I’m a secondary school teacher of Irish & Geography from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.

As of February 2013, I will be taking up a two year voluntary role as Higher Diploma Leader in Woldia University, Ethiopia.

I was recruited in Dublin by VSO Ireland. To find out more about the VSO visit www.vso.ie

If you would like to donate to the VSO you can do so on my fundraising page http://www.mycharity.ie/event/aisinethiopia/

***The views expressed in this blog however are my own personal views and do not reflect those of VSO Ireland***


13 responses »

  1. Hello Aisling,

    I am a biochemistry student from Germany and I stay for a practical attachment for 4 more weeks in Gondar at the moment. I am writing you because during my three weeks of voluntary work in Clonmel some friends showed me a newspaper article covering your plans for Ethiopia. I stayed in Clonmel for only a short period of time to help out for a kid’s program leading some German pupils for a community service. I find the obstacles to funny and the world too small to just let the opportunity pass by: it would be great fun to meet you and chat over an Ethiopian coffee at some point! If you are as amazed about the obstacles as well, feel free to text me 🙂

    Really hope you are doing well and enjoy every bit of Ethiopia.


    • Karolin!

      You are right- this is too much of a coincidence- the world is a very small place it seems 😉

      You weren’t working in camphill by any chance? A lot of German’s seem to do that as their community service.

      And in fact two of the teachers at the University here are going to Gondar this week for some training. Look out for Kibrom and Asrat from Woldi Uni!

      Would love to get in touch if it at all possible. Will send you a mail X

      • Ok that sounds great! Please send me an Email ASAP so we can make plans 🙂
        I see Lalibela is not too far from you is it? Definitely planning a trip there soon…

        xx Karolin

    • John!
      How the hell are ya?
      Are you still alive over there?
      Getting a lot of harassment on the street here but work and home are a dream so I can’t complain 🙂 X

  2. Hi Aisling,

    Great to read about your morning adventures! One of the latest methods we use in school to help children comprehend their reading involves teaching strategies such as predicting, visualising etc. Well, it is certainly easy to visualise your walk to the bus and your seemingly endless wait. You poor thing! I was reading along, amused, but I just burst out laughing at the line ‘surrounded by criminals’. It’s probably no laughing matter but what can you do! You probably make their day. (If ever you get really sick of it, ask some of those colleagues to protect you. Where are they anyway, the way they can time it so well..? If I thought they were nearby sitting at their window drinking coffee…)

    Great that work is going well and that post arrived. Work is busy here – hectic with 6th trying to fit everything in so it’s all go. Less than three weeks now so it will be full steam ahead for at least two. When I get to the last week I’ll probably have to accept that that’s it – I’ll have to leave their further education to others! One of the teachers asked me about the traditional basketball match today but I’ll be leaving that for the last week. I’m in denial about it right now as it requires lots of effort and enthusiasm. The teachers grow older (and less fit) and the pupils are always 12 or 13 and very fit!!

    Mind yourself, Aisling, and keep enjoying the experience. Let us know if there is any proposal. Personally, I’d say they see you as a princess from a far distant land so while they admire, they are not bold enough to ask for the hand of a princess in marriage!! If they do, tell them it’s traditional to meet the father in person in his native land… Keep smiling,

    Love Noelle

    • Hey Noelle!

      Thanks for the mail 🙂

      Don’t worry- I burst out laughing myself when I was told that I had been seen surrounded by criminals! To me the actual funniest part was that he said I seemed fine which presumably means I have a good “game face”. As for the other lecturers, I don’t know where they do be (if you’ll forgive the colloquialism). But it is becoming something of a routine and I think I am getting better at just zoning them all out.

      God, less than three weeks left- you must be up the walls. This time of year is always so stressful. The basketball match is always a great event. Such harmless fun but we were always wound up to the very last for it. We used to chant things hilarious things like, “Sixth class are gonna win, throw the teachers in the bin!” and think we were daring and bold! How innocent we were then. I hope they are not shouting anything more unsavoury at ye these days 😉

      Thanks so much for the mail and for keeping up to date with my adventures and for all your support and encouragement.

      Best of luck for the end of the school year and I hope you and the lads have a lovely relaxing Summer XXX

      Kind regards from Aisling in Africa X

  3. Hi Aisling,
    Love reading your blog. I was a VSO volunteer in Dessie from 2005 to 2007. I had an amazing time. Reading your blog brings back all the memories the good times and the incredibly frustrating times!! but if I could step into a time machine and relive any of the days I had there I would. Enjoy the rest of your placement and keep up the good work.

    • Hey Orla,

      Thanks so so much for the very timely message of support. Things are an absolute nightmare here at the moment workwise and sometimes it is really difficult to keep perspective and patience as you must know yourself. Maybe we can meet up when I get home? 🙂

      Glad you are enjoying the blog, I must get back to it as soon as I have a clear head 🙂

      Warm regards from Ethiopia 🙂

      -Aisling X

    • Thanks Kathryn, I was lead to your site by an article you put together about success women’s “likeability”. Really interesting stuff. I look forward to reading more 🙂 And yes Ethiopia is beautiful, I’m lucky to be here!

  4. I met your aunt John recently. We’re out the other end of a Teaching career and it’s only now that I’ve found the liberation of personal blogging.. Speaking for myself, in teaching permanency there is a strong element of being a third-party passer-by of allowed information!
    I’ve read a few of your posts and I am intrigued enough to return to read more…

    Beir Bua, Aisling!

    • Thanks Pat! Yes, sometimes I feel that when teaching, like I am just a conduit for information sanctioned by others. It’s good to be out here experiencing another sort of life and hopefully that will inform my teaching in the future. Looking forward to my homecoming now, two years almost down, thanks for reading! -Aisling

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