Visit to Ethiopia

 

Holland House Restaurant

Holland House Restaurant

The first two and a half weeks in October 2008 Charlie journeyed to Addis Ababa Ethiopia to visit LeaMcD Educational Services for the Deaf of Ethiopia and learn more about the “work” there.

The flights were uneventful though there were some long layovers. It was nice to meet people from other places and chat. Two couples at the airport in Amsterdam were on their way from the USA Ethiopia to meet and “bring home” their adopted children.

A teenage girl was on her way to visit her grandmother in Malaysia before going to school after which she intends to follow in the footsteps of her parents, Christian missionaries.

The situation at Bole Airport was more chaotic than I remembered, I suppose because most planes land at night and on a previous visit it was earlier in the day.

Rebekah Payne, founder and director of LeaMcD Educational Services of Ethiopia had told me transportation would be waiting or me but we had no way to communicate and we had never met. It bothered me that I had no Ethiopian money or phone. I did not want to be stranded at the airport in this city of five million people, a dozen traffic lights and almost no street names. If I had been able to hire a cab I could not have given directions to the driver.

Finally the confusion inside the terminal was mostly behind me. Someone had “snatched” away the cart my bags had been on while they went through the X ray machine and I gathered them up, broken straps and all, and clumsily, laboriously, headed for the exit.

What a relief to see Rebekah, (I had seen photos) Christina, who I had met on our previous visit, and Roy, Christina’s husband (who I had not met) waiting just outside the exit waving excitedly to me.

We loaded my gear into Christina’s car and drove to Holland House restaurant near the school compound for a long and joyful visit.

While we were eating Roy, a British expatriate, explained to me an Ethiopian custom which was new to me. In Ethiopia utensils are not employed while eating, only fingers. Christina, a beautiful native Ethiopian lady wished to engage in a local custom; feed me, the honored guest. I sat there wile she gently placed food into my mouth that she had scooped from her plate.

It was a humbling experience, one I will never forget and indeed, a memory I will cherish.

The entry gate into LeaMcD compound is in the shadows and there is no light. As the car stopped two figures emerged from the dark and began to take hold of my belongings. Christina was concerned and said “How many bags do you have?” She was alarmed and afraid mybelongings would soon be gone.

I told her and we entered the gate.

What a relief to learn that the fellows were both LeaMcD guards, helping us.

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