Our Mission in Ethiopia

Thursday, November 28, 2013

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to our family and friends in America!! 

Yesterday was a FUN day at the Church!  After Seminary, I taught my keyboard lesson and then I taught a sewing class for the Relief Society sisters to learn to use the sewing machine sent from SLC.  We had a GREAT time!  Here is a sample of the bags we made and a few pictures of the ladies.  We were there from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm!  They also enjoyed the pumpkin bread I brought for refreshments.

Yetmwork was SO excited about the
bag she made! 

We had our Thanksgiving celebration on Monday, November 25th since two of our Debre Zeyit Elders were being transferred the day before Thanksgiving.  No turkeys here but we bought a few VERY skinny chickens!  We DID have turkey gravy that my brother brought and pumpkin for pie, Stove Top, and cranberry sauce thanks to Amy Greer Kroff, who brought it to us last month when they came to adopt a baby here in Ethiopia! 
 (We are not supposed to post photos of the Elders for security reasons, so here is Elder Wold before we sat down to eat!)

Thanksgiving dinner with Abraham and our DZ
threesome ~ Elders Makuku, Self and Voracek

Playing Quirkle and eating pumpkin pie and chocolate cream pie

Here are a few more interesting, fun photos we've taken lately....

These cute kids, riding home from school on a horse-pulled cart,
waved and waved at us with the BIGGEST smiles!! SO cute!!

We can't get over how much donkeys carry!!

Every structure here is built with concrete.  We enjoyed watching
this guy using his artistic talents, chiseling a design on our neighbors'
new wall.

The trucks here also carry unbelievably BIG loads!
We were afraid this was going to fall over on us in
Addis last Saturday!! 

We had just parked our car and sat down at a sidewalk pizza 
place when this guy started doing something to our door handle!
We were a little concerned until the waiter said he was just
covering our windows to keep the sun out.
(Pretty creative way to make 10 birr which is about 50 cents! ) 
We are continuing with our tradition of giving birthday
treats to someone here who is the same age as our 
grandson or granddaughter celebrating their birthday
at home.  Allison turned "16" on Sunday, so we took
a bag of chocolate candies to Salem (16) in our branch.
She shared with Meheret and Gebrella and they all sang
"Happy Birthday" to Allison! 
(How in the WORLD can we have a 16 year old granddaughter!?!?!?)

We LOVE the trash "trucks" here!
Check out their FANCY horse!
They come to our house every Saturday at
7:00 am and knock on our gate. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Early Saturday morning we drove back to Bahir Dar from Gondar and spent the day there going to see Blue Nile Falls and the source of the Blue Nile and taking a boat ride on Lake Tana out to 2 islands and a peninsula to see  some Monasteries and we even saw a hippo on the way back!  We spent the night in Bahir Dar and drove home the next day.  WHAT A WEEK!!! We feel SO blessed to have seen these AMAZING sights in Northern Ethiopia! Our mission president wants the couples to see the country and gave us permission to go before the Tanners' mission is over.

The Blue Nile River
It joins the White Nile from Uganda in Sudan to form the
Nile River that flows through Egypt

The boat we took to cross over to Blue Nile Falls

If you look closely in the middle you will see a crocodile on the bank!

Another crocodile on another river bank!

Elder and Sister Tanner and Elder and Sister Wold
on the Blue Nile River

Blue Nile Falls

Blue Nile Falls from another angle.... (It actually
looked a little more like the "Brown Nile" to us.)

This is a COOL bridge near the falls so the people
can cross to other villages.  It was built by the Swiss. 
A view from that bridge near
the falls ~ a LONG way down!!

This is our boat driver on Lake Tana.  We had just visited the
Monastery on the island behind us.
These two cute kids followed us all
the way from the road in town to
the banks of the Blue Nile.  The little
girl made this pot with a lid out of clay
and was trying to sell it.  
The islands were green with lush
vegetation that we walked through
to go to the monasteries.
These girls passed us carrying their bundles
These are "chat" fields.  They sell chat
everywhere along the roadside in Addis
and Debre Zeyit.  People chew it and
get "high" on it.  (Funny that our mission
president's last name is Chatfield!!) 
These three women were on the path from the
monastery on the peninsula, making beer, alcoholic
drinks and coffee to sell.  They were disappointed that
we wouldn't drink any of it! : /
These are coffee bean plants.  We see them all over.
Inside the Debre Maryam Monastery Church
A Nun at the Monastery holding a book written
in the 1600s
The oldest monk on the island
The Ura Kidane Mihret Monastery on the Zege Peninsula

This is a hippo in Lake Tana! We saw it stick its head up
three times but just BARELY caught it the last time!
I took three more photos on the road from Bahir
Dar on the way home just to show the variety
of scenery we saw.
Elder Tanner speaks Amharic very well and always
talked to kids along the way and did magic tricks
for them! They LOVED it!  (The Tanners lived here
with an NGO for 6 months in 2009 and came back
on an 18 month mission so they have been here
for nearly 2 years.) 
Here is the mouth of the Blue Nile where it
comes from Lake Tana.
Sunset on Lake Tana as we returned back to our hotel.
More scenery on the road from Bahir Dar to Addis
(At times we felt like we were driving through southern Utah!)

This is Lake Tana in Bahir Dar just across from our hotel!
It is the largest lake in Ethiopia ~ 95 kilometers long and 

65 kilometers wide. It would take 8-9 hours to go the 
whole length of the lake. (This photo WAS up at the top
of this post but it ended up down here at the bottom!?!?)

We saw this baboon by the side of the road,
so I threw him a banana and he hopped up on the post to eat it!

Thursday and Friday were spent in Gondar, Ethiopia ~ 6 hours from Lalibela.  We witnessed a burial procession at  the only church of 44 churches in Gondar in the 17th century that is still standing, then we went to another old Ethiopian Orthodox Church where there was a BIG celebration going on for the holiday commemorating Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus' Flight Into Egypt.  Every Orthodox Church has a replica of the Ark of the Covenant and there was a ritual where they carried it (replica) around the churchyard, covered by a cloth in a big procession.  There were THOUSANDS of people there to watch and celebrate.  It was really something!!

After lunch, we saw six castles in the Royal Enclosure (right across from our hotel) belonging to kings in the 1600s and 1700s and also King Fasiledes' Bath House across town.  That is where they have Timkat, or the celebration of Jesus' Baptism around the 18th of January.  The pool surrounding the bath house takes one MONTH to fill and at the celebration people renew their baptism, after the Priest blesses the water, by jumping into the holy water.  We bought postcards showing the celebration!  Some of the photos of trees were taken on the grounds around the bath house.

Nightfall in Lalibela Wednesday

On the road from Lalibela to Gondar

We saw several different kinds of houses...

It's amazing what these people carry on
their backs and on their heads!

EVERY time we stopped anywhere we were
swarmed by children asking for carmelos (candy),
water bottles, pens or money.

STOP sign  Ü

This weird rock formation looked
like a fist with a thumb sticking up!

In every village and town, school kids
are walking down the roads ~ even
VERY busy highways ~ wearing some
type of school uniform.  On this road,
we saw pink, light blue and light green
school uniform shirts.
No time to go check out the village of WOLDIYA! : (

The Sunset Wednesday night in Gondar, Ethiopia 
from our Taye Hotel balcony.

 (This one is OUT OF ORDER!?)  : /

A mother and daughter along the road to Gondar

Another cool rock formation we saw on the way

The Royal Enclosure from our hotel balcony

A shot of Gondar from our hotel balcony
Eighty angels, watching all of God's children, are painted
on the ceiling of the church below.... Some consider this

church to have the best ecclesiastical art in Ethiopia.
Gate to the Debre Birhan Selassie Church
All the churches in Gondar were destroyed by Muslims in 1888
but this one.  It was protected by a huge swarm of bees!
Inside the church... the replica of the
Ark of the Covenant is in the Holy of Holies
behind the curtains.
Every inch of all four walls is covered by murals
telling stories from the Bible and the life of Jesus Christ.
The shape of the Church is symbolic of Noah's Ark
This is the Flight into Egypt celebration at the
Kuskuam Maryam Orthodox Church. 
The procession passed right in front of us.  The  replica of
the Ark of the Covenant is at the right under the red fabric.
(Our guide said it is just the tablets with the 10 commandments on.)
These are the priests chanting at the burial taking place at the
first church we went to.
This (also out of order) is the first church ~ the Debre Birhan
Selassie Church (which means "Mountain of the Enlightened Trinity").
Here we are with Elder and Sister Tanner in front of three of the castles in the Royal Enclosure.
(I don't know how THIS photo got in the middle of the church celebration!?!?)
This cute little girl was blowing a horn
 in celebration.
The Tanners visit with some of the church members attending
the two hour long celebration. Ethiopian Orthodox women 
must always have their heads covered at church.
The priests, holding their prayer sticks, chanted as they
sang the song written especially for this yearly celebration. 

Our guide showed us the deacons' houses on the
way down the hill where the church and celebration were.
Elafseghed Tsadiku Yohannes' Castle 1667-1682

The banquet hall in Adbar-Seghed Dawits' Castle
This was across town from the Royal Enclosure ~  King
Fasiledes' Bath House and 2nd residence.  There is a pool that 

goes all the way around the house.
This shows the pool around the bath house that
is filled just once a year for Timkat
(Jesus'  Baptism celebration).
Close up of the King's Bath House 1632-1667
Adamseghed Iyasus Castle  1682-1706
Messim-Seghed Bekafas Castle 1721-1730
The Itegie Mintimabs Castle had 7 lion cages and had black-mane
lions there until the last one was put in the Black Lion Zoo in
Addis Ababa in 1991!
 (Here are our scary husbands. Haha!)
Itegie Mintimabs Castle 1730-1755
This tree's roots went down both sides
of the stone wall at the King's Bath House.
This shows more tree roots growing down the
wall of the Bath House.
The end of another day of AMAZING sights in Northern Ethiopia!!
Alem Seghed Fasils Castle 1632-1667

(How did THIS get way down here!?!?)

Doors inside the castle