Monday, March 28, 2011


My mom and I flew to Ethiopia last week. We spent a few days in Addis with a group of our friends from UPC, who were in Ethiopia and Kenya to visit different NGO organizations doing HIV/AIDS work. We had a nice time with our friends, and very worthwhile and interesting visits with the different Ethiopian organizations.

Our first dinner in Addis was at this Ethiopian restaurant. It was a colorful and lively place... dancing, music and traditional clothing. There was a huge buffet of all sorts of different Ethipoian dishes. Very heavy, rich food.

 This is one of the HIV testing centers. "Save Lives International" was one of the indigenous NGO's that we visited. One of the projects that they run is sending medical volunteers to schools to test kids. The six little white squares on the table are individual blood tests.

OSSA is another indigenous NGO in Addis, with a lot of great projects going. One of the things they do is IGA (Income Generating Activities). This is what they call an Orphan Head of Household. They are a family of 7 kids, who lost their parents to AIDS several years ago. The oldest son went through a year long training program through OSSA to learn to sew. He has trained his brothers and some friends to sew as well, and now they have 5 machines and are doing contract work for different clothing companies. They were very busy, hard-working, and happy.

On our last day in Addis, my mom and I toured the city a little bit. This is an Orthodox church in Addis. There was stained glass, chandeliers, and frescoes on the walls and ceilings. Really beautiful, and not a type of church I've seen in Africa so far.

There is a lot of hype about the Sheraton in Addis, so we figured we should check it out. This is the nicest, most extravagant thing my mom or I have seen in Africa. It is just like a Sheraton in the US- SUPER fancy and very expensive. There were all sorts of treasures here! It costs 500 dollars/night to stay here, so these are rich people. We had dinner at one of the restaurants in the lobby- where there were big couches, candlelit tables, and a live piano player! Ridiculous.

Ethiopia was very different.. the language much harder to imagine ever comprehending or speaking. Amharic doesn't even use the latin alphabet, so the signs and names of places and people are impossible to even begin to sound out. We liked Addis, but it is definitely poorer and dirtier. There are less cars on the roads, beggars in the street who come up to your car window, unfinished construction everywhere, dogs all over the place... but somehow it felt more familiar. There is something about the look of the people, their fashion and body type, that seems more western. And the coffee is fantastic! Instead of chai, they have macchiato. So we had macchiatos every day and brought back three bags of coffee beans.

Returning to Kenya felt very nice. It seems so modern and developed after being in Addis. I can't imagine how it will feel to go back to Seattle in a couple of months!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Erika,

    Saw your climb, fantastic and congradulations. I am proud of you, that was HIGH. I would love to hear your story. Love, Uncle Mark