Thursday, September 17, 2009


I never really wrote about my feelings surrounding my love towards Addis Ababa. I think it's because it's hard to share my experience of a place that offers such complexity in such simplicity.  What struck me most was the deep soul of the country.  There is a vibrational spirit of fellowship through the worship that came from despair and survival and faith. But more than anything, I felt tremendous pride from the people. Pride in their country and culture and their individual presence. Pride that an American was taking interest in their world and pride that they were able to share. Ethiopia is a place of extremes and with that comes heartache like I have never witnessed before BUT with that comes strength like I've never witnessed before as well.

I am haunted by images of helpless mothers with small children. By sickly orphans and by unimaginable living conditions. These imprints are overwhelming. It's more overwhelming to think of this being just one example of many places all over Africa and other parts of the world. I am thankful for these images however; I know they will keep me connected to the country that created my daughter and the philosophy that "we are one."

I think of Addis Ababa daily. I remember the chanting of the church that serenaded me every morning. The aromas of roasted coffee. The dry, fuel smelled air whipping across my face as we drove through the city. The high pitched hypnotic music. The beautiful faces. The gracious hosts. The street life camaraderie. The 3 kisses when greeting.  The livestock and fruit stands. The smiles on the children's faces and the best possible essence of human spirit.

As Becky, our driver, drove us from the guest house to the airport, I sobbed. I didn't want to leave. I was forever touched and forever grateful. The following pics were taken by my friend Kris.

This is from the 2nd story balcony of our guest house. This woman was next door.

This was driving through the Mercado. Men walking hand in hand is a common sight.

This was sitting in the living room of the Gladney house when I was with LT for the fist time and Kris snapped this looking out the window. There were rows of laundry for miles.

We are guests for a traditional coffee ceremony and she's pounding the coffee.

Some of you who follow the blog may remember a piece of art I bought from great Seattle Ethiopian artist Yaddi Bojia. When I chose this piece, what I saw in it was hope and prayer. Yaddi told me that once I traveled I would understand the painting more and he was right. I do. The painting is a perfect representation of all the complexity that lives in the simplicity of a beautiful, powerful place.


Julie said...

These pictures are amazing, as are your words.

msl said...

Beautifully written Amy.

Meredith said...

wow. well said. the pictures are phenomenal. you friend should sell them.thanks.

Julie said...

Kris took some beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing. I too would love to go back one day to Addis. While the people there (and other places) are facing challenges that we don't have to face here in the U.S.A., I find that they know things about life that we don't know and we can learn from them. There are a lot of lonely and disconnected people in L.A. and I didn't get that feeling in Addis or other "poor" places that I've been to. We can be pretty shallow and materialistic in the U.S.A. Some people might feel sorry for us! Right?
In spite of the fact that there are so many children that must be given up for adoption and that are orphaned, there is a strong sense of family in Ethiopia. And faith. - Julie O.