Friday, January 29, 2016

On Your Mark, Get Set...

After a day of naps, conversations and opening seemingly non-ending totes filled with presents, it was time to introduce Papa and Nana to Field Days!  This went about 150% better than last year. 

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We hadn’t thought through how wonderful it would be to introduce our parents to so many in our Addis community. It was such a blessing!

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The girls chose to do every race they could, here is the beanbag race. Field Days are two solid days of festivity and community.

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Getting ready for the 3-legged race.  We could have probably practiced this one a bit more, hilarious.

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Coming into Daddy’s arms at the finish line. 

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Cheering on friends (and moms who ran alongside).

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Jon and girls took a 2nd in their heat for Daddy Daughter race.

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And because, my dad was there, we also joined the daddy daughter race in a fun twist. It was 50 meters, how hard could it be?

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My dad was an amazing sport and at 25 meters I was questioning my abilities. 

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Friends ran by us, daughter is 13 and they started late.

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They smoked us. 

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A field day we will all remember. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Can We Ever See Too Many Decorated Horses?

Written a few days ago, Yes, my parents had wonderful flights here, we are having fun in Addis Ababa at Field Days until Monday…


It’s been a whirlwind of cultural learning around our house the past two weeks.  

After Christmas, we were invited into many huts to celebrate, eat meat and drink coffee.  The following week, there was another holiday, this time not a meat holiday, but with much festivity, piles of injera and cup upon cup of steaming coffee. 

At the Ethiopian Orthodox church, we went to witness a local holiday when the priests bring out a replica of the Ark of the Covenant

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It was the first time the girls and I were invited into the church compound, completely fascinating. I was encouraged to take pictures by those with me.

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Many of the priests wait

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As the processional left the church with much flair, we went to watch Awi horses race across the pasture.

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It was the first time I noticed the horses’ saddles were all embroidered with  lion.  The tradition and symbolism in our culture is rich and in so many ways, points to beautiful truths of the Word.

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One of the riders, decked out in lion mane

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We went home, exhausted. overstimulated and too full, but incredibly thankful for the ways our community is letting us be a part of their lives. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Am I Dreaming?

Airports have seen a lot of my tears but there are times when an airport is more magical than Disneyland.

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Today was one of those days. 

The girls repeatedly asked my mom, “Nana, am I dreaming? Are we going to wake up tomorrow and you will be gone?”

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Taste And See...

The Lord is good. 

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Last week Jon and Tafera gave a training to a group that mixed across many demographics.  God is faithful, please join us in prayer for this group and the lessons taught. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Cutest Mount

Brian was trying to load his cousin, Berekit on his shoulders as we walked towards a celebration.

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Breakout is a well-fed town kid (WHO LOVES MEAT)

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Much excitement in our household, my parents fly in on Thursday!  Please join us in prayer for smooth and uneventful travel!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

King's Third Birthday

Little Nigoos (translation: King) was just a baby on his sister’s back when we first moved to the countryside. 

He’s grown into a smart, sweet little guy who chatters on, though we can understand little of what he says. 

Many people in our area have a loose idea of their ages but increasingly, the younger kids have a good idea when their birthday is based around a holiday. For example, “Oh, he will be three around Christmas” or “She turns five around Easter”. 

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He is a baby born around Christmas. It was so fun to celebrate with holiday bread, popcorn and cherry plums.  So much is changing here so fast.  Like the idea of a birthday party. It would be an idea that a townsperson has picked up, and because Nigoos has family in the town, he benefitted. It’s astounding, progressive and at some points, a little sad.  (Why progressive things make me a little sad is another post for another day). 

We had talked before about traditions for birthday and his dad mentioned that he knew Western custom was candles, so we brought three.

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First time he has blown out birthday candles and it frustrated/delighted him because he was far away and they were hard for him to blow out. 

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With his parents. 

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And his oldest sister roasted, ground and boiled the coffee. 



Amazing things are happening here. Please pray with us for God’s blessing, wisdom, grace and encouragement and protection.  

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Christmas Butcher

Ethiopian Christmas was on Thursday.  A neighbor/friend/employee invited us to be part of a neighborhood group who pool money together to buy a Christmas ox.  We were the 11th family and after a meeting, the others decided they would rather not have another family because they wanted a tenth of the meat, but invited us to come, see and participate. Also, if you pay for part of the meat, your name is entered in a lottery for the ox skin. I didn’t want to deal with the meat.  We are nearly vegetarian here because I am a bit squeamish about seeing animals alive before I eat them. 

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We gathered at a friend’s. All of the men were present, a few kids and women trickled in.

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We showed up a bit earlier than I would have liked as we were there for the first cut. Jon was involved and I tried to distract the girls. As you may notice in the photo, it didn’t work.

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In Yeshuas’ hand is the tongue. It was the first thing to be cut out of the ox as soon as it had died. Then the men drank coffee and ate raw chunks of the tongue. Jon (on the end) drank the coffee but didn’t eat any tongue.

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As more kids came, they tried to get close to the action and were shooed away. Our girls kept their distance and sipped on coffee.

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Yeshuas cut of a piece of tongue for his son.

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This mom and daughter combo kept the coffee going during the whole process. The men are all busy.

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Out came large false banana leaves to serve as plates to divide the meat into 10 equal piles

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Yuck. Jon had sweet and gracious teachers, several who would involve him and explain the process.

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Solomon lays out the leaves

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As the morning went on, more women came, with fresh injera smeared with berbere butter paste. 

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Working together to divide the meat.

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Jon and Meregeta enjoy a break

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And then the ax came out to hack off a stubborn leg and I distanced myself.

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I sat with the women, which is a rare privilege as they don’t sit much.

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the piles were divided equally, 10 parts.

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Any guesses what this is?  

The stomach.  The men snacked on this (raw) as they worked. Jon and I didn’t snack. 

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So blessed to sit with these lovely ladies.

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Playing a variation of “Duck, Duck, Goose” as the sun was hot and the process long.

We had a lunch invitation so we left and visited Yeshi (who served us vegetarian food, exactly what we wanted).

After “Christmas Ball” played in the pasture, we were invited for a meal of injera and stewed beef. The day was full and we were feeling the pressure of not knowing the delicate balance of eating to show we enjoy the Awi food and culture, but not looking too hungry or eating too much and use too many resources.  After all, this is one of three times a year when most Awi people eat meat. 

We finished up our evening coffee (caffeine doesn’t seem to affect anyone.  We had the equivalent of nine coffees today).  Our evening hosts left the room and entered a side storage room. They came out with a bag full of meat, probably around 4 kilos. After we left for lunch, the 10 families talked and each gave of their equal piles into a bag for us. They would accept no payment, it was a gift for us to enjoy our Christmas. We don’t deserve to live with these gracious people.

Sometimes, living here is incredibly frustrating and unsettling. Other days, it is so abundant in blessing we don’t have words, in English or Amharic.  As we walked back after dusk to our house, (we were hurrying, dead animal parts were everywhere and I was afraid the hyenas would come out early because of all the bloodshed), I realized that maybe we’ve just experienced Christmas and selfless giving in one of it’s purest forms. 

Our morning started with meat and…

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It ended with meat as Zelalem “taught” me the women’s work of chopping and preparing the meat. The men started but I had to take over. I would rather have not seen raw meat for a while but I smiled and took the knife. 

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Going On A Hippo Hunt

We’re not afraid.

Well, just a little.

Okay, a lot.

Did you know that after the mosquito (malaria carrier), hippos are the most lethal animal on the continent of Africa?

This post is a jump back to our time in Langano

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Hippo tracks the size of dinner plates fresh on the beach. Which increased my desire to see one of these lumbering creatures out of the water. 

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Fresh tracks and reports that they came out on our beach every night made it so tempting to stay out all night.

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Waiting and watching

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The girls were more interested in climbing off the dock

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They went in but I waited,until the cold, darkness and thoughts of impending death by hippo drove me into the warmth of our home. 

 Langano is like living in a zoo, amazing wildlife all around. Except for the cages.  There is nothing separating humans from the animals. 

A few of the animals that we did get to see (the ones slow enough for cameras):

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The crazy colobus

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Hornbills are one of my favorite birds. There wings make such a loud whizzing noise.

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Weaver birds’ nests

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Trees full of them

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A herd of camels watering by the lake

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Camels wandering along the road

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I don’t know what this is called, amazing.

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runaway horses

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Nature hikes whispering to not scare the warthogs and dik-diks.

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A variation in me carrying a girl. 

We moved on from Langano to a conference were there were cute but obnoxious monkeys. I thought the cute outweighed their orneriness UNTIL…

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J and A snuck up on one (which I must say took some skill!). The monkey attacked J and broke her skin in 17 places on her arm.  Now we are doing a two set shot of rabies boosters. 

 We traveled to Injibara Tuesday, so Jon gave her second rabies booster on Wednesday. Now that’s a little too close and personal.