(Some of the excerpts and pictures below were taken from my friend's blog. Since we were together all day, and she's already written much of our day beautifully on her blog, I borrowed a few of her paragraphs. This was especially handy for some of the historical things....I'm terrible at retaining history! (Thank you Melissa!)
Day 4 in Ethiopia was actually New Years Eve back here in the States. Since it was Saturday, and we were unable to visit our children at Acacia Village, we planned a day full of activities. We also wanted to experience as much of Ethiopia as we could.
|Our friends Joseph & Melissa & Tom & Liz|
We joined two other couples for a day of sightseeing in Addis Ababa. We hired a driver and a translator to assist us for the day. Our translator, Abee, chose our first destination -- Kaldi's Coffee (Ethiopia's version of Starbucks, without the Starbucks price!) We had breakfast and some delicious coffee. Below is a picture of my caramel macchiato.
|caramel macchiato - yummy!|
After our stop at Kaldi’s, we began making our ascent up Mount Entoto, the highest peak in Addis Ababa. The road was very curvy and there is no such thing as guardrails! There were also people (at some points) running along side of the van trying to see if we were giving things away. I also later read that Olympic runners train on this road!Along the way, we noticed several women weighted down with enormous loads of eucalyptus branches which they had gathered high up on the mountain. We found out later that these women are known as fuel wood carriers. They strip the branches off trees, carry loads which are heavier than their own body weight down the mountain, and sell the branches for firewood to make a living. What they do is actually illegal and it contributes to the degradation of the forests, but they have no other way of earning an income. I later read that they make $3.00 a week! The photo below shows one of the ladies carrying her load of branches. This picture was taken by our friends Joseph & Melissa. (Thanks guys!). Can you even consider complaining about your job??
At the top of Mount Entoto, we toured a museum and took a moment to enjoy the incredible view of Addis Ababa from where we stood at over 10,000 feet above sea level. I'm not sure about everyone else, but I was sure feeling the elevation while we were there. I felt very out of shape!
We also had a chance to see an early palace built by Menelik II who ruled Ethiopia at the end of the 19th century. Emperor Menelik and his wife founded Addis Ababa, which means “new flower”, in 1886.
Entoto Maryam Church, the site of Emperor Menelik’s coronation in 1889, is located next to the former palace, but we were not allowed to tour the inside.
|One of the first eucalyptus trees planted by|
On our way back down the mountain, Abee chose another interesting stop, a weaving shop which benefits the women fuel wood carriers. Inside, the workers weave beautiful scarves on old-fashioned looms. They told us it takes one day for a weaver to complete one scarf.
The scarves are then sold at this room next door, and the profits are used to raise awareness of the working conditions of the wood carriers and to provide alternative sources of income for the women. The scarves were lovely, and we were thrilled to have the chance to purchase them knowing that our money was going to a valuable cause.
We made one more stop at a rather run-down little zoo that had some lions, monkeys, and different types of birds. The conditions the animals lived in was definitely low compared to most American zoos, but I couldn’t help thinking that the animals were far better off than millions of Ethiopians. The animals had adequate food and shelter, which sadly is more than can be said for many people in the country.
There wasn’t much to see at the zoo, but apparently some of the local Ethiopians thought the Americans appeared to be rather exotic creatures. We noticed some people snapping pictures of us instead of the animals!
After a full afternoon and a quick stop back at the guest house to relax for a bit, we hopped back in the van to head out to Yod Abysinnia, which is well-known for its traditional food and dance. I believe there were 24 of us, in total. It was quite an experience. It was loud, crowded, and a total blast! We personally loved the food, but we have eaten Ethiopian food before.
|Popcorn & coffee -- an Ethiopian staple|
|Hand washing -- since you eat with your hands (no utensils), |
hand washing is a MUST.
|Our meal for five people. It was very good.|
We were so blessed that 7 out of the 8 CWA couples were able to attend dinner that evening. We also had a few others join us, as well. Here are some pictures of our new friends!
|Mike and Richelle, WA|
|Joseph & Melissa, NC|
|Dawson & Alicia, MT|
|Joe & Sarah, IL|
|Greg & Amy, GA|
|Tom & Liz, NC|
|Brian, Jeanne & daughter Selah, SC|
We were missing C.O & Ann Marie from Alaska at dinner. Their blog can be found here. They definitely won the award for farthest travel!!! All of these couples have amazing God-stories, amazing hearts and are just all around wonderful people! It was such a blessing to connect with each and every one of them and I look forward to keeping in contact with them! They are all in my prayers daily!
That pretty much wraps us our Day 4 in Ethiopia. After dinner, we went home, took some pepto, and headed to bed!
Day 5, Sunday (New Years Day) was a day of rest for us! We needed a day of rest to process everything that was in our hearts and mind.