Sunday, January 15, 2017

Ethiopia Day 1 and 2

We woke up early, got ready and grabbed a muffin and fruit and we drove the few minutes it takes to get to the Entebbe Branch.  Entebbe is very clean and beautiful place, unlike Kampala and other places in Uganda.  It is near the airport and is more affluent than other places as well.  Right near the church building there is a huge new mall being built.  It will have Uganda’s first McDonalds in it.  It actually looks like a fun place to shop even though I’m sure I will never shop there.

We enjoyed greeting people at church and stayed just to partake of the Sacrament and then parked our car back at Protea and took the shuttle to the airport.  Our flight thankfully was uneventful.  (It’s nice when flights are uneventful and everything goes as planned!)   Even though it was just a two hour flight to Addis Ababa we were served a small meal (ravioli and a roll).  That was nice!   They say that Ethiopian airlines is the safest airline in Africa.  They have pretty good service as well.
We arrived in Addis and it took a while to get through immigration.  We had to purchase our Visa there and so we were the last ones to get our luggage.  The luggage area was cleared and our bags just kept going around and around until we picked them up.  Habtu (the manager over temporal affairs for the Church in Ethiopia) picked us up and drove us to our hotel (Capitol Hotel)  which was very nice.  We had a small balcony out to the main street in front of our hotel and it was fun to see large electric signs lighting up the night.  We don’t see too many of those in Mbale.  After we got settled we enjoyed a nice dinner with Elder and Sister Ford.  They are a wonderfully fun couple serving over Public Affairs in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Rwanda.  They travel a lot and get to meet a lot dignitaries; teaching about the church and what we do as missionaries.  They are involved with Mormon Helping Hands,  and Mormon Newsroom and radio stations etc…..  The Fords are finishing their 18 month mission next month and are excited to get home.  Elder Ford was a dentist for many years in the Orem area.  He and his wife have been to many different countries providing dental service for free.  We had fun listening to their adventures.

 Rick tried Njera (Ethiopian staple…a bread made from tev flour) for the first time.  He liked it.  Ethiopian food is spicy!  (Of course, Rick liked his meal!)

Some interesting facts about the Ethiopian people:
They speak Amharic, and very little English.
Their money is called Birr ($1 = about 23 Birr)
Their calendar is totally different from ours...currently they are in the year 2009.
Sept. 11th is their 'New Year's Day'.
They celebrate Christmas on 'our' January 7th.
Their clock is different...Their day goes from our 6:00 am to our 6:00 pm...
Their night goes from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am.
They tend to have lighter skin...somewhat like those from the Middle East.
They do not like to be called "Africans" (They consider themselves separate from the rest).
Their hair tends to be able to grow longer than that of Ugandans.
Their food is very different from Ugandan food.
The majority of the landscape that we saw is quite dry and desert-like.


The next morning I had THE BEST MASSAGE EVER!  Loved every minute of it.  We had a good breakfast (except the hot chocolate ) and then headed over to the airport.  The Collingses had arrived later the night before, and we all just met up in the morning.

We had a short flight to Arba Minch (yup, they fed us again on the plane…a small corn cake and water) and and then got checked into our hotel for the evening.  We stayed at The Paradise Lodge in a cute little hut that was decorated very rustic and fun!  Our back patio overlooked the two lakes in the valley (The Chamo and Abaya) with the Rift Valley sandwiched in between.
Just amazingly beautiful!

After getting settled into our rooms we all met in the lobby.  I should mention all who were on this adventure…..The Fords, The Collingses, The Harlines (the senior couple in Ethiopia) The Phelpses (us ) and Habtu.  So there was a total of nine.  We had two Land Rovers for the week to get us the 750 miles that we would eventually travel!!  About 50% of the roads were unpaved and full of potholes/washboard.  A LOT of bumps (and headaches because of it)!

                                         This is a common sight in Ethiopia.  
                  Lots of donkey carts carrying just about anything you can think of!

We had a flat tire just before leaving Arba Minch to go see the Dorze Tribe.  It got fixed in no time and we were on our way!  These vehicles sure do take a beating on these rough roads!

We met in the lobby and drove up the mountain (unpaved) to visit the Dorze Tribe.  This tribe was very interesting!  Their huts are made of weaved banana leaves with beehive shaped tops.  When looking straight onto the roof it looked like an elephant head!  The elephant head design is intentional.  They make the roofs so tall because with the humidity and termites, the sides of the home get eaten.  With time their homes get shorter and shorter because of termites and erosion.  Every eighteen years the roof is redone.  Their homes last for about 120 years!  Pretty interesting!  We were invited into one, and they keep their animals inside with the members of the family to keep them warm.  Remember they are in the mountains.  

They grow their own cotton and I got the chance to watch and then TRY to spin cotton.  I wasn’t very good at it but it was fun to try!

 The Dorze Tribe cultivates false banana trees.  The trees don’t produce fruit but the people use the trunk for different things.  Besides their huts they shave the softer meat inside the trunk of the tree and get a spongy substance that they then bury for three months.  After the three months it turns into a substance that resembles (and smells) like cheese.  They then take a handful at a time and cut through the fibrous material to soften it.  Lastly they add some water, flatten it out and cook it in a flat pan on top of fire and make it into a flat bread.  It was really fascinating how this process made a delicious flatbread!

                                            Getting the pulp from the trees....

Three months later a cheesy substance.......

                                         Rolling out to make a flat bread......

On the fire.....

                                                    Finished product

          We all were able to eat the bread dipped in honey and a spicy hot sauce.  Really yummy!

                            Elder Harline dressed as a Dorze Warrior

                                                 Elder Phelps...the leopard man!

After the bread we got to see some men of the village weaving fabric.  They were using very primitive looms made of wood.  It takes them ten hours a day for a week to produce a full size shawl.

 After the weaving we were bombarded by people wanting to sell us their wares.  Literally bombarded!  They were selling wooden teapots, wooden plates, jewelry, shawls.  It was crazy because they would not take no for an answer.  They were all in very close proximity to us….I don’t think they understand the meaning of personal space!  Little did we know that this would begin a pattern for the rest of the week!  Have you ever been to Tijuana??  Well, TEN times worse!!  

All in all it was a good experience and very fun to learn how this tribe lives.  I will mention that this tribe did wear Western clothing.  That was nice for the modesty because in the days to come we would experience much different clothing….. and the lack thereof!!

1 comment:

  1. Janell, your mind's ability to remember details never ceases to amaze me!! You must have so much fun traveling because you get so much out of it!