2 April 2013

Work in ... Ethiopia

Five top tips for living (well, working) the high life

Sophie, who works for an international development consultancy, provides her insight on working in the country best known for eccentric emperors and ancient Christian history

1. Stay hydrated and take it slow at the gym!  Many travellers take Ethiopia's impressive altitude for granted: Addis Ababa is the second highest capital in the world at 2,300 metres above sea level. It's harder to get to sleep, even climbing the stairs can take it out of you and a vigorous gym session will be more challenging than usual - take it easy! Drinks lots of water and don't overdo the workouts. 

2. Be on time and don't interrupt  Ethiopians are punctual in business matters and very polite in initial meetings. There is a protocol for who should speak when - people take turns and the person you're speaking to may pause before answering your question. Don't be alarmed or tempted to jump in - speak clearly and carefully wait for your colleague to respond. 

3. Drink coffee, but not too much...  Coffee is a staple of Ethiopian culture and in most meetings you will likely be offered one. Machiatto is often the most popular; it's delicious but beware - it's strong enough to make your heart race! Try alternating coffees with milky tea - shai ba wotet - to keep your heart steady. 

Getting around can be fun, but expensive
4.  Check taxi rates with local hotel staff  The little blue and white ladas, the typical Ethiopian taxis, are cute and fun but beware: as in many countries you can be charged extortionate rates as a foreigner. Hotel staff are usually happy to advise how much you should pay for a given journey. Check in advance to get the best out of your negotiations!

5. Plan internal travel ahead of time and get security advice  Addis has a good airport and road system and is safe for a capital city. But other parts of Ethiopia can be more unpredictable and internal flights often get booked up a week in advance. Plan your itinerary well ahead of time and get up to date advice from your embassy on modes of transport and where it's safe to stay in more remote locations. 

No comments:

Post a Comment