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Our Trip South; A Recap

May 13, 2010

So we loaded up Emily, Kai, Zuritu (The head nanny who had come up on a previous trip) and myself into our Nissan Patrol for our four-day trip south to the Omo River Valley and back home again.  This is the home of the Kara, Benna, and Hamar Tribes, the people we are working with in stopping the practice of Mingi.  We were going to pick up two very sick children, a nanny, and a pregnant Kara woman with her little girl, to bring them up to the Capital to get them the healthcare they desperately need. The Kara woman is pregnant with a “Mingi” baby that would be put to death if born in the tribe.

We started south out of the Capital leaving the smog, and crowded streets behind and entered into a country we have not yet seen.  The pictures give a glimpse of what we saw but lack the smells and sounds of this beautiful place. We wound through small family farms with their round mud and grass huts called Tukul.  We were continually slowed on the road by family’s with their donkey-drawn carts, cattle drives to the feeding pasture, or flocks of people walking long distances to the market for the day.  We knew we were in the lap of luxury as compared to the trips that others had taken before us.  Levi made it very clear that having air conditioning, a powerful truck and a stereo were all luxuries they did not have on their numerous trips over the past year.  We recognized this and enjoyed the comfort of the ride and nostalgia of the music on my iPod.  We drove for a long day and ended at the Paradise Lodge in Arba Minch.  What an oasis in this country of concrete buildings and broken down shantys.  The lodge is modeled after the traditional homes of the region and sits on a cliff overlooking a forest of green with baboons, hundreds of birds, and two large lakes of the area.

We woke early the next morning to drive all the way to the Orphanage.  We crossed riverbeds flowing with the night’s rainfall colored with beautiful topsoil that makes Ethiopia one of the most fertile farmlands in Africa.  We passed hundreds of children on the sides of the road, each with their own dance, the funky chicken, the leg wobble, or the handstand.  Each dance ended with an upturned hand or a motion to the mouth signifying hunger and need.  This is a constant struggle that I need to delve into in another post because this is a complicated issue of having enough for ourselves but not nearly enough for everyone else.

We arrived in the village early enough to see and do more than we ever thought we could.  We met most of orphanage staff and the children who were all sitting nicely ready to meet the new “Ferenges” (Foreigners) who had come to take a few out of their midst and escape again not to be seen until next time.  We had a coffee ceremony with Zuritu and her family, consisting of freshly roasted Ethiopian coffee brewed over a clay stove, and popcorn in a huge flat platter.  We went and looked at a rental house that Lale had already found for us, and another that Zuritu’s husband knew of, that they jokingly called a palace.  After some shrewd negotiating we had a deal on the “Village Palace” which is actually a little bigger than our house in the states.  The kitchen is in the back yard in a separate outbuilding, as are the pit toilets, but we do have one western toilet inside the house too.  Then we headed to Lale and Gido’s house for another coffee ceremony and a great conversation, actually our first with Lale, which resulted in a great bit of insight into where we are at and where we are going as Drawn From Water.

We slept a restless night and woke early again to pick up our new travelers and head back to the Capital on a two day journey.  You know how in a movie when people are driving peacefully in the car and the camera just shows the front window view towards the passengers, music is playing (David Crowder), and the people are just peaceful and unaware of the impending explosion that is about to occur,  then they are sideswiped by some huge event?  Well ours happened 10 minutes into our 15 hour two day drive.  Four out of the five new passengers, Kara people who have ridden in cars maybe twice in their entire lives, all threw up violently and didn’t really stop for the rest of the day.  Oh my gosh, this was intense.

Well after stopping for some motion sickness pills, meals, a night stay in the tourist hotel, and another full day of even crazier river crossings and a little extortion to make our way through, we were back into the Capital and our house was back up to 19 folks again.  Crazy, hard, fun, emotional, and exciting, and that was the first trip. Wfhew!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Ellen permalink
    May 13, 2010 1:30 pm

    I love your descriptions of events, Micah! I find myself hanging on every word to grasp a sense of what you are a part of there! Wonderful pictures. Thank you for what you are doing! I love you.

  2. Chella Rivers permalink
    May 13, 2010 4:25 pm

    Can’t even tell you what a blessing it is to hear about your journey. You and your family are in our prayers and I think of you often. Please know that there are many angels in Heaven who are rejoicing about what you are doing. I look forward to the day that we can join you in the service of God. I can almost smell that Ethiopian coffee you described as it’s morning here in California (May 13th)…and it would really help wake me up 🙂 Be encouraged friends. God is working amazing things through your life.

  3. Kathi Wilson permalink
    May 13, 2010 5:43 pm

    Hi Micah and Emily,
    Sounds like your lives will never be the same. Your hearts are expanding in ways that you never knew possible, I’m sure. At least, I know I am having more thoughts and considerations toward the orphans and life in Africa. We here in America, are also able to learn from your writings and photos. Thank you.
    I pray for His help and guidance in your endeavors.
    Love reading about your daily struggles and adventures. How great it is to have computers for communicating–fascinating! I know grandma is always so impressed by this form of communication as well.
    Lead on.
    Aunt Kathi

  4. Rhoda Baginski permalink
    May 13, 2010 6:10 pm

    Wow oh Wow! May the Lord abundantly Bless you and all in your house. Thanks for the wonderful description of your trip. I’m sure it would be better with the sights and sounds (except some of them 🙂 We are in HOuston right now for Kristys graduation. Love to you all Mom

  5. Tim Mikulin permalink
    May 13, 2010 6:13 pm

    Wow! We are very excited for you! Our player are with you!

  6. The Parks permalink
    May 13, 2010 9:05 pm

    We love the pictures and descriptions.
    What and adventure!
    Emily looks in her element.
    Thanks for sharing your stories.
    We’d love to send a care package – anything special that you need?
    As always you guys are in our thoughts.

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  1. 2010 in review « Five Family

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