Sunday, February 28, 2010

Guest house review: Yeka

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON OUR LIFE UPSTATE

From January 2010:

For awhile I have been meaning to write up my review of the absolutely lovely hotel we stayed at in Ethiopia. We stayed at The Yeka Guesthouse which is slightly off the beaten path in Addis Ababa and is beautiful and friendly and owned by the most wonderful woman. They have a cleaning staff - that actually cleans the place top to bottom every day. The rooms get cleaned. the floors get mopped, the sheets and towels get washed - daily! They have the most wonderful cook who works all the time. She only works half days on Sundays but otherwise she is always there and she is always happy to cook for you. And she is excellent!! I mean Big Brother ate better in Ethiopia than he does at home. We all loved her cooking.

We stayed in one of the smaller rooms at first. That cost $50 a night. It is a very large room with a queen size bed, table and two chairs as well as a desk. It also has a balcony and a small kitchen - no stove but it does have a range for boiling water and a tiny refrigerator which came in handy for storing bottles of breastmilk. And a big thing that it has (which does not seem like a big thing in America but is a big thing in Ethiopia) is a private bathroom. A full bath with a tub, sink, toilet - the whole deal. Like I said if you are traveling in America you would not even ask how many people share a bathroom - but in Ethiopia it is a good question to ask. So, to have your own bathroom is AWESOME!! And for us it was imperative. I simply cannot imagine having to walk my three kids up and down the hall every time someone needed to go to the bathroom or take a bath or anything.

After having been there for awhile and do to an odd turn of events we wound up moving into one of the larger rooms. Originally we were going to be in there for just one night but after that night we had no desire to move back. This room was $75 per night and honestly, if we had been in there from the start I think I would have been less stressed while I was alone. There was still the no going out rule that played a big part of why Hubby and I decided that he should come early (and of course the communication issue) but part of it was definitely being stuck in that one tiny room all the time. Point is it was WAY worth the extra $25 per night. This room was huge!!! It had a full bedroom - same size as before with a full bath. But this room also had a full living room and a full kitchen and a small dining area.

Once we were in there we could cook. The girls could take naps and Big Brother could play. School work started happening (albeit inconsistently). The kids could go to sleep and Hubby and I could sit up and talk - and NOT be sitting in the hallway. Life started to take on it's fairly regular pattern. Both rooms came equipped with tvs but we did not even turn on the one in the smaller room. Once in this larger room where the tv is in the living room we did watch some at night while the kids were sleeping. There were a handful of channels - we mostly watched the movie channel.

In addition the hotel has a small gift shop downstairs - there are some traditional Ethiopian things in there as well as some convenience items. baby wipes, disposable diapers, candy bars and cookies. We bought cookies from the little shop a few times. Big Sister got very frustrated about not having any cookies after about two weeks.

As I said before the owner is super duper nice. She drove us to the airport herself. We needed a car for our things and another one for us so she had her driver take our things (rides to and from the airport are included in the cost of your room by the way) and she drove us herself. One morning Sunday morning she went to church with us. That was an awesome experience. She was fantastic. She also does lots of convenience things for you. You can exchange money with her, she will arrange a driver for you whenever you want.

The one downside is that she does not take credit cards. She does take traveler's cheques. She also excepts either birr (Ethiopian money) or American money. Things like the laundry service and meals (breakfast comes with the room all other meals you pay for - although they are VERY cheap) are simply added to your room bill and you pay when you are leaving. Or you can pay more often if you want to try to keep up with your bill.

Ultimately we loved it there. We were very happy and we were sad to leave. Big Brother cried the entire drive to the airport (okay it only took ten minutes but still he was very upset) and while we were waiting to check in. The people were so incredibly nice and it was just such a nice place to be. I am so glad that we stayed there. I think that the people there and the accomidations made a trip that could have been very difficult into a memory that we will have for the rest of our lives. The Yeka does not have a working website at the moment but if you are planning on traveling to Ethiopia and staying in Addis you should email them at yekaguesthouse at yahoo dot com and consider staying there.

2 comments:

Lisa said...

What is the "no going out" rule?

IAN Families said...

Lisa,

There is a general "rule" among all agencies operating in Ethiopia that adoptive families should refrain from in-country travel with their
adopted Ethiopian child except for the visa appointment at the US Embassy, visits to the orphanage, other specific adoption events and, of course, emergency situations.

You can see more information from the JCICS here:
http://www.jcics.org/Policy%20Statement%20Cultural%20Sensitivities%20in%20Ethiopia%20(v3).pdf

Hope that helps clear up your question...