And there was no way to miss it… The whole city was going crazy about his visit already one week before he even set a foot on the African continent. People on the street would randomly approach you, a happy smile on their face, asking “Do you know Obama is coming?! To Ethiopia! First time!”, the news channels would report daily and everybody was puzzled about when he will be where.
Sunday, the day before he actually arrived in Ethiopia, the city dressed up: “Welcome Barack” posters besides the street, LED screens with Obama pictures and the American flag omni-present. Last minute street cleaning activities, fence painting in green & yellow and increased military presence completed the preparation.
Surprisingly, we didn’t really feel something special was happening on Monday. Tuesday, however, the iDE team felt Obamas presence to a greater extend. Apparently Obama was giving a speech at the African Union – a building right at the end of our street. The result: the whole street was blocked for cars, all shops on the way have been closed and there was heavy military every 5 meters (!) along the road.
Going to the office was a real challenge – but we made it. Without stopping on the way to the office, no way back until he finished his speech, DEFINITELY no pictures taken and the soldiers unfortunately were not amused by the question “Can we take a picture with you?!” (Sorry, Weiwei!).