We left Addis Ababa and headed north to Lalibela - a patchwork quilt of every possible shade of green warmed the earth as we looked out the plane’s small windows. Here we will visit 11 famous churches hewn out of solid red volcanic rock, an area recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO since 1978.
The small isolated village of Lalibela is different from the busy streets of Addis Ababa, and we’re all adjusting to the new, and often difficult, sights that dot this landscape.
- Ann Speak, Director of Fundraising, CODE
We flew over such fertile land and saw endless green fields and agriculture on every bit of flat land or mountain terrace. At this time of year it is hard to fathom that famines exist and is so catastrophic in Ethiopia. The churches in Lalibela certainly are one of the wonders of the world and one cannot help but wonder about the changes to peoples' lives here as the attraction becomes more and more of a tourist destination. It certainly will not be all positive.
- John Casey, trip participant
Tough day today. In spite of the breathtaking scenery, I am troubled to the depth of my being. In tears off and on all day - children with no t-shirts exhibiting unmistakable burn scars on their chest, infants with eye infections smiling at us with the most beautiful smiles possible. Families living in huts smaller than our hotel room and just below our balcony. What have we done to these people by coming here as ferengi? What have our demands and expectorations as tourist/travelers done to their lives, their culture their language their religion?
-Adele Kamiski, trip participant
So much of what I've already experienced about Africa has been reinforced in this trip. What will be lost as Africa joins the global economy? How can it not be the victim of opportunity? What will its stages/path to change lives? It will not be like the west.
- Marlene Asselin, trip participant