Aside from settling into our apartments and daily routines of shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc., we have also been organising various aspects of paperwork. Wednesday saw me and the other new Australian couple head to the Australian Embassy, currently located in the Hilton hotel (apparently they won’t move into their own building until they can get one built to Australian standards). Our task was to have our Australian drivers licences authenticated. This involved them writing a letter that explained the main information and conditions of our licences. We managed this task in about half an hour. We then needed to visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to have the letter authenticated and stamped. This can take several hours of waiting in line in a courtyard, but again, I think we only needed to wait about half an hour, maybe a little longer. To have both of these steps accomplished in a single morning is apparently quite an achievement. The next task is to visit the licence bureau to actually apply for the licence!
The next day our drivers took most of the new staff to the Licence Bureau to help us get our licences. Their job was not just to get us there, but also to help us to complete all the paperwork, including a form that must be filled out in Amharic script… We would never have managed it ourselves, so these men were such a blessing to us! I now have a beautifully laminated piece of paper that states that I may drive a car in Ethiopia. Of course, SIM will not actually let me drive a car until I have had a driving test to ensure that not only can I manage Ethiopian road rules, traffic and pedestrians, but in my case, also that I can handle driving on the wrong… er… right side of the road. Time for me to retrain my brain and hands; I think my feet will be able to largely do the same that they usually do in terms of clutches, brakes and accelerators! I intend to practise in the safety of the compound before I actually take my test some time later this week!