Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Zebra Grill for dinner

Today we hired a driver named Samuel who was recommended to us and went outside Addis to the gorge. It’s about a 2 hour drive, and I don’t know an official name for it – we all just all called it “the gorge”. It was great to see the countryside. You really don’t have to go very far outside Addis to see a completely different way of life. The drive was absolutely beautiful.

Today was an Ethiopian Orthodox religious holiday.  That is the reason for the white clothing and head coverings.
This is a small church in the countryside.


Family working

Another homestead

Even the horses get dressed up for the religious celebration

A larger church (in the background).
There were people walking for miles from both directions toward this church.

A carved rock wall just outside the city of Addis.
The Lion of Judah is a national symbol for Ethiopia.

We parked at a restaurant situated on the edge of the gorge. We walked to the back where we could see. It was SO beautiful! We walked down some steep and rocky trails to a bridge where there were some local boys who offered to escort us across the bridge for 30 birr each. We agreed that that would be a good price, so we said okay. We walked across a bridge called the “Portuguese Bridge” that was built about 400 years ago. Except for TJ who decided he didn’t want to go and stayed with our driver to wait for us at a little hut before the bridge. The boys were great at showing us some very cool viewing areas and being patient with all of us who weren’t used to climbing all over rocks up and down the side of a mountain. There aren’t any tourist trails, of course.

The Portuguese Bridge

View from the bridge

Samuel and TJ

The waterfalls are smaller this time of year because the rainy season is over.

We had heard that there were baboons in the area that you could see and sometimes get close to, but they were not in their usual area so one of the boys ran to find them while we waited. After a while he came back and said he found some. Mattea, Brielle and I stayed and waited while Michael, Deke, Eli and Wyatt went to see them and took a couple of photos for us. There were only a couple of them out because it was an overcast and kind of rainy day so they were hiding out from the rain. TJ was very happy to see us when we got back because we had been gone for nearly an hour.

On the bridge - TJ came running across the bridge when he saw us coming.

After the tour was done, the boys told us we needed to pay a few hundred birr extra because they went to find the baboons for us. (Oh, well… we should have expected it.) We walked (I should say climbed) back to the restaurant where the van was parked. We were told we could either go into the restaurant and purchase drinks or food or we could pay for our parking. We decided to go in and only get some drinks. (We had brought some food with us because we had heard from some other families that the food was not good and that all they had was some odd spaghetti sauce with cold noodles or traditional Ethiopian food.)

Next, we decided to go to the restrooms before we left for the two hour trip back into the city. We had to walk up a hill to a little building where the restrooms were located. There was no electricity, and the stalls were completely enclosed so if you closed the door it was pitch black. There was no toilet paper (thankfully I had brought some!), and no running water. After we were “done” a lady came in with a bucket of water to pour into the toilet to flush it and then dipped water out of the bucket with a tin can so we could rinse our hands.

We drove back and stayed around the Guest House until dinner time. We walked down to eat at Zebra Grill one last time. (We should have had photos made with the waitresses there since we came to know them so well during our stay in Addis!) On the way back to the Guest House, we stopped in one of the shops and bought Deke an “Adidas Colors” jacket that he wanted  - only about $20. We also bought Mattea a shirt that she liked.

We’ve all been together a couple of weeks now. Here are some of my thoughts and observations at the two-week mark: TJ and Brielle have some really great habits. They are very diligent about brushing their teeth, putting their dirty clothes away, lining their shoes up beside their beds at night, washing their faces, bathing themselves and putting on lotions. They also are really good at sitting still and waiting – they’ve been really great at restaurants and in church. Some of the things we still need to work on are: racing while eating, grabbing things from others, and trying to be FIRST to everything.

Facebook post from today:

Can't believe we'll be heading to the airport in about 24 hours. We have had a great trip, and the kids are already saying, "Next time we come to Ethiopia..." Not looking forward to the long flights, but ready to be HOME. Please pray for easy, uneventful, sleep-filled flights for all. THANKS!

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