Ethiopia

May 20, 2013

A view from the summit that cradles Lalibela, Ethiopia.

During the last two weeks of April, I was lucky enough to travel to Ethiopia for a Fulbright Enrichment Seminar. The Seminar lasted the better part of a week and I spent the week before traveling to the North of Ethiopia to explore a place coined “The Eighth Wonder of the World”.  Both travel and seminar were absolutely refreshing and reflective experiences. Fulbright researchers and English Teaching Assistants from all over Sub-Sahara Africa were brought together to share our personal struggles, our intellectual triumphs and to be reminded of our purpose.

One of many worshippers who flock to the 11th-century churches in Lalibela.

One of many worshipers who flock to the 11th-century churches in Lalibela. The ancient history of Ethiopia resonated everywhere as though the Old Testament decided to come to life.

The conference and the trip, in general, allowed me to reconsider everything that I had been doing for the last 7 months in Rwanda. This place is a hard place to live in, but not in the conventional sense of being without creature comforts.  The culture and the history have weighed on me, and other short-term travelers, even if its not always thought about in the forefront of our minds. Going to Zanzibar before and now Ethiopia, I felt a sense of release as if my psyche had been forced underwater for months and could take a big breath of air.

This church, built by Emperor Yemrehanna Kristos, was hidden inside a cave. Built of ebony wood and stone, it was the migration site for many pilgrims seeking Zion.

This church, built by Emperor Yemrehanna Kristos, was hidden inside a cave. Built of ebony wood and stone, it was the migration site for many pilgrims seeking Zion.

In fact, I have tried to ignore that weight in an effort to get to know people, not just memorials. And yet, that’s impossible. A history and its people coalesce organically and the separation of the two creates an even more stunted view of a such a unique, bewildering culture.

The church ceiling of the Emperor Yemrehanna Kristos of the Zagwe Dynasty, a short drive away from Lalibela town.

The church ceiling of the Emperor Yemrehanna Kristos of the Zagwe Dynasty, a short drive away from Lalibela town.

Upon returning to Rwanda in late April, I had a new understanding of,  well, just here. My views  of this place will be skewed with every passing day and it will take years after to grasp a mildly objective view. The people I met at the Seminar were an amazing bunch who were too intelligent and worldly to accept any  superficial explanation of my experience, and I am greatly indebted for their patient listening. Vice versa, a banal conversation was nowhere to be found the entire week.

Found in Axum, looks like a treacherous climb for a royal cleaning, eh?

Queen of Sheba’s bath. Found in Axum, looks like a treacherous climb for a royal cleaning, eh?

Ethiopia itself was a mysterious and wonderful place that I suggest everyone goes, whether they are in need of new eyes or not. Architecture, history and self-reflection were the themes of this quick trip; probably not a coincidence.

A partially excavated tomb in Axum circa 5th or 6th century.

A partially excavated tomb in Axum circa 5th or 6th century.

“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” 
― Mary Anne Radmacher

Back to Kigali

May 7, 2013

Unfortunately due to some problems with our house, Olivia and I have had to move back to Kigali for the last 6 weeks (!!) of our contract. The move was quite abrupt and I was very sad to move from my home for the last 8 months. I will continue to work in Kigali on the literary journal and commute once a week to do some English program  training for the staff at INATEK and it was the right decision to make. Nevertheless,  it won’t be the same as living in Kibungo. Below, I’ve posted a few more pictures of the beautiful East Province.

The harvest celebration was put on by an NGO started by my good friend. Called ADAPT, it helps farmers transport their crops more efficiently and created a community-based loan system to fund the education of local children. Above, a member of the Rwanda  Development Board applauds the efforts of the farmers and ADAPT.

A harvest celebration was put on by an NGO started by my good friend. Called ADAPT, it helps farmers transport their crops more efficiently and created a community-based loan system to fund the education of local children. Above, a member of the Rwanda Development Board applauds the efforts of the farmers and ADAPT.

A pretty princess dressed up for the harvest celebration.

A pretty princess dressed up for the harvest celebration.

Fruits of  a season's labor in a newly constructed pavilion from ADAPT

Fruits of a season’s labor in a newly constructed pavilion from ADAPT

 

Wiersema.David

up up down down left right left right B A

Journeys in Peace Journalism

Exploring Uganda's Media

alaskanadventureswithalex

Alex Heckaman's Adventures in Alaska 2013

Lauren in Uganda

My journey as a Fulbright Research Fellow in Kampala, Uganda

Tipa tipa n'apprive

little by little we move forward

Stirling Design Associates, LLC

Welcome! Let's get started on design.

Consistently Contradictory

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

NAINews

North American Interfaith Network News

Lauren Hamlin's Nature in Literature Blog

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. -Kahlil Gibran

Some Birds Aren’t Meant to be Caged

A little girl with big dreams spreads her wings and learns to fly.

Mokdong Magpie

expanding my horizons

A Traveler's Tale

photography and travel interests, places, and things

TED Blog

The TED Blog shares interesting news about TED, TED Talks video, the TED Prize and more.

Uwitware's Picks

My world, my thoughts, my aspirations...

Traveling Teacart

A collection of tales from a young vagabond in India

kate on the road

stories from the life of a modern day nomad

sojourn in south africa

sojourn: (v) to stay or dwell in a place for a short period of time