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Sunday in Ethiopia

Chad Dykstra - 2010-10-24
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Once again, this is going to be more of a brief update than I would like, which is a shame!  If I had more time, this very well may be a novel.  We were able to experience so much today that there's no way we can even take it all in, much less relay it.  There's so much that is different to what we are used to.  Different isn't always bad - it's just different!  The traffic and the roads are a crazy place to be.  Ethiopians are very skilled drivers!  Some of the moves they are able to pull off without wrecking are just incredible!  In general they also maintain a positive attitude towards other drivers trying to pull of the exact same move.  I love every minute in the vehicles because you just never know what's coming next.  I'm sure that I would not be able to drive even a few miles here.  I'd rather sit and enjoy the view.

There is such a wide spectrum of people, and nearly all of them are outside!  Where we pull in the garage and close the door, their culture is a complete 180 degree shift of that perspective.  It's remarkable just how many people are out...everywhere!  There are people whose clothes are tattered and their shoes are all but fallen off.  There are also people in suits.  There are people in traditional dresses.  There are teenagers in jeans and t-shirts...and there is everything in between.  They have one thing in common...each one of them is beautiful.

We had the priviledge today of touring Addis and riding to the top of the mountain that overlooks it.  I must say I have a new appreciation for the training of Ethiopia's elite runners.  We had a little "fun race" up a hill to a power pole and back this afternoon at 10,000 foot elevation.  For someone who is 2 weeks off a marathon and in the best shape of my life, it really took it out of me.  Recovery takes forever because you're getting so much less oxygen with every breath.  We heard today from Abel (a Bethany employee - more on him later) that the elite athletes train on that very road almost every day at 5am.  I'm sure they're running more than 100 yards though!

We have been so blessed by the Bethany staff that has been here to help us.  Abel is just one example.  He is an Ethiopian history expert and is so knowledgeable of all things Ethiopia.  We were able to learn so much in such a short period of time.  He actually is writing a book on Ethiopian history, which as I understand will likely be published by the time we return for our second trip.  I look forward to getting my hands on it!

Our guest house has also been amazing.  Berkutan is an amazing hostess and has taken great care of us throughout our stay.  We even got to experience a traditional coffee ceremony today where the coffee beans were roasted, ground, and brewed.  Even the non coffee drinkers loved the experience.  There has been a great mix of traditional and american food and nobody really has been having any major problems with the food.

There's so much more I'd like to share but for tonight, I'll have to stop right there.  We look forward to 8:45 tomorrow morning, when Abel will come to pick up all the families staying here at the guest house.  We will get to go to the orphanage and meet our children.  Oh blessed day!


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