More random thoughts about our trip. The top picture is of some markets we passed. These were everywhere. Genet told us people come from the country to sell their produce and handmade items in the markets. Some have shops such as these and others lay their items on blankets on the ground. It was neat to walk around the markets our driver took us to. The workers were very kind and enjoyed showing us their things. We bought some traditional clothing for our children, a flag, and other small gift items. There were often beggers or children selling bubble gum at the markets. We learned that one Birr is enough for them to buy some bread so we started carrying around Birr. I believe one Birr is about 12.5 cents in American dollar. People were so appreciative of our gifts. We also brought friendship bracelets and small airplanes for the kids we saw. So fun to watch their faces with these new treasures. One boy we ran into had a homemade toy as seen in the picture above. He told us how he made it and demonstrated it. It seems that children don't really have store bought toys, they make things from the items around them. How crafty! The children loved having their photos taken and we did this often. I took a lot of photos at the Kolfe boys home, which I will talk more about later. If anyone is traveling to Ethiopia soon, I would like to send the photos of the boys with you. They really wanted me to send pictures back of themselves with their friends to hang by their beds. I have printed many and would love for someone to hand them out. I think they would be so excited to get them. Let me know if this is something you would like to do. Those young men were amazing and I'm not yet ready to talk about that experience. Very emotional for us.
I was shocked at the housing in Ethiopia. The tin wall in the second photo above is what we saw a lot of. There were miles of small houses with this tin for walls and dirt floors. We could look down streets and see people outside their houses washing dishes and doing laundry. Laundry was hanging everywhere! Genet told us that people rent these tin houses. On the opposite side of the street though there were often high rise apartments and beautiful government buildings. We weren't allowed to take photos of the government buildings, but the difference between them and many neighborhoods was astounding. Even in the living conditions, the people were truly content and enjoying life! I feel guilty when I think about the enormity of my house compared to what I saw in Ethiopia and I wish there was more I could do. Honestly though, I keep going back to my own obsession with a clean house and nice stuff and I compare this to the contented lifestyle the people of Ethiopia have. I realize they have it right. Their families are their blessings not their things. If only more Americans could regain this mindset!
Lastly for today: Entoto mountain. I was sick the day we took this trip so I don't remember very much of the museum and church tour. My husband loved seeing this church which was the first ever in Ethiopia. He also enjoyed the museum and all the history. I believe it was 30 Birr per person. Again, I was ill so it is foggy. Speaking of ill-if you go anywhere make sure you use the bathroom before you leave the guest house. It seems toilets are rare in Ethiopia. If you like camping in remote areas you will be fine with the bathroom situation. If you are not an avid outdoors person, this might be a little awkward for you. I'm not saying it is bad, just very different than what we are used to. Also, bring a travel pack of kleenex in case you really need to use the facility. I didn't see toilet paper very much. On the way down the mountain, we saw a lot of donkeys, goats and woman carrying firewood, as in the photo above, grain, or water. The woman and children we saw going up and down the mountain are tremendously strong and hardworking. As a side, it smelled very good up there. It was nice having a break from the diesel smell from all the blue vans in the city!
My children are needing to be redirected back to school. More later:)