Project Abroad’s Ethiopian Volunteers and Staff went on a trip together to Wenchi from Addis Ababa. On the way we visited the Ambo farmers market, passed a number of buildings dedicated to horticulture and Ethiopia’s booming flower industry and travelled for over an hour on a dirt road stopping only briefly to watch an annual athletic competition between the areas. At the athletic competition we had the privilege of watching with the local population a short distance running competition. The best short distance runner from each kebele completed for the honor of being the fastest. The locals were exuberant as their runners passed. Running on a gravel track I was impressed at their speed as they primarily ran barefoot. Eventually, feeling slightly fatigued from the experience of riding on a dirt road for so long, we arrived at Wenchi Crater. We hired horses on the craters rim and rode them down a very curvy dirt road that leads to spring fed, Wenchi Lake.
In just under an hour we reached the lake, where we hired a boat to take us to an island that is the home of Wenchi Chirkos, a 13-15th century monastery. We all enjoyed a traditional picnic lunch and some laughs on the beautiful island and then we walked around to visit the monastery. The monastery (like most Orthodox Christian Churches) is hexagonal in shape and located proximately on a hill with a gorgeous view of the lake. As you look around you the ledges of the crater surround you and appear to touch the sky.
We learned the history of the church and met the priest of Chirkos. The priest invited us into home, a small wooden structure with a fire pit, bed and some logs for inviting guests. He offered us all some local honey and blessed our journey. The surprise and delight of being invited into his home stayed with the group for some time.
We boarded our hired boat again where some of the volunteers took a shot at rowing the boat back across the island. If you look over the edge of the boat you can see some petrified wood at the lakes bottom. This wood is apparently left from the forests that use to reside in the lakes location prior to the volcanic activity that created the crater. Boarding the horses again – we proceeded back up the crater, into the mini-bus and again onto the bumpy road for another hour or so.
At the end of this very long day we found ourselves checked into our hotel- cleaned up and settling in to a dinner at the hotel.
The next morning we went to breakfast and drove to Negash Lodge, where we spent the afternoon enjoying a hot spring fed swimming pool, a bountiful wildlife that included many birds, monkeys, and foliage. We enjoyed a good laugh as the driver of the mini-bus was being chased by a turkey. At the end of a restful and enjoyable afternoon we boarded our mini-bus and drove back to Addis. Stopping briefly at the Meta Beer factory to ride camels, see a waterfall and feed some monkeys.
The two days provided the volunteers, most of which had not yet left Addis Ababa yet, a delightful glimpse at the diversity that is Ethiopia.
The days on the long road of one families Ethiopian Adoption
This blog started out as a way to record the twists, turns, highs and lows in my families journey to adopt siblings from Ethiopia. Now our children are home and we have just finished celebrating our first year as a family.
I'm Kimberly (or Fendesha), an adventurous person who aspires to be a vagabond- but for now- I spend all of my free time travelling and my down time thinking of travelling. I'm a mom of 3 (the oldest being my gorgeous canine companion), a IT project manager, and on occasion I find myself the primary writer of this blog.
Happy Reading and thank you for stopping by.