Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ethiopia Day 3 & 4

We couldn't go and visit our boy over the weekend, so it allowed us some time to go and see the sights and dive into the culture of Ethiopia. We hired our driver, Alazar, for Saturday and Sunday and he was fantastic! We couldn't have asked for a better driver. He is the owner of Addis Flower Guest House in Ethiopia (which we got to tour, and I would definitely recommend.) We first, went up Mount Entoto where we were able to catch a glimpse of the rural area of Ethiopia. It was absolutely beautiful everywhere you turned. Looking from on top of the mountain you could look out and see the entire city of Addis. There was something so peaceful and safe about the lay of the land. That there was this city down below full of poverty and needy people completely surrounded by this beautiful landscape of trees and mountains. It was as if the mountains and trees were protecting the city and its people. Here are some pictures of the beautiful view!

Mt. Entoto overlooking the town of Addis Ababa.

Overlooking Addis Ababa.
With our new friends, Darik and Tracy. Love them!
One of my favorite parts was watching these women carrying down from the mountain massive tree branches bundled up on their backs. Alazar told us that the women get up early in the morning to go up the mountain. They gather as many branches they can and walk them back down the mountain to make a living. It takes them half the day to get down the mountain. Just watching the way of the people and realizing how different our lives were, I was taken aback. Seeing how hard they worked, and how much they did in one day with a smile and pride on their face, was such an humbling experience. The people were so peaceful and whether they were bringing their herd of donkeys down the mountain or playing soccer in a random field with their friends, you saw this inner joy radiating out of them, and it completely rocked my world!


These women are amazing! Every morning they walk
up the mountain and collect tree branches.
 It takes them half a day to walk back down the mountain
with the branches. All to earn a living.

More resilient Ethiopian women.

donkeys, donkeys everywhere!

The kids of Mt. Entoto playing soccer.

Fields on Mt. Entoto ready for the rainy season.

While on the mountain we were able to visit some Ethiopian churches and museums. Ethiopia is a part Christian part Muslim nation. All is at peace, and they are very religious. We enjoyed learning about their customs and seeing some of the oldest churches in the history of the world. It was beautiful seeing and learning how other people halfway across the world worshipped the same God as me. They weren't afraid to lift their hands and dance and sing really loud!

The monastery of the priests and deacons from the
octagonal church on Mt. Entoto

Limestone communion cave carved out by hand during the
days of King David.

100 year old paintings depicting Jesus' miracles
inside the octagonal church.

More paintings within the church of Jesus serving His people.

The first Christian church in Addis

Another church in Addis. They believe that the Arch of the
Covenant is inside.

St. George Cathedral
Beautiful stain glass window in the bell tower
outside the St. George Cathedral

We also got to do some shopping at the market places. This is where we got the most interaction with the people. Seeing all the street children running up to us and wanting us to buy what they had offer was the most humbling of all. You see images and even some documentaries about life in a third world country from afar and I think one, you don't believe it is as bad as they are depicting it, or two, maybe you see how bad it is, but it is easier to turn the channel or turn your head, than deal with the reality of how these kids live. Seeing it with my own two eyes, was absolutely sobering. These kids are real. Their situations are real. They work day to day to provide for themselves and/or their siblings and all of them exuded so much joy and happiness, as if they had everything they needed in the world. We have so much stuff, and yet, I find myself every day complaining about something. We get upset because we want better paychecks, a better government, better healthcare, or drama-free relationships, and these people don't have any of that. Most don't have parents to fight with, healthcare when they are sick, or a government system that cannot possibly help all of the 8 million orphaned children in need of food and shelter. Their needs are OVERWHELMING but they are completely satisfied with what they are given. They praise their God everyday no matter what, and they are completely satisfied with Him and what He has given them. I had such humbling interactions that I cannot get out of my head, and don't think I ever will.

More sweet children of Ethiopia getting ready to tour a museum.

Making scarves.
The food and the coffee was absolutely fabulous. I think my husband ate more in Ethiopia than he does in the States! There was coffee everywhere you turned and all of the food was delicious.
Delicious Caramel Macchiato at Kaldi's Coffee
(equivalent to Starbucks). YUM!

Jordan's favorite Ethiopian meal which he ate almost everyday.
Tibbs and injera bread all eaten with just your hands.

Tamaco Coffee Shop with Tracy and Darik.
Met some extremely nice Ethiopian men there who were great
company. The people are so warm.
While we were out one day we were invited inside of an Ethiopian traditional wedding. They only happen 3 or 4 times a year, so it was an honor to be a part of it. We walked up and the people inside said, "please come in," and escorted us in and sat us down in the middle of the ceremony. The people around us literally were hand feeding us and shoving meat filled injera into our mouths. They got us all up and the little kids around us were showing Jordan and I the dance and rhythm of the clapping. It was unbelievable watching these people celebrate. They were even friendly towards wedding crashers!

We were invited into a traditional Ethiopian wedding.
They only have 3 or 4 a year, so it was a special and
unforgettable experience.

Beautiful little girl at the wedding.

This little boy was a doll!
He was teaching Jordan and I the song and dance
that the people were doing.
We had an unbelievable weekend, but we were so ready to go see our boy again at the orphanage, and ready to go to court so we could hear the words HE IS OURS!

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