I’ve been home from Ethiopia for a week. I’ve been sick. I started feeling ‘worried’ about a persistent cough about 10 days into Ethiopia, while in Hosanna. I made a panicked call to my husband asking him to cancel Thanksgiving. An annoying but harmless cough was slowly hinting that there was more to come…and by re-entry in Dulles I was in full possession of a pretty nasty illness. I’ll spare you the details. I haven’t yet recovered, but I’m feeling a bit better every day.
It’s been hard to be home, holding all that I’m holding, not feeling well enough to tell a bazillion stories and share over 1000 pictures. And, Thanksgiving came and went – – the first holiday in 20 years in which I didn’t host/cook/set/direct/manage/order around/eat too much/do dishes/play games/throw a football/ and so on… It was hard. Very. I missed the fun. The biggies and Mr. SillyPants were awesome. I’m lucky.
But I have to start writing. And so I picked an easy beginning.
Monday morning: Arrive at Bole and meet dear Solomon. Solo days commence. Drive to Lake Awassa. Rest and relax at the Haile Resort. (Pay the weekday rate for 2 nights at Haile Resort – love!)
Tuesday: Visit the Fish Market in the morning with Tsegaye. Drive to Wondo Genet and trek the countryside with Dereje.
Wednesday: Move to Yirgalem – overnight at the Aregash Lodge. Walk the countryside with Addisu. Meet an amazing crew at dinner – the fabulous magician Lisa Menna, her film maker, and a really lovely Ethiopian family from Addis.
Thursday: Arrive in Addis and join the Mudula Mamas at the Addis Flower Guest House.
Friday: Mudula Mamas visit Entoto Mountain. Shop at Shiromadeh. I then visit my friends at Black Lion Hospital in the good company of Dr. Scott — including a surprise hometown meeting with Nurse K. Get super excited about the new Pedes ICU. Learn about ‘kangarooing’ and shed some tears for tiny babies. See my dear friends Dr. Mulu and Dr. Aklilu. Mudula Mamas gather again and share Shabbat Dinner with Dr. Rick Hodes in his home. Get totally blown away by Dr. Rick.
Saturday: Mudula Mamas and an AHOPE for Children art extravaganza – 100 kids, 100 art projects, 100 wrist watches. Love! Post Office Road shopping for the Mudula Mamas. Off to dinner with Dr. Mulu and her beautiful family in her home accompanied by Rogue Mama T.
Sunday: Mudula Mamas visit Selamta and meet some amazing young people. Have Kaldi’s coffee with Habtamu and congratulate him on his graduation from nursing school. Mudula Mamas meet up with Dana and TESFA and learn all about the TESFA mission in the comfort of the guest house.
Monday: Mudula Mamas see TESFA programs; The TESFA Teen House, The Merkato School, and then lunch with Dana and his staff. A few of us (me!) go to AHOPE for Children’s Community Development program while a few others meet with CHSFS about the water project. Ms. B and I have coffee with Sidesse, the director of AHOPE Ethiopia.
Tuesday: UP and out EARLY – – long awaited journey to Hosanna! GPS revved up! Check in at the Lemma International Hotel and then head to Mudula. See the Mudula Tree in the town center and then head by vehicle to Durgi (and plot on GPS!). Back to Mudula and an official meeting with Ato Abebe about Mudula Water. (First ever sight of Hadero, special town for my family. Also, passing through Doyogena, Tunto and other mapped towns along the way — GPS in full swing).
Wednesday: GPS working overtime. Visit Kololo and the Kololo School build. Move on to Mudula where the Mamas split up; some of us trek to the spring and some of us trek to Bohe. I take the Bohe route, walking a good part of it.
Thursday: Mudula Mamas continue on with some tours in Hosanna and then head back to Addis. Rogue Mama and I take our leave and head out to meet up with some local contacts to see some regional church development/family care programs. Most of the day spent in Hadero at the Hadero church – – meeting amazing women and their families. Seeing things I never thought I’d see. Holding the hands of those who changed my life.
Friday: More Hosanna area work. GPS’ing the routes. Waypoint by waypoint. At the end of the day, spaghetti with garlic overload and a St. George (or two) – – konjo.
Saturday: Morning drive to Hosanna. Quick relax and clear lungs of awful diesel poisoning/inhalation…and then dinner solo with dear Solomon and his family where I find his wife has procured 50 sefed for Clinic At A Time sales. Yeah!
IT IS AN ITINERARY THAT CHANGED A LIFE. Not just mine…