Postcard from Africa ... Dr Sanneta Myrie, Miss Jamaica World 2015 writes
Dr Sanneta Myrie, Miss Jamaica World 2015 and Miss World Caribbean 2015 and Miss World 3rd Runner-Up 2015, is currently in East Africa on a volunteer service tour organised by the Shashamane Sunrise, an international volunteer organisation that supports children's education in developing countries.
The tour will cover Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda.
Here Myrie chronicles her Ethiopian experience for the Outlook.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:
With a stopover from Kingston to New York for visas and vaccines, the 14-hour trip via Istanbul, landed me in Addis Ababa (New Flower) at 2 a.m.
Braving the Ethiopian chill of the early morning and the prospects of only three hours of sleep before our team of volunteers would hit the road, we left the airport with our luggage stacked on top of two cabs, filled with great anticipation of the long day ahead in the Ethiopian town of Shashamane.
Day one of our tour began at the crack of dawn as we made our way to Shashamane. Our party of four grew into a party of nine as we welcomed the volunteers of the Shashamane Sunrise Ethiopian chapter. I also seized the opportunity to invite my Miss World 2015 sister Miss Ethiopia World Kisenet Teklehaimanot to share in this experience of 'Beauty with a Purpose'.
For the five-hour ride to Shashamane, I filled my eyes with the beautiful sights of Ethiopia. I witnessed the simple life of some of the most beautiful people in the world. There was just something familiar about Shashamane, and as we pulled into a school called the Jamaican Rastafarian Development Community Kindergarten and Elementary School, we were greeted by the brothers and sisters of the Jamaican Rastafarian community of Shashamane who had settled in Ethiopia in the early 1970s.
Kisenet and I toured the classrooms and engaged the students in conversation with Kisenet as my able translator when needed.
At lunchtime, the Jamaican Rastafarian community shared with us their stories of settling in Shashamane and how they witnessed the change and growth of the community and school itself.
Reggae dance workshop
The following day, we made our way back to the school for a reggae dance workshop. With glee, I conducted a lively reggae dance workshop for the eighth-grade students and introduced them to the latest reggae moves and had a discussion about Jamaican culture.
In the afternoon, we were taken on a tour of Shashamane, walking the paths of the Rastafarian and Jamaican settlers and soaking in more stories of their journey to the motherland. It was amazing to see the impact they have made on native Ethiopians many of whom spoke the Jamaican patois with an almost perfect tone.
On my final day in Shashamane, we decided to do some sightseeing in the neighbouring towns. We saw the vast beauty of Lake Awasa in the middle of the Ethiopian Rift Valley, took a long detoxing steam bath at Wondo Genet, and also visited one of the palaces of His Imperial Majesty emperor, Haile Selassie.
One of the most memorable sights on this trip to Ethiopia was that of the amazing bronze statue of Bob Marley erected in Addis Ababa at a roundabout in the Gerji area, named after the Jamaican Reggae legend himself.
On day four, we got ready to depart for Kenya, but not before sharing a traditional meal of Injera and participating in an Ethiopian coffee ceremony with members of the Shashamane Sunrise Ethiopian chapter.