At Baby Ventures, we believe adventure is the cornerstone of a thriving childhood. Our good friends, the Kaisers, are on the ultimate family adventure in Ethiopia! Andrew was offered a job in the capital, Addis Ababa, and he and his wife, Emily, decided to move there with their two young children, Ando and Sefi. They have already been there for a year and a half, and we have relished in hearing their stories.
What are some of the best experiences you have had as a family living in Ethiopia?
We’ve loved seeing animals of all sorts in their natural habitats. These include huge (20+ foot) crocodiles, zebras, warthogs, ostriches, gazelles, foxes, camels, and baboons (which are seemingly everywhere). Watching the indigenous and endangered Abysinnian Wolf hunt mole rats on the plateau of the Bale mountains was a rare treat. We’ve also greatly enjoyed the natural beauty, particularly in the months directly following rainy season where everything is super green and full of life.
What is life like on a daily basis? What challenges have you had?
I wake up early to go to work and our son Ando goes to school. My wife Emily works remotely part-time, so she either works from home or goes to the Sheraton nearby to work from there, taking advantage of their reliable internet (and swimming pool!). Our wonderful nanny arrives at 7:30 am to help take care of our daughter Sefi. After a typical workday, I’m home at 6:00 pm for dinner, books, and bedtime for the kids. As I’m sure many parents can relate, early evening can be ‘witching hour’ with the kids tired from their day’s activities and hungry for their dinner. Sometimes the power goes out when we’re about to cook dinner, so we bought an at-home generator, which helps keep both power and internet running.
What are some of the most memorable excursions you’ve had with the kids?
We’ve taken trips to some unforgettable places such as Lake Langano, Awash, Arba Minch, Bale mountains, and the crater lakes of Bishoftu. Probably our favorite getaway is Bishangari resort on the back side of Lake Langano, which is surrounded by forest and small villages, and has excellent hikes and birding. The kids love swimming in the lake, and the natural habitat is stunning. You have to be a bit careful though as the baboons will often stare at you right through the glass door of your cottage window, looking for food to swipe. They’ll also swing from the trees and jump on your roof, which can be a bit startling in the early morning hours.
What tips do you have for anyone thinking of moving overseas with young children?
Do it! There are pros and cons for sure, but it’s an experience of a lifetime! While we certainly miss some of the comforts from back home, the pros of living abroad, particularly the ability of having lots of close-knit care and support during the more difficult years of raising young kids (ours are 4 and 2) make it well worth it, especially when one considers all of the memories we’re creating. My wife Emily and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary by taking a hot air balloon ride floating over rustic villages in the Ethiopian countryside. Who could ever forget that?
Explore animals who live in East Africa! Check out the Baby Ventures Safari Party canvas art featuring elephants, lions, zebras and more!