April 29th 2009
As our trip draws to a close my aunt and I are finding it rather hard to say goodbye, it’s like we have been living in denial for the past week and now that we are on the eve of our last day the reality is hitting us that we are going to leave this life behind, we are going home in America.
There is a mixture of sadness but equal excitement to see our family and friends again and to be back in the city we love so much. We both wonder what it will feel like when we come back, if we will go through culture shock again because of way we have acclimated to this way of life, my aunt and I agree we both will probably feel like foreigners in our own country. However this is only phase two of our mission, we have plenty of work to do now in the states for what we have started here in Ethiopia from spreading awareness to setting up displays of my aunt’s work and the work of the natives for the American people to see for themselves.
When we first started out on this mission trip we had no idea what we were getting into we were subject to our own doubts, and perceptions of others about what it’s like in Ethiopia, a developing country with very limited luxury, disease and we had heard there were conflicts with Eritrea. I was excited to be leaving the country for the first time to Africa and terrified at the same time. When we arrived it was like something out of a story book, I had never seen life lived in such a way as the natives live, from the farmlands to the mud and clay homes with no plumbing I was in awe of everything I saw but thought I would be ready to go home after seven weeks of living in it all.
I never expected to fall so deeply in love with the people, the land, the sisters and the lifestyle. The relaxed pace that everything flows around here, the nights walking around Adigrat under a star riddled sky with close friends who have become like family to us. Eating organic food and laughing hysterically with the nuns. Traversing the landscape and exploring the magnificent mountains and valleys that stretched out as far as the eye could see with no signs of industry, just villages and farms. We have also become ritualized coffee drinkers taking part in the Ethiopian coffee ceremony almost everyday. We also have become quite fond of the Ethiopian cuisine, especially the injerra bread they eat with everything. When ever we go over to friends houses we were hand fed and were given the traditional Ethiopian drinks such as mez, also known as honey wine and Souwa which is like homemade Ethiopian beer. We have never received such warm hospitality from people who supposedly don’t have much to offer. Their first priority has been our comfort and happiness we often times feel like we are being treated like royalty here.
This experience has changed my life and opened my eyes for the better and I highly recommend anyone I know to have this kind of experience at least once in their life, get up and go live in a country that isn’t just a big, wealthy tourist resort. Go to a developing country and see for yourself how these people survive and live in such close, happy communities. Actively get involved in the community and learn a different way of life. Its one of the best things you can do for yourself. The richest person is the one who has happiness; you will find some of the richest people here. Words really can’t describe the change I have gone through and I am surprised at how much I can live without and yet I have not found myself wanting.
Ethiopia will always be in our hearts and on our mind; it will be the main subject of our discussion for the next several months. I look forward to showing everyone pictures I have taken on this journey and Celine and I have several stories to tell and have built up a multitude of inside jokes with each other. She will be going back to this wonderful place in October and I can only look forward to the day I know I will visit this wonderful place again. Until our next return we will miss Ethiopia dearly and will cherish the memories and the people in our hearts always. We will see all of YOU readers very soon!! We can’t thank you enough for your wonderful support and contributions that kept us going, we love you!
Celine and Safia