One day I was writing chapter 2 and the next I was frantically booking flights and hotels and talking to our driver (who I now call my brother) Abreham about returning to Ethiopia. We booked flights on a Friday and flew out less than 48 hours later. But let’s pick up where I left off…
We arrived in Addis Ababa on Sunday morning, May 21st. After three days of traveling and two nights of flights all we wanted was a shower and a bed. Our heavy eyelids tried to take in the surroundings as we rode to the hotel. Addis is a bustling place with cars moving like a waterfall around rocks. It looks like mass chaos, but somehow everyone knows exactly what to do. Because it was Sunday, we saw women dressed in beautiful white dresses embroidered on the edges with vivid colors–yellow, orange, red.
We arrived at our hotel to the kindest smiles I’ve ever seen. Ethiopia is known for its hospitality, and we witnessed it over and over again. Such warm embraces calmed my anxious heart. We took hot showers and put on clean clothes, went downstairs for some breakfast, and went back to our room and crashed for a few hours.
That afternoon, Abreham picked us up and took us all over Addis. We visited Entoto mountain which is 10,499 feet above sea level. So, when we got out to walk around we were all trying very hard just to breathe. And then we look out to see women carrying huge loads of sticks on their backs. The strength and beauty–both physical and emotional–of Ethiopian women is astounding. On Mount Entoto the scent of eucalyptus is strong but, as Abreham would tell us, not desired. Apparently, the pesky tree has taken over much of the native Ethiopian vegetation since its introduction in the late 1800s.
We visited museums and an art gallery. (During our second trip Matt and Abreham would return to this same art gallery to purchase an oil painting as a gift for Eve.) Abreham told us about the butchers and the hanging raw meat–kitfo–a much-loved meal in Ethiopia. He told us about The Derg and the revolution to take down communism. Some of my most favorite moments of our time in Ethiopia were centered around conversations we had with Abreham. We loved learning all about Ethiopia from someone who has spent every day of his life there. When the jet lag started catching back up to us, we had pizza and gelato for dinner and an early bedtime. We were hours away from meeting our girl.
*All images by Robyn Smith of abideinhimphotography.com. To see more images from our trip to Ethiopia, go to @abideinhimrobyn on IG and scroll back until May.