There was no question in my mind or Musse’s mind that he would be going back to the New Flower guest house with me today. When we pulled up to the WACAP house Cindy tapped my shoulder and said, “Isn’t that him?” I looked out the front window of the van and peering through the window of one of the rooms of the house was a very wide eyed handsome young face. Before we had a chance to unload ourselves from the van Musse was out the door. I had hardly stepped foot on the ground when he ran to me and wrapped his arms around my neck and hugged me…a very tight hug that no one was going to deny him. We hugged and talked for a few minutes and then went into the reception/play room of the WACAP house. Inside the cook was preparing a formal coffee ceremony for us. On the ground were long blades of cut grass. A small stove about the size of a lunch box heated wood to be used to warm the fire. Several small coffee cups, a little larger than a jigger, were set out on a tray. Coffee beans were roasted over the fire while we visited. There are not many children at the house right now…in fact there are only 5 infants. That is changing however as Mr. Teklu has said he is bringing 6 more 4- 8 year olds in to the house this week. We shared our donations with the staff. They were very grateful…they truly were. Cindy brought some donations as well. She brought a hat that had been her mom’s (who passed away a little over a year ago) The hat was kind of like a Gilligan hat with flowers on one side and if you reverse it a solid blue hat would appear. Well, Mr. Musse loved the flower side of the hat and wore it the rest of the day. It was pretty sweet…kind of like the spirit of Cindy’s mom was with her in Africa. The hat certainly made Musse happy.
We are learning, because of the language barrier, that we really don’t know what Mr. Teklu has in store for us from one day to the next. We may think we are doing one thing and then are in a totally different place then what we imagined. The second half of our day was like this. After our morning at the WACAP house he treated us to lunch at a very very nice Italian restaurant. We met up with Jessica, who is another new WACAP mom with a 3 year old daughter. Mr. Teklu said we would be driving to the mountain to see a view of Addis Ababa. The drive up was beautiful…winding our way to the elevation of 10,000 feet through Eucalyptus forests. It was also numbing as this is where I have never in my life seen such poverty and desparation to just live to see another day. What struck me the most was the wood carriers…women with bundles of sticks on their backs that must have weighed in the hundreds of pounds.. Most were barefoot. We must have passed 50-75 of these women on the way up and even more on the way down. The wood is used for fuel…I can’t imagine how much longer the forests surrounding Addis can survive. From what I could see though they were not cutting the trees from the trunks but rather cutting the branches. All the branches were sheared from about 7 feet down to their base. There were times where children were hanging in the trees…and if we as much as gave them a glance and a smile they would jump from the trees and follow our van as far as they could muster the energy to run.
When we reached the top of Mt. Entoto a very soft spoken man met our van. He had very good English and was to be our guide to the viewing point. A worn thatched roof hut and an orange cargo container rested at the peak. We walked through a small meadow where a couple of female goats rested with their kids. It soon became apparent that on this little trek to the top of Ethiopia Cindy would have her own guide and the rest of us would follow picking up the rear. : >) She learned about a cement mixing building that could be seen through binoculars through the trees…she learned about the official indigenous flower of Ethiopia…she learned about the wild animals that roamed the mountainside. We learned how to say, “what was that he said to you?” as most information went straight to her. So we walk back toward the van and were invited into the cargo container which actually turns out to be an art studio of our soft spoken guide. Inside were amazing oil on canvas of Ethiopia through his hands and eyes. There was no way I was leaving without purchasing one…they were too beautiful. So once again he is keeping his eyes on what Cindy is looking at when she stands before a spectacular colored depiction of a lady performing a coffee ceremony but is longingly glancing over her shoulder at something besides her coffee cups. He says to Cindy…the lady in the picture is in love. He’s smooth…really smooth. So then Mr. Teklu tells us that last week when Beyonce was in town for the Millenium celebration she came to the top of Mt. Entoto to view the art of Mr. Wassi Hu. She has asked him to paint a mural for him. It is apparent this is no bohemian artist trying to make a living off of tourist suckers….he’s the real deal who has found his inner soul to create masterpieces on the top of a mountain. So…back to the cargo container…I decide on a painting and Mr. Wassi Hu says he must have one last picture of his painting and motions me into the picture. I joking say, “Well…I’m no Beyonce but I guess I can.” He just says…”no no no…Beyonce beautiful.” Ok…got to agree with him and just shrugged of the possible diss. Next Cindy finally decides on her painting…and it is the woman in love yet trying to perform a coffee ceremony. Once again Mr. Wassi Hu says he must have a picture. Once again I make a Beyonce comment thinking he would repeat how beautiful Beyonce was…but instead he smiles at Cindy and comments on her beauty in comparison to Beyonce. Of course I would not let her live that down…nor the fact that he not only gave her a discount on her painting but also gave her his telephone number AND an offer to show her the town. Ok ok…in all fairness I got a discount too…but to get a phone number not but 24 hours into being in Addis…you go girl.