The countdown has arrived ……….
Nov 272010

Well ………. for the first few weeks I never thought I was gonna last the whole 3 months, but I have, it’s almost over :-(  It was rough at first, but, then it all turned around very quickly and I’ve had a BRILLIANT time.

Since I last wrote we have taken a trip up North to Lalibela (if you haven’t heard of this place, look it up, it’s amazing).  The ride up was SO long and the roads were average/bad.  The first drive was 10 hours but it was fine, it was the last 5 hours that hurt the most.  Seriously, on such bumpy roads like that, it’s about the only time in my life I was glad I had small boobs.  Even THEY hurt, mate if they had of been bigger those puppies would have been sore for WEEKS! 😀

Anyway ………… we hired a van and a driver for the whole trip which was really cheap and worth every penny as the public transport can be PAINFUL.  First we stayed in Bahir Dar for a night which has a HUGE lake, I loved Bahir Dar.  Then we did the tough bumpy road trip to Lalibela.  It was a shit trip but once we made it there it was incredible.  TOTALLY in the middle of nowhere with gorgeous scenery left right centre.  We stayed in an AMAZING hotel called Mountain View which had views to die for.  All in all we had a great time.

UNTIL!  The next day …………Us being the idiots that we are ………….. we went so nuts at the primo hotel, we were like “Oh screw it, lets just go nuts, it’s a hot hotel and we’ll never be back, lets have fun!”  So we did …………. but the next day ………… we needed petrol, and …………… we had no money left.  AND there were no atm’s within a 500km radius.  Now the drivers here seriously earn like $100 a month, if that.  WE HAD TO ASK THIS POOR DUDE FOR MONEY!  The poor guy, had like $30 on him for his food and accomm for himself for the trip.  He had to pay for our hotel.  We didn’t eat that night cause we had no money.  He didn’t eat either!  Fail!  So once we got within about 6 hours from Addis we got a transfer through Western Union to save our asses.  So funny though, we went from riches to rags within 12 hours…………. idiots.

A surprising thing on the trip was, when we pulled over to have a rest or take photos, the kids usually ask for money or food or some shit ……….. mate, these kids wanted PENS.  I was so gutted, I wish I had 1,000 but I only had 2.  They wanted to write, write write write, which was cool, but they have no pens or pencils cause they are in the middle of nowhere.

Anyway, it’s Sunday now and I leave on Wednesday, so it’s all coming to an end very quickly.  We will spend the whole day with the kids tomorrow and say bye for the last time.  It’s going to be SO sad, but just one of those things I guess.  Then on Tuesday, no doubt, we’ll be hitting the restaurants and pubs/clubs for the last time too.  I can’t believe it’s over!!  Back to the real world, but it’s summer in Queenstown, which I LOVE, and I would never complain about going home to that.

I will write one last time as I return home and before I head back to work.  Fingers crossed my trip home goes smoothly, and my luggage arrives where it’s meant to.  Fingers and TOES crossed.  So I’ll write in a week, much love from me to you as always xoxoxoxo

Only a few weeks to go …………..

 Posted by Kate Montgomery at 9:21 pm  Ethiopia  Comments Off on Only a few weeks to go …………..
Nov 082010

OK!  So, it’s almost been a month since my lazy ass has written.  I’ll do my best to fill you in on all the fun stuff.

All has been going really well here, time is going to quickly now.  Before I know it, it will be Christmas.  The kids are great, the weather is awesome, I’m eating HEAPS more of the local food (which I will miss!).  It’s really nice and although I can’t eat it as well as they can (with my hand), I still like eating it.  I actually started eating the enjera with a fork one time, I don’t think anyone had actually seen a person do this before and got some strange looks so won’t be doing that again.

So the kids are revising a lot at the moment.  Each week that goes by, they learn so much more.  We have learnt the ABC’s, my body, days of the week, colours, shapes etc.  It’s hard work some days but it’s good fun at the same time.  As time gets closer though the more sad I am going to be leaving them.  They are GORGEOUS!  And they all have such strong personalities, they are all so different.  I have heaps of photos of them which I can’t wait for you all to see.

So what’s been happening out of school …………. we have made a few trips away on weekends to see the countryside, which I love!  We did an EPIC fail one time though.  One weekend we went to Awassa on the hectic bus which was primo, Awassa was great, but we stopped in a place halfway on the bus to get a break.  Well ………… this place was SHIT!  SO hectic, when we got off the bus we got caned by all these locals pouncing on us to buy shit.  So many people surrounding us cause we were foreigners.  Then there was this CRAZY lady, bloody yelling and spitting just being crazy at us.  A nice cafe guy pulled us into his shop to save us, we sat down and all was sweet.  But this crazy lady was argueing outside with other people and then spat in this dudes FACE!  She was off her head!!.  Anyway!  We got help from some nice people back on the bus safely so we didn’t get tramped on.  We left there never wanting to go back.  To finish the story we went to Lake Ziway the weekend after that to have a wee geez.  We were cruising down the street and I stopped and was like “OMFG”, Pilar and Sam were like “What what what!”  I said “I think we have been here before, I remember that building” and just as I said that, THE CRAZY LADY WAS IN FRONT OF US!.   Well!  It was so funny, we all ran.  Just ran for our lives, cracking up at how much of a fail that was that we came away for a nice weekend to the shit hole that we never wanted to step foot in again.  Too funny.

Ummmmmmmmmm, what else.  So I am thinking of taking a few days travel north, to see some old cool stuff before I depart.  I’ll hopefully make some bookings next week as I really want to see a few more cultural things before I leave.

We went to the mother teresa home the other day.  It’s a great place, run my the sisters, with 320 HIV orphans that live there.  They are so SMALL!  So cute too, and it’s a HUGE home which is really clean and tidy, and the sisters were so nice just chatting away to us.  Such a sad place though, I left feeling slightly blown away.  Would love to go back and spend a day there helping out.

So that’s it from me really.  Haven’t been doing much else apart from eating and drinking, as per normal.  Am actually looking forward to going to the gym when I get home.  Yes, those who know me heard that right.  I feel REALLY unhealthy and fat.

Oh before I write off I’ll quickly tell you about the movie fail.  We went to this big mall to “the town” movie which was all good and fine.  More than 3 quarters way through the movie …………. the power went out, which was fine, that happens all the time.  I thought the generator would kick in ANY minute.  So a minute later the lights come on but no movie.  Then the lights went out again and the big screen came up all black with some white blotches on it, then we realised that it was the film……………. burning.  WHOOPS!  It looked like it was melting or something then it burnt completely so we came to the decision that that was the end of our movie night.  TOTAL FAIL!  THE FILM BURNING!  Especially cause we were almost finished, gutted, but funny at the same time.

OK, I hope this finds you all well and happy and healthy, much love from me to YOU!!!  xoxoxoxo


 Posted by Kate Montgomery at 9:37 pm  Ethiopia  Comments Off on ALO ALO!!
Oct 142010

Well it’s been AGES since I’ve written, so bad I know.  I just get so frustrated with sitting at a computer here.  Not sure why, I do this 40 hours a week back home, I should be use to it.

ANYWAY!  I’m doing really well!  Rainy season is over, I have sussed the bed bug problem, I’m sleeping better as I’m not itching like a maniac all night, I have a flushing toilet and shower, my stomach is better ……… well, better than it was, and my flu is gone.  ALL the crap that was horrible for the first few weeks is all good now and Addis has definitely grown on me.  There are SO many new buildings going up, it’s uncomprehendable.  I would love to come back in 10 years or so and see the difference, it will be huge.  There are also new volunteers and they are all great.  We all get along so well which makes the whole experience a lot better.

The kids are wonderful, some of them are SO smart.  Some are naughty too but they are still cute.  We love them and they love us.  When they see us it’s all big smiles and big hugs and kisses and they are all willing to learn.  We have done the ABC’s, 1-20, my body (head shoulders etc), shapes, days of the week, and now they are learning addition and how to say “hello my name is …. and my favourite colour is ….    The head, shoulders things is so funny.  They have mastered the stomach, but they say, really loudly, STO MUCK!  And so we point to things (which aren’t the stomach) and they say ” Eyes, Ears, STO MUCK.  I say “no, that’s not your stomach, that’s your mouth, and they say “Mouth, STO MUCK!”  SO cute and funny.  They like that word a lot.

We have a lot of fun with them but it can also be very tiring.  We have to keep remembering that they are only children and this is their first time in a classroom away from their families for a whole year, so patience with them is a must.  They are learning English 3 times a week and Amharic 2 times so their wee brains get a load of learning in a week.  They pick it up SO fast though, it’s great.

On the weekends we have been heading away sometimes to see some lakes and things.  The countryside is beautiful and I do enjoy getting out of Addis for a couple of days.  I have got into some sticky situations though, it’s hard not to here.  Like on one trip by stomach was ………….. well …………. “not rosey” in the morning.  We had a 5 hour bus trip to the lake and I was REALLY hesitant about going because the achy tummy comes on REAL quick. Anyway, I was fine on that trip but on the way back we stopped and needed to go.  SO …………….. there was only one toilet to choose from and, well, here I was, back pack pushed up against the door that wouldn’t shut with bugs and filth all over the place, trying to squat on those “shit on seat” toilets, while trying to hold my jeans as high as poss so they wouldn’t touch any surface, while my tummy was, well, doing it’s own thing.  Plus it was hot as hell and I was sweating like a pig and I had a load of Ethiopians waiting a metre away to use the filth pit loo after me.  OH!  AND!  There was no toilet paper.  I had some in my BAG of course but that was being pushed against the door to keep it off the floor and keep the door shut.  Hmmmmmmmmmmm, I was thinking …………… “You really came up trumps here Kate!  Nice one idiot!!”  It reminded me of a bad (but funny now) experience I had in India.  It was horrible at the time but a funny memory now.  Actually most times, when things have gone wrong for us, they are the best stories and best memories so I’ve learnt to just take it in my stride.

Things tend to go wrong here quite a bit.  Like the pub last night ran out of beer!  Yes the pub ran out of beer ……….. so ……….. we went to the other pub and the POWER WENT OUT, and didn’t come back on.  So ……….. we got a mini van home ………. and the van RAN OUT OF PETROL.  HA!  HA HA!   TOOOO FUNNY.

Ummmmm, well I think that’s it from me.  OH, my red cross parcel arrived, much thanks to mama and Nije and the rest of my beautiful family for sorting that for me.  It was VERY MUCH NEEDED!  And the clothes!  Well ………. they went down a treat, and were desperately needed also.  The kids look great as the clothes aren’t old at all and are in great condition.

OK, I hope you are all well and healthy and happy.  Until next time, much love from me xoxoxoxo

The little buttons are here ………….

 Posted by Kate Montgomery at 11:39 pm  Ethiopia  Comments Off on The little buttons are here ………….
Sep 212010

Hello again!  Well after my last entry, we got home to 15 little kiddies running up to us with big hugs and kisses.  They are all so cute and just today 3 more arrived.  So that will be it now for the year, 18.  I know the names already which I surprised myself with as some of them are quite different.

We started off with the ABC’s and to our surprise some knew it already, which was great.  We coloured in the ABC and hung it on the wall.  It gave the room a bit more colour which it desperately needed.  Most days now we read books (which gets translated for the kids) colour in pictures, d0 some 1-10 math’s games, play more games, revise everything again and again.  We have done greetings which is fun.  They call me Teacher, and it’s always Teacher Teacher Teacher to try and get your attention.  We also taught things like Come, Sit Down, Go, Stand up etc and a gorgeous wee girl called Mahalet said to me “Teacher, sit down!”  And pointed to a chair.  I cracked up.  I said “No Mahalet, for Teacher to Mahalet is OK, is no OK for Mahalet to Teacher”.  She just repeated what I said and was giggling away.   So cute.

I gave them the beanies that were so kindly knitted me to bring by a bunch of ladies from a church in the North Island, NZ.  They went down a treat, they wear them every day.  Especially cute as two of the boys have pink ones (they don’t care AT ALL of course).

Ummm, what else, I just did my own washing!  It sucked ……….. and my back hurts.  I don’t know how these woman do all this physical labour every day!  They carry the most heaviest things on their back for such a long way and they are huddled over the whole time.  Then no doubt they go home and do washing which they do on the ground so your back gets a caning.  Anyway!  That’s the second time I did it, and it’s gonna be the last.  Paying someone to do it is giving money to the needy anyway so that’s the way I gonna look at it from now on 😉

So I aren’t getting bitten as much although I have a few new bites this morning :-(  I have sprayed my bed about forty times so the spray here obviously isn’t that effective.  It’s funny how my nightly prep has changed.  Now I cover myself up with clothes so no skin is showing, spray my mattress, spray my sleeping bag, and hop into bed.  At home it’s all about me, you know, brush my teeth, wash my face etc etc.  Here it’s about my bed and saving my legs, arms and stomach from getting eaten.

The other day we went to the Sheraton to see if I could change my money there (which I can’t) and it was GORGEOUS!  It’s HUGE!!  But at a hefty $400+ US a night I won’t be gracing them with my presence again.  I DID however, visit their dunnies. Would have been crazy not to.   I didn’t even have to go but I sat there for 10 minutes anyway, rolling the soft white toilet paper around my finger then putting it in my bag.  (Toilet paper is a rarity anywhere so these are the extremes we have to take).  The toilets were HEATED too, with all black marble and a nice pyramid of folded hand towels to use at my leisure.  It was heaven.  BUT!  It did seem very strange watching all the rich buggers going about their day like they were in a normal rich country.  To know that the slums surround the Sheraton and knowing that a weeks wages for most people here would be the same amount as one of their BREAKFASTS was kinda rude to me.  Anyway, each to their own.

So I haven’t been to the feeding centre as much as I would have liked but when I do go it’s quite funny.  Well NOW it’s funny.  At first it can be quite intimidating.  There are about 600 hungry buggers so you can only start to imagine.  I folded the bread first then they get it through the pass out area.  Then they sit and we walk around with a big bucket of soup (I think).  SO anyway, they get one ladel each but when they see you’re new they try and take the piss and say “Two two”.  At first I was being nice and quiet and friendly but that didn’t last long.  They take the piss even more if you act like that.  So, the secret is to get a little antsy and tell them straight up, with a little bit of an angry tone as well (and a few swear words will make you feel better).  They start smiling saying “Oh solly sister solly sister”.  I was like “Yeah you will be  sorry!”  HA HA!  I think they love me now.  Well!  Maybe not love, but they sure know not to mess with me. 😉    One of the most HILARIOUS things I saw there was a group of men who bought some peppers and onions and herbs and put them in the plate to mix with their soup and bread!!  NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL LEGENDARY!  Street folk who pay around 4c for a meal and bring some herbs and shit to the feeding centre to make their meal nicer.  Full credit, I think I shook his hand, I thought he was great.

So not too much has been going on lately, am stoked the kids have arrived, they are all adoreable and some are SO smart.  They make the bad days fun again as they are always so happy and willing to learn.

We will make a trip this weekend to another lake as it was really nice getting out of Addis.  OH!  Funny thing happened the other day, we were on a minibus and it was full and the guy in front of me said “That girl beside you is scared of you”  I was like “What!  I’m nice though tell her I’m nice!  I might be white but I’m still nice”.  He said she had never seen a white person before and was afraid.  She was about 20, I had to laugh as I don’t think I look scary.

Anyway!  That’s it from me for the moment.  I am almost late back for class, whoops.  Lotsa love xoxoxoxo


 Posted by Kate Montgomery at 11:01 pm  Ethiopia  Comments Off on Finally!
Sep 132010

Well I have tried to get to this page to update this about TEN times but with no luck so YAY!  I’m back!  I have a lot to update on, unfortunately though, none of it is to do with kids or teaching (or the whole reason I came in the first place) as it is the holiday season here.  It kind of feels like a wasted couple of weeks as I only saw the last kids for a few days before they left and the new ones are apparently going to filter into the house over the week.  I’m looking forward to meeting them.  The last kids were soooooooo cute.  I only really coloured in with them and sang songs and stuff but they were all so awesome.  Funny thing though ………. I was getting some coloured pencils for one of them to colour in a person and I said “what colours do you want”, and she said “black and brown” and pointed to the face and hair.  I was like “OH yeah, funny.   I was thinking at home they colour the people in like a beige and blonde hair, blue eyes.  Classic.  Anyway the classroom has been scrubbed and painted and looks great.  New year was on September 11th so New Years Eve we went out and saw in the 2003 new year at 6pm.  Yes that’s right, September 11, 2003, 6pm.  It was a good night as everyone celebrates throughout the city just as we do at home.   Woke up the next day feeling a little precious and was having a coffee and looked at a stamp I had on my hand from a bar we went to.  It said ………… are you ready for this ……………. URGENT.  HA!  😀  I totally cracked up.  Next club will be a FAXED stamp and one after that STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL or some shit.  Too funny.   A few days before that we were bored so we caught the bus to a place about 6 hours away called Awassa.  Heading out of the city and seeing the beautiful landscape that surrounds the city was FAB!  It felt like I was seeing the REAL beautiful Africa.  The bus was packed but the people were so nice.  The African music was blaring and the scenery was amazing.  It totally made me realise that I will DEFINITELY come back to Africa at some stage throughout my life and see as many countries here as possible.  Awassa was brilliant.  Not much there but a big beautiful lake, it was so peaceful.  And the people there were great too, instead of verbally hassling us, they just stared, which was a nice change.  I can handle that!  Stare as much as you want just don’t hassle us or ask for anything.  It’s funny here everyone sees a white person and yells “forenje forenje” which means “foreigner”.  Kinda rude and annoying but that’s just how they roll I guess.   So there hasn’t been much to do really apart from eat.  And eat we do.  I don’t have to cook as at the house we get 3 meals a day so I am feeling very fat and unhealthy.  It is also not very warm and rains a bit so I am also very WHITE!  It’s funny cause I was thinking was would come back tanned and skinny.  NOT TO BE!  😀  We also went to a few restaurants then one night when we got back home I read the Ethiopia Lonely Planet Guide and was like ……… oooohh shit, I completely ate my whole meal as rudely as possible at the restaurant.  I am left handed so that’s a fail in itself as I think they use their left hand in the loo and their right hand to eat.  That was fail number one.  Fail number two ……… don’t spill your food down the front ………. fail number three, don’t put your fingers in your mouth ………….. fail number four, don’t put your head back to get the food in there.  Well I am sure you have a pretty good picture as to how I was eating.  Anyway!  I know for next time.  :-)  We have been coming into the city about every 2nd or 3rd day as the bed bugs really go to town on any part of your body they can get their little mitts on.  And after getting eaten alive for a couple of nights, and getting woken up every hour by about 100 dogs seeing who’s got the loudest bark out your window, you kinda feel the need to get a hotel.  They also have showers in the hotels too so it’s ALL GOOD.  I emailed Mum and Nige the other day with a RED CROSS PARCEL list, but it’s all for me.  It had so many things on it, so funny.  Like bed bug spray, being one of the main things, and itchy bite relief, and disinfectant wipes etc etc.  So thanks heaps to all my family for organising that.  Fingers crossed it makes it here.   Well that’s it from me!  Next time I will have met all the new kids and hopefully they will be all settled into their new home for the next year.  Much love to you all!  xoxoxoxo

One week down …….

 Posted by Kate Montgomery at 9:10 pm  Ethiopia  Comments Off on One week down …….
Sep 062010

Hi al! Well all is going dandy here. Am slowly getting into the swing of things. Addis is a HUGE city with HEAPS of people. It’s a very hectic place and being a white chicky you kinda stand out like a sore thumb. That’s probably the most annoying thing but I have no choice but to get use to it. You also have no choice but to ignore the poverty and avoid giving money as there are just so many! And I would be broke within the hour so I won’t go there too often. So the kids left on Friday to go back to their homes. It was a sad goodbye for all even though I only knew them for 3 days. It didn’t take long to get to know each one and they all had such different personalities. We have been in the city all weekend which was nice as there are some nice relaxing places to go and cruise and get out of the rat race. The food here is really good, a lot of Italian influence so heaps of pizza and pasta which are two of my fave’s! Happy dayz!! The local beer (St George) is also good. The power has cut off a few times and when it does it affects the whole city! That would mean carnage in most cities with millions of people but they are so use to it that it’s no big deal at all. Getting ready for bed last night with no power was such a mission though, fingers crossed it doesn’t happen too often. I also caught a cold last night, which sucks, cause I even got through another Queenstown winter without getting sick so hopefully I get better soon because there is so much dust and pollution from the cars that being sick is not really fun. So we are about to go back to the home and clean, paint and organise the classroom for the next lot of cuties. New year is on the 11th September and because Ethiopia have what they call “13 months on sunshine” means that they are rolling into 2003! Trippy! Their hours are all different too. Like when it’s 12 o’clock our time, it’s 6 o’clock their time. All just takes a bit of getting use to. You have to be really patient here to get by, I THINK I’m a patient person but this place will test me for sure. Ummmmmm, that’s about it from me. No doubt I’ll leave here and remember heaps more things I could update you on but at the mo I’m blank. Hope this finds you all well! Lotsa love xoxoxoxo

I made it!

 Posted by Kate Montgomery at 1:17 am  Ethiopia  Comments Off on I made it!
Sep 022010

OK!  Firstly my posts are gonna as often as I hoped as the internet is SHOCKING.  Once you use to broadband you can get very frustrated very quickly at slow computers.  Anyway!  Onto the more important stories ……………… On my last weekend in Queenstown I got the BEST SURPRISE PARTY EVER (all thanks to my lovely husband).  It was a great (messy) night had by all and thanks so much to all you awesome units in Queenstown for a Harrys Close house party to remember.  After a hungover Sunday we got me packed and headed out Monday morning.  It was a very teary goodbye to say the least.  Hate goodbyes.  BUT I had no choice but to chugg on and get excited about my hours and hours of crappy travel ahead of me.  To start it all off I had too much luggage and didn’t want to pay extra so I sneaked the rest of the books I had onto my hand luggage, then in Sydney and Dubai had to pretend I was asleep when they brought round the portable weigher, too funny.  SUCKERS!  It worked!  Saved myself about $500 bucks!  Arrived in Ethiopia and thank god my ride was there.  I was stoked.  I think I even hugged him!  All I wanted to see was “Kate Montgomery” on a sign somewhere so all went according to plan there.  I was sooooooooooo shattered from my flight so I got to the house and had a wee nap, then one of the volunteers was leaving for Canada so we went into the city and had a meal and got a hotel (with a hot shower as the plumbing at the childrens home is a little broken at present).  Had a few beers and had a pretty good sleep.  Went back to the home the next day and met the kids.  They are so CUTE!  And funny, so funny.  Unfortunately these 17 little buttons have finished their year and are leaving this weekend.  We get 20 new kids in 2 weeks that will be there for the next year.  So we will get the classroom and lessons all organised then it will be the ABC’s and the 123’s for the next 3 months.  I’m looking forward to meeting the new kids and getting into the classroom.  The kids that are leaving had a test yesterday and it was all going so well until some got scared after seeing some of the questions then the tears were rolling.  Too cute.  Anyway, that’s it from me for the mo.  There is a lot more to tell but I’m scared this will cut out on me and I’ll have to start all over!  Not keen ……………. so I hope this finds you all well and happy and healthy and all that.  Much love from Ethiopia!  xoxoxo

Last day at work …………

 Posted by Kate Montgomery at 3:04 pm  Ethiopia  Comments Off on Last day at work …………
Aug 262010

Hi all!  SO this is the link you need to take to get my updates whilst away.  I will hopefully get to a computer a couple of times a week but apparently it’s on dial up and isn’t very reliable but I’ll do my very best to keep you all in the loop.  Last day at work today!  I must admit, it doesn’t feel likt it.  Have just been out for lunch though which was great, and am out for dinner as well.  Looks like there’s gonna be a few more as well before my departure on Monday.  Oh the joys of going away for 3 months!  Everyone wants to take me wining and dining!  No arguements there :-)  Anyway ………. my next update will be when I am in the thick of it in Ehtiopia.  Wish me luck!!  Much love xoxoxoxo

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