Once we arrived in Ethiopia the first two days were spent getting to know what the organizations are doing in the nation. This was interesting but a lot of us were eager to get out to the countryside to start landscaping at a retreat center SIM owns where their workers can go to recoup from months of hard work. While we were there I was able to get lots of awesome photos of the team cutting bamboo, ripping out roots, and burning all the dead brush. If you want to see photos of the team in action you will need to head to prairie.edu or their Facebook page to see them once they are published.
During our last night in Addis Ababa we were having our evening devotion time but were constantly hearing chanting from outside. Earlier that day we asked about these yellow flowers that were being sold on the side of the road and were told that an annual Orthodox holiday was occurring that night. The flowers being sold only grow one week out of the year and are a big part of the festival. I wont go into all the detail about what the festival is but here is a link to read more. After the team finished devotions the adventurous ones in the group left the compound and began wondering down the streets to find the source of the loud singing and chanting. To our fortune it turned out that on almost ever block there was a celebration occurring! We went to the one with the largest stack of wood and leaves with the expectation that they would be burning it eventually. Upon arriving, we stood out seeds in watermelon but were welcomed warmly and even got some camera time, offered candles to have lit, and given communion. To say the least the event was somehow uniting and just simply marvelous! The few photos I have posted were taken with my Canon M on manual focus and a pretty slow shutter speed so excuse it if they aren’t tack sharp but for me it was the emotion and atmosphere I wanted to capture. I even submitted them the Your Shot at National Geographic where they seemed to be received very well by the community!
I will be releasing more posts this week so come back soon to see what we did in Rwanda! Hopefully by the time I am in my six-month nation I will be up to date on posting. Thanks again for reading!