SUNDAY, JULY 24th
5:15pm in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia / 9:15am Bozeman, Montana
As we, a group of 9, follow God’s plan and head to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, we can’t help but to take in all of the diversities that surround us throughout our travels. What an opportunity this going to be! With God’s hands at work in all that we do, I can’t do much but anticipate what it is exactly that he has in store for each and every one of us, including the new friends we’re about to make! As for now, we have yet to arrive in Addis Ababa.
Currently we are all sitting in a very HOT and HUMID airplane in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia waiting to fuel up and let some passengers off. We’re on the last stretch of our travels… Finally!
Whoop, whoop! We’re moving again. Hello air flow. Let me tell you, stagnant, hot and humid air in a large aircraft is so not ideal.
While we all sit in this crowded aircraft annoyed by someone down the isle, unsatisfied by the food that is served and uncomfortable with the hot, humid stagnant air, I can’t help but to think where my priorities lay and what exactly my priorities are in general. Knowing the little I know about the Ethiopian culture (from our previous group meetings) their lifestyle is completely driven by valued relationships. Even when they have nothing, they give…TO GIVE. They are looking for nothing in return but connection and building relationships. To them that IS everything. So as I sit here in need of fresh air, a good meal and a comfortable bed I can’t help but to feel humbled just by the idea of getting to know these people and their culture. I hope that, like them, I am able to bring just as much of an impact to their lives as they already have to mine.
11:45pm Addis Ababa, Ethiopia / 2:45pm Bozeman, Montana
WE MADE IT! It’s about midnight here in Addis Ababa. The three girls (Jourdan, Rachel, and Josie) and I just got unpacked, organized and all settled into bed. The guys are in a room next to us. Our living arrangement is nothing that any of us had anticipated. It’s all very nice and we are being well taken care of. Two wonderful locals, Ishy and Ephrim, met us at the airport and helped transport our luggage and all of Journey Church’s gracious donations to the guest house where we are staying. Tomorrow, Monday the 25th we’ll be able to recover from our trip, settle in, meet our host family and prepare for the two weeks to come.
MONDAY, JULY 25TH
8:00am Addis Ababa / 11:00pm Bozeman, Montana
Good Morning! Today when I woke up the house was overwhelmed with the smell of something similar to a sweet bakery with a hint of pizza. Weird I know but I swear that’s what I smelt! Once we all headed downstairs we were welcomed by many friendly faces. Young children were running freely throughout the living room while Yashi, Ephrim’s wife, prepared breakfast. Coffee was available right away. Yum! There’s nothing like Ethiopian coffee! So far my favorite beverage… Of course! Once breakfast was ready we all lined up in somewhat of a buffet style and began to dish out our own plates. Our options consisted of scrambled eggs, a creamy oatmeal, homemade fried donuts, banana pancakes and a mango juice.
10:00am Addis Ababa / 1:00pm Bozeman, Montana
We’re headed out on the town today! It’s tourist-y day! Currently we’re at a bank exchanging some money for local purchasing and bartering.
Good thing we have Ishy here to help guide us. I already don’t know what we would do without him! He is truly a blessing. Everyone we’ve met so far has been. We just went to a local store called “Safeway Market” to stock up on some snacks for part of the trip. No it’s not anything like the “Safeway” back home.
All ten of us (our group of 9 and Ishy) are piled into a van-like vehicle headed to the Lucy Museum. The traffic here is intense! There are street lines, but it seems that they’re more of a suggestion than an actual way of driving. The bigger the vehicle the higher the right of way. I just saw my first stoplight since we got here! Still have yet to see a police officer. All around us there are standing federal police officers, both men and women. Some of them carry AK47s and some kind of baton with them.
Between driving around from destination to destination I’m consumed by the wide range of smells that continue to fill the air. Car exhaust fills our van, meat butchers line the streets, debris covers parts of the roads and every local walks with ease and a sense of confidence that I can’t seem to find at the moment. Instantly I’m taken back to our time where I felt trapped on the airplane in Saudi Arabia during the refueling. The humidity was overwhelming. Situations that seem to be the easiest to handle can surprise you by being the most difficult.
5:00pm Addis Ababa, Ethiopia / 8:00am Bozeman, Montana
It’s about 5pm here and we’re just getting back to the guest house. It’s been a very adventurous and somewhat overwhelming day. There is still just so much that continues to shock me. After we explored the Lucy Museum we ate at the Lucy Restaurant right next door. It was one of the pre approved places for us to eat by Ishy! The food was amazing! Some of us even tried the traditional Ethiopian dish Ingera, which is a flat bread that could be described as a sourdough like pancake. The dish is served with a choice of meat, lentils (beans) and some kinds of vegetables. On our way back we also stopped by a local coffee shop, which we all desperately needed. Now that we’re all back at the guest house were kind of doing our own things and getting settled back in. Dinner is at 6:30 and then we’ll review what is to come tomorrow. What an opportunity that lies ahead of us. I can’t even express the amount of emotions going on throughout me right now. And we’re off to dinner!! Talk to you all soon!