My beloved has been telling me about her journey to close down the work of the other Ethiopian team of her organisation.
"We were several days on that bus. S----- is not that far away, but this was the rainy season, and we were not travelling on asphalt roads. As the bus trudged through the mud, I thought about what we would find when we reached S-----. What could K----- have done that was so severe that it required the closing down of his project? And what kind of man could K----- be, that he would deviate from the organisation's guidelines? Some of my companions had met K----- previously, at events back in Ireland, and I tried to get them to tell me about him. But they remained uncommunicative, answering my queries with monosyllables.
"When the bus reached S-----, the other passengers disembarked and scurried away as quickly as they could. Now, when you arrive in an Ethiopian town, you are normally greeted by hordes of children demanding money, sweets or pens, or by plonkers intent on monopolising your attentions. In S-----, though, it was different. On seeing us, the bus station loafers beat a hasty retreat. As we moved on into the town, it seemed like everyone else was determined to avoid us, with people running away or indoors as soon as we came into view.
"It was not easy to find our way to the hotel where K----- and his team were conducting their project. We had no map, and the townspeople fled before we could ask for directions. Eventually, though, I was able to corner a small child, and after a few clips on the ear he pointed us in the direction of the Hotel P-----.
"The Hotel P----- was built in the 1930s, during the Italian occupation, and it is an attractive building, albeit one that has seen better days. As we approached it, however, it was not its Italianate design that drew our attention. Rather, we were struck and, I must say, horrified by some recent additions. Four wooden posts had been placed at the corners of the hotel's grounds. And on these posts had been mounted computer monitors, with their screens smashed.