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Working my way through the alphabet, one country at a time

Paris, a Pleasure to Walk

I could walk forever in this city!  I’m in France because my daughter, Jasmine, has always wanted to see Paris.  So I’m lucky enough to have Jasmine and her husband Kyle with me.  Luckily, Kyle has been here before and he’s adept at navigating the subway system.  It’s very relaxing for me and stressful for […]

“F” is for France! And I’m here!!

First impressions: The rooftops are charming!  I came directly to Strausberg from the airport. When the train arrived it was dark. When I woke up this morning I was delighted to look out from my third story window at all the red tile rooves. Most of the tiles are semicircles so they have a frilly […]

Lalibela, Ethiopia

An Ethiopian mother watched with fascination as a swarm of bees surrounded her infant in the 12th century, AD.  The bees inflicted no harm on the boy.  She interpreted this event as a sign that her son would be Emperor of Ethiopia and named him Lalibela, “the bees recognize his sovereignty.”  He did, in fact, […]

The Queen of Sheba

When I decided to go to Ethiopia, my only reference was the Queen of Sheba.  My sister, Cindy, and I fondly remember our Grandma Pope–if she perceived an insult–declaring “she thinks she’s the Queen of Sheba!”  But Cindy and I found very little about the Queen of Sheba before I traveled to Ethiopia.  So I listened […]

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The girls are responsible for gathering firewood in the Ethiopian villages, either for use at home or to sell at market.  It’s backbreaking labor, and each time we passed a young woman hauling wood there’d be audible gasps of sympathy from all of us. So I was thrilled when Marijke–who has been to Ethiopia six […]

Yerer Village Life in Ethiopia

Yesterday was our last day with the children. They are so eager to see us each day that they crowd around the entrance to the school, waiting to get a high five as we walk into the schoolyard. Our leaders had fun projects planned including a closing ceremony with backpacks, t-shirts and school supplies for […]

Debre Zyet, Ethiopia

I’ve never been in a country where I wake each morning to the chanting of prayer. It’s been a problem for some of my colleagues because the chanting sometimes starts at 4:00 a.m.! The Ethiopian Orthodox Church recites prayers for much longer than the Islam call to prayer. In fact, they pass out walking sticks […]

Yerer, Ethiopia

We knew immediately it was a Market Day because we passed a multitude of donkeys bearing burdens. And oxen. And horse-and-buggys. And people. They walk from Yerer to Debre Zeyt for Market Days which is 7 or 8 kilometers! There are three Market Days a week and I love them because it’s like a parade […]

Ethiopia

There are 80 languages in Ethiopia and over 200 dialects, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when I delivered my well-rehearsed “selam tena jistilign” (hello) and the young woman shook her head that she didn’t understand. But the welcoming ceremony from the village of Yerer had made up for my disappointment. They were so excited […]

ETHIOPIA?!?

How did Ethiopia happen?  Well, I have a dear friend that works for Engage Now Africa and they are building a school in the village of Yerer in June.  And I’m on the letter “E” so what else could I do but participate?  I informed the organization that I’m turning sixty in June and hope I […]

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