Two nights ago Sarah and I watched a movie called 'A Walk to Beautiful'. It was about Ethiopia and it was an amazing story of the Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa and the young women who travel from around the country to be treated there. It was a heartbreaking movie (in a good way) it reminded me of the last time I was in Ethiopia.
Last January I traveled with Sarah to Ethiopia as she began her time there. Since I wasn't really supposed to accompany her on this trip, I immediately tried to find a way to get out of town and leave her to get settled. My plan was to travel south through Kenya and spend some time in Tanzania before returning two weeks later for my return flight. Unfortunately, the week before I arrived in Ethiopia, Kenya broke out into riots and 'civil unrest' over an election or something (I don't even remember) so that ruled out travel through Kenya by bus. This left me with no plans at all and I ended up traveling to the northern part of Ethiopia with a guy I met through Sarah's group.
(This is a shot looking over the Rift Valley and the Blue Nile on my way to Bahir Dar...it's hazy)
It took about 12 hours of driving to get to Bahir Dar on Lake Tana - the source of the Blue Nile -
where he and his wife had lived for a few years. I was there for nearly a week but there were two specific events that stood out...one was the day we spent with a local family 'celebrating' one of their holidays. In this case, a celebration really just meant that they ate slightly more food than usual and lucky for me, I got to share in that meal (I say that sarcastically because Ethiopian food actually makes me cringe...I'm not exaggerating when I say that the meat was so tough I would occasionally have to chew for more than 10 minutes before swallowing).
The most fascinating part of the day was sitting in a thatch hut for hours and hours. The interesting thing about spending your day in a little hut with people who think you're an alien is that it forces you to come to grips with the vast differences in our lives. They all lived in one-room mud huts with dirt floors. They wore the same clothes every single day. They ate the same food every single day. Their daily routine was the same every single day. And yet here I was showing up in their hut because I had just flown from America to Ethiopia just to try and impress a girl. It really was a powerful reminder of how big our world is and how blessed I have been with so many opportunities and physical blessings I always seem to forget about. That was a very grounding day for me.
(These next three are pictures of the kids that hung out with me in the hut all day)
The next day I accompanied the couple I was staying with to a woman's hospital in Bahir Dar. I have an aversion to all things medical (unlike the rest of my family) so when I didn't understand what was going on at this hospital initially, I pretended to know for fear that someone might actually try to explain it to me. It turns out that hospital where I spent the afternoon was an extension of the Fistula Hospital in Addis that Sarah and I watched the movie about this week. It was amazing how a few hours I spent over a year ago suddenly had far more meaning.
I guess the point of this story (without going on forever) is mainly that you should watch the movie 'A Walk to Beautiful' and be reminded about how easy our lives are, and also, that life is so crazy in the way random experiences often come full circle long after you have started to forget them. It really gives me hope that the Lord does have a purpose for all the odds and ends we experience.
P.S. The next day I saw some hippos.