The Missionary Woman’s Guide to Survival in Ethiopia (12 tips to thrive)

  • When walking past a group of men alone pull out your cell phone and pretend you are having an animated conversation; they hardly say a word.
  • When you’ve just illegally pulled into a roundabout or illegally exited one, make NO eye contact with the officer and look very confused/terrified.
  • Having an infant with you at any government office, airport, or line-oriented situation gives you hours of your life back. If you don’t have your own, seriously consider borrowing a friends’ (yes I mean borrow an infant).
  • If you want to avoid all security checking and just get on your way, tell them you’re pregnant.
  • In order to avoid pesky mosquito bites on your face or neck make sure you leave an arm out of the blankets as a peace offering.
  • During rainy season, avoid any clothing that is white, tan, beige, off-white, cream, light yellow, pink, and you get the point.
  • If you come across a disrespectful male (or several as they prefer to comment most often in the safety of their packs) learn the phrase “my husband is a soldier; would you like to meet him?
  • Never plan a certain recipe, for a special dinner, on THAT day and then set out to get the ingredients. It won’t happen
  • Make friends with an embassy workers wife; apparently they have access to imported cheeses, nuts, salami, and all things that originated in heaven
  • Always pick out 3 things on the menu before the waiter comes so at least one will be available and you don’t force that poor waiter to endure your face of disappointment multiple times
  • Accept that a hand out the window to signal is far more accepted and acknowledged than your actual turn signal. Seriously our left signal hasn’t worked in months.
  • Above all take breaks/vacations often as possible. Give yourself grace as this country, city or rural is extremely different from where you come. I don’t know where that is but I know it is vastly different. To thrive you must rest and rejuvenate. I sometimes wonder if Jesus ever zipped back up to heaven just get the heck outta dodge. I doubt it, but you aren’t God

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