Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thoughts on Ethiopia

It is hard to put to words the thoughts and feelings experienced while we were in Ethiopia. The capital city, Addis Ababa, is a very large metropolitan area. You wouldn't see anything like it in the US. Despite the many modern conveniences available, there is a lot of poverty. There were very few areas that we didn't see people obviously living on the street. You want to help everyone you see, but it is just not possible. You see a lot of people doing physical labor. Things that we would expect to be done with backhoes, jackhammers, etc. The people are very friendly, and we felt pretty safe in all the areas we visited. Because the reservoirs were low (Ethiopia's power is hydro electric), we had power every other day. In the city, life pretty much goes on as normal without power.

The country side was beautiful. Ethiopia has what it called "green drought". Enough rain for things to be green and beautiful, not necessarily enough to grow crops that are necessary. Driving out of Addis Ababa, was a gentle descent through rolling hills. As the scenery goes by, you easily observe the signs & effects of deforestation. The trees have not been harvested by companies & expansion, but by people heating & building their modest homes.

It was a life changing & perspective changing journey. Many of us think we need a bigger home if children have to share a room, or we don't have enough bathrooms. Rural families in Ethiopia may reside in a 100 or 200 square foot hut, where the animals live with the family. This experience has cemented what is really important in life: friends, family, and taking care of the ones you love.