I returned to Addis Ababa from Harar to attend a farewell dinner hosted by the Foreign Ministry at the same place we started our visit.  The TV news was in full strength and did another 10 minute interview with me.  I said the trip had had a major impact on Ethiopia elevating the Peace Corps to a new level of public awareness.  I noted that we had been dubbed the “100″ by the media and all of us were recognized by that nickname. 

Our host for the dinner was the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Americas with his very able associate the Director of USA affairs.  Also in attendance were the American Ambassador to Ehtiopia and the current Peace Corps Director with several of his currently serving PCVs. 

Once again we were treated to a great Ethiopian dinner and marvelous dance show that electrified the room.  Following the dancing the Deputy Minister gave a very emotional speech focusing on the great contribution the Peace Corps has made to Ethiopia.  I congratulated him afterwards and asked who had written his speech, assuming it was the Director for USA Affairs.  He stopped me short by saying, “it was impromptu.”  A genuine statement from his heart about what the Peace Corps has meant to Ethiopia. 

Our Ambassador followed with a glowing statement about the important contribution our visit had made to elevating the image of the Peace Corps among the Ethiopian people.  He was very glad we made the visit and thanked us profusely for our effort. 

Not only did we have a real blast of a visit to rediscover our Ethiopian roots and renew our knowledge of the country, but we also made the Peace Corps once more the news of the day and strengthened its status in the country.  We even renamed our visit from “Return to Ethiopia” to “Still Here, Still Serving,” in recognition of the strong new bonds created between those who have served and those who are still serving. 

I just came back from another fancy dinner and dance show for the group departing tonight for Washington DC.  This one was hosted by the efficient tour agency that hauled many of us around the country to visit our communities of service and historic sights under the tireless direction of Darrel Hagberg.  After seeing them off I am waiting for my flight to Rome and then my home in Mallorca for a long rest.

What a trip!   We will hold it in our hearts and minds for years to come.