(Note: Bear with me while I give some background and catch up. I’m about a month behind.)

On January 23, I landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and began a new chapter in my life. I will be spending the next year or two making my way down eastern Africa by land, stopping in most countries for 2 months each to volunteer with organizations that focus on appropriate technologies. The journey is part of a post-graduate traveling fellowship, and Ethiopia is the first leg.

While most of my friends just joined the workforce, I feel incredibly fortunate to be exempt from that obligation. Not only is it a terrible time to find a job, but I did not feel prepared to pick a career after graduation. I knew I wanted to work on technology-related projects that help the poor in rural areas in Africa, but that’s quite a broad field. What technology do I want to work on? In what country? With what type of organization? How can I best affect change? I am grateful to have the next couple years to figure these things out.

In Ethiopia, I am working with IDE (www.ideorg.org), an organization that focuses on generating income for poor farmers. In my first week here, I attended IDE’s technology meeting and met heaps of incredibly interesting people who have dedicated their lives to development work. They really got me thinking critically about development and my future career. I learned so much in that first week, and the learning hasn’t stopped since I’ve been here. I now know more about water pumps than I ever expected. I can say a few key phrases in Amharic. And I successfully drove a motorcycle. Guess which one gets my blood rushing the most?

Me and Daniel, my motorcycle instructor

Me and Daniel, my motorcycle instructor