Friday, March 2, 2012

Update from Ethiopia- Leaving for South Sudan

Yesterday morning Gach, Bob and Jim got in the land rover and rode with our gear--they will spend two days getting to Gambella to meet us there.

Today we're on the way to Gambella--we'll fly from Addis to Gambella--a quick 90 minute flight, and stay in Gambella for the night getting the rest of our supplies. Tomorrow, we will drive across Savannah 60 miles until we reach the Baro river, which we'll cross by foot or by canoe.

Yesterday, some of the team who was feeling under the weather stayed behind and visited a school, others visited family in the area, and another group went to Debre Laganos in the Oromo region, where we saw a 735 year old graveyard (where anyone can be buried for no charge) as well as a church, the largest monastery in Ethiopia. The 500 monks there live in caves in the cliffs. Since it is lent, many people were camped in the churchyard, where they enjoy one meal a day of beans or chickpeas per day, and then climb (pilgrimage) up to the cliff where the church founder lived and prayed for 29 years--always standing, with spears around him so he wouldn't fall asleep. The cave is considered a miracle, because it constantly weeps water, yet the ceiling and walls are completely dry. Pilgrims may only drink this water during the time they stay at the church for lent, so it is a major effort of going up and down this steep rocky trail for water.  A half-dozen team members climbed to the top to see the cave.  We were in awe of the kind of faith furor that would move people to these practices--often making the entire climb barefoot--leaving bloodied stones along the way.
Later, more climbing, this time down, we were able to observe and cross an arched stone bridge, built by the Portuguese in the 1600s, made from limestone and ostrich shells. This bridge was used by Portuguese traders.
The day before yesterday, we spent at the Merkato shopping "Africa style" which was an overwhelming experience but very effective.

We're eager to share photos, but the connection is slow. A limited list is here:

We are deeply satisfied with our Africa experience, and reminded of a call to prayer for the three team members driving. Please keep them in your prayers, it is a difficult journey.

This will likely be the last "live" update from Africa for a while, as we won't have internet connection in Gambella or Malual, we'll be phoning up to the church as often as we can with updates, and Jen M. will send them out.

Thank you all for your prayers and support.

--Your friends from KLC South Sudan Community Restoration Program

No comments:

Post a Comment