It’s Sunday morning around 6:30 am. Morning prayers are being chanting beyond my window. It is really a peaceful sound rising from this city that seems so restless. Of course the tortured dog next door at times drowns out the prayer but sadly I have become accustom to its periodic pain as well. I’ve learned to ignore it because I have no other choice. I can’t fix the problem and I can’t run from the problem so I must ignore the problem.
Yesterday we had a wonderful day. Mr. Teklu met us @ 9:00. We drove through the city to meet up with Jessica and her little daughter Melat. Teklu’s plan for us today was to drive south of the city to lakes created by volcanos. We had a wonderful lunch overlooking a large lake south of the city. A huge variety of African birds flew around our overlook. Parrots, ravens, storks. Every meal is followed by an offer for coffee. Today we said yes and incense, popcorn, and coffee were served. Musse has love his poloroid camera….it’s been a hit! He knows he is only allowed 10 pictures a day and he is very conscience of his choices of what to take for the day. Yesterday he took a picture of our beautiful waitress at Dreamland Family Resort. Although she was dressed in her waitress outfit and looked very put together I am guessing when she left the gates of the building her life was not as put together. She was SO thrilled when Musse gave her a copy of the picture (much to my selfish sadness because the pic Musse took was beautiful and I would have loved to have kept it) She immediately bent down and kissed Musse on the forehead and tucked her picture in her pocket. It was a prize for her…and she wasn’t going to let it go.
The drive to and from was beautiful if you could cast your eyes to the horizon and ignore the suffering and poverty along the roadsides. You truly never get a break from the despair when making your way around Addis. You turn a corner only to encounter worse suffering then what you were just witness to a minute sooner. I have seen a dead horse carcass rotting at an intersection, I’ve had a man with no legs come to my taxi window begging for a birr (= 10 cents), we’ve had a mother and her 4 children follow us back to the guest house so crazy with hunger and despair that they had a mad laughter rising from their tired souls.
Last night we topped off our day with dinner at Fastika…a restaurant that serves traditional Ethiopian cuisine. The building itself is this beautiful simulation of a grass hut. Inside the ceilings are painting with murals of Ethiopian life. Dinner is served on a giant silver pan resting inside a basket that is similar to the shape of a drum. After dinner we were entertained by tradition music and dance from Ethiopia. It was one of the best evenings I have ever had. Musse stayed back at the guest house with the other children so it was just the parents out on the town. It was a nice break for all of us and really and enjoyable evening all around.
I find it so ironic that through out all of this I sit here this morning on my bed and hear prayers being chanting across the rooftops…the people on the streets do not have anything material to hold onto but they have their God and that is enough to pick themselves up off the side of the road every morning and start their day of despair all over again. Are they happy? I can’t imagine. Are they at peace with their existence? I don’t know. Do the have faith? They must because they are still on our earth. I have come to witness that this situation…this situation of poverty is so big I cannot even begin to imagine how it can be fixed. This is one city in Africa…a city by some standards is said to be progressive. I cannot fix this on a grand scale but I can focus on Musse. I can fix Musse. The rest…I can just pray for them because that is the one thing both they and I share… we both share faith.