Lalibela passed like a dream. We had a free day there and some of us climbed to the top of a plateau to visit rough rock hewn monasteries high above the town. The view over Lalibela was spectacular, the mountainous terrain faded into the distance as we watched the constant parade of hill-top dwellers making their way down the mountain. The children were especially entertaining as they slide down the loose gravel path the same way Canadian children slide down ice and snow in the winter - having fun, and flying fast. A few members of the group stayed in town to relax and read in the shade, taking in the sights from a beautiful traditional tukul/coffee house.
In the evening we had a great meeting with leading members of the Lalibela community, including representatives from education, health, agriculture, tourism and the mayor. Our host served up a delicious meal and we had a full hour's discussion about the issues facing Ethiopia in the future. Our guests answered all our questions, and were very clear in their message to us. They are under resourced, and very keen to acquire the training to build the kind of future they want for their children - improved health and education etc. They welcome foreign expertise to do it on their terms. Seems like every day we are faced with another opportunity to see how hard Ethiopians are working for a better future...
Humility. Integrity. Commitment - three small and inadequate words to describe the CODE Ethiopia staff. Add to that the boundless sense of hope that emanates from the group and their facility. I am humbled and somewhat ashamed at what little I have given back in comparison. Simultaneously, I feel empowered to do more.
- Adele Kaminski