Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ethiopia - Day 3 - The Oromo Countryside, Adaddi Mariam and the Alert Hospital Gift Shop

One of the fabulous things about this blogging community is having the benefit of reading what other adoptive families chose to do and see while they were in Ethiopia. We are so grateful to Heidi and Mark for their suggestion to visit the Oromo countryside. We decided to do the same trip, which is a drive from the city of Addis Ababa out to a church called Adaddi Mariam. It is about an hour and a half drive. Not too long at all, and we got to see the most beautiful countryside. I would highly recommend this trip as an opportunity to see something outside of the city.

Farming still done with yoked oxen.

At one point on our trip, we shared the road with these donkeys!

And hello! Horse taxi!

About two thirds of the way out to Adaddi Mariam, we came to the Awash River, where we got out...

...and encountered these beautiful faces!

And soon, we arrived at this sign, where we turned off on a dirt road that we stayed on for seven more miles to the church.

Along the way, the sites were amazing...

Farming communities living in these grass roof houses. We also saw dung ovens used for cooking that I had only ever read about in social studies class growing up!

We arrived at Adaddi Mariam, which is the last of the rock hewn churches built by Saint Lalibela. It is an unfinished church. We were told that God told Lalibela that his work on the church was done and that he needed to go home because a visitor was awaiting him there. So he made the long trek home, and upon his arrival at home, he died.

The church is carved out of a rock and is underground. Here is our driver Solomon at the top, looking down on the church.

We walked down some stairs to enter the church.

Here we are inside of the outermost portion of the church. Most Orthodox churches are built on the model of the Old Testament tabernacle, in three concentric circles--the innermost part reserved for (a replica of) the arc of the covenant. The Ethiopian Orthodox people believe that the original arc of the covenant exists in a church in Axum in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. I confess that I tend to believe it is true.

The outside walking area around the church.

After our day in the countryside, we stopped at the Alert Hospital, which is a leprosy hospital. There is a whole community of men and women (some who are patients and some who are not) who make the most beautiful hand embroidered cloths. This woman was actually spinning yarn from cotton. It was amazing, and something I'd never seen before in my life! There was a man who wove the yarn into fabric on a loom and then lots of women were doing the hand embroidery.

All of the goods they make are sold in a gift shop right there on the hospital grounds and all of the funds go back to the people who make them. The things they make are just beautiful, and I would highly recommend stopping by the Alert Hospital if you are a traveling family!

1 comment:

Mark and Heidi said...

I am so glad you took the trip out ot he countryside! And I see you remembered to wear socks. I did that church tour barefoot and I must admit, it was a bit distracting!

Let me also say a belated congratulations on your referral and on passing court! I am so very happy for you and your boys are beautiful! Sleep now while you still can!!!