This is a sequence of letters I wrote between the beginning of 1974 and the end of 1975. I think that they might be of interest to others than my family and friends, because I was writing about events occurring at that time in places that were making the world news. For example, the revolution in Ethiopia in 1974, the famines in that country, the intermittent skirmishes (not really all-out wars) between Ethiopia and Somalia and with Eritrea. It's interesting (to me anyway) to compare my first-hand accounts of events at that time with some other accounts.
See for example, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/ethiopia.htm.
Some personal notes: the letters are obviously first-person, but they do consider events of interest in the countries I visited, so there's little about me. So, very brief background: I was 26, working for an American oil exploration company called Geosource. I began as a geophysical engineer, and left as Technical Supervisor for East Africa, the Middle East and Pakistan. This job required almost constant travelling, as I think will be clear from the letters, to quite a large number of countries and places.
I think the letters are interesting, and, sometimes amusing. I hope you do too.
One last point: when I began my job I had no money, really; I wound up with quite a lot. Money is mentioned off and on throughout the letters, so for reference: £100 in 1974 is worth approx £1,250 in terms of average earnings in 2009. This was further inflated in practice in terms of day-to-day expenses, because the cost of living in the countries I was in was so low. For example, the average daily wage in Ethiopia in 1974 was 50 cents a day - about 5p, equivalent to about 62p a day today. Even though the cost of living was so low, this was not enough to live on (for those who did have work), and of course hundreds of thousands starved to death. This was largely unreported at the time (Bob Geldof came along much later) and was an important factor in the revolution. As Dylan said, "When you got nothin', you got nothin' to lose."
Start with 'The Past is Another Country' above.
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