Sunday, March 6, 2016

-our hearts home. Ethiopia//2016. Last day. Connected in Hope. Salems. Carry 117.-

Our last day was a full day. From one side of the city to the other, we visited many wonderful ministries! Our 1st stop was at Connected In Hope's always such a joy to see the children, visit the excellent staff & this time, it was good to show our friends around & introduce them to a ministry we love so much. Connected in Hope, whether you are visiting the preschool, the guesthouse, leather studio or just stop by for a quick immediately have this feeling of how well it's operated, loved & nourished. And, its not  just a feeling. It's a fact. I'd encourage you to stop in next time you're in'll be so glad you did!!

Next, we stopped for a bite to eat at Lucy's!! Always a favorite of ours:) The atmosphere is fun, food is tasty & I love sitting under a thatched roof in the sun!!
Next up, we thought we'd try to find a shop called Salem's near Bole. I had saved a picture of the map on my phone, otherwise we would've been out of luck...take a left at a church, the next right, go down alley to discover this hidden little gem. And, it was a gem. A pretty compound in a nice area of Addis. It had lovely blankets, woven baskets, wall hangings, scarves, name it, a little bit of everything!! I would've loved to bring home a large woven basket!! They were beautiful!!! Much dreaming happening in my I'd love to combine a few of my favorite things from each of these shops to a street/website near you!! So, pray with me about this dream, k?!! Thanks!!
We had a couple of hours before we were able to visit Carry 117, so we headed over to Kaldis for some coffee & sunshine...we knew we were heading back to the cold, so we wanted to enjoy it as long as we could!! We visited for a bit & waited for Henok to arrive...Henok is the founder of Carry 117..we were so glad Yilkal introduced us to him & his ministry!!
Carry 117 provides dignity by empowering at-risk individuals in Korah with a sustainable job that allows them to provide for their family.

It was a privilege to visit with him, learn more about Carry 117 & visit the women in their working space!!

We then went to the guesthouse that Henok runs, where he also sells product that these women make...canvas & burlap backpacks, toiletry bags, cross body bags, wallets...all handmade by these women!! Grant bought a backpack that he has proudly been wearing!! I love purchasing products with stories!! After we shopped, we headed back to the guesthouse to visit, spend the rest of our day with Tsige & staff, a delicious coffee ceremony was prepared, & then dinner. Our flight would leave at 2 am, so we visited our night away until it was time to leave. Yilkal picked us up shortly after 11 & we headed for the airport. Too short of time to be in this place, but long enough to be away from the rest of our family. Always so much to ponder & process. Leaving Ethiopia is never easy, but we will return!! 

                                                        our friend Aya:)
xo Kristen

Thursday, March 3, 2016

-our hearts home. Ethiopia//2016. Tuesday. 16th. -

So thankful for Gods protection..the morning started out beautifully, as we looked out over the lake, a mix of haze & the sun peeking its way through. After a full nights sleep & warm showers...we were ready for breakfast! The plan was to meet Yilkal at the van around 8, so we could continue our journey a couple more hours south to a small town called Shanto. Alicia & family have a sponsor son, Biniam who we were going to visit at his school! Shortly after eating breakfast, standing outside by the van, Yilkal told us he had heard about some tribal unrest just south of us, which is on the way to Shanto. We listened, & he made a few more calls. Again, another time when knowing & understanding amharic would've been so beneficial! We were thankful to be with trusted friends like Yilkal & Tsige & knew they would not proceed if they felt there were danger. Once the FOVC staff arrived that would've been traveling south with us, they all exchanged communication & all felt it was in our best interest to not travel further. Disappointed, bummed, saddened yet grateful. We all felt peace in knowing that we needed to leave & travel back to Addis & we are sure glad we did. Along the way, there were about 6 different military/security checkpoints..When we made a lunch stop in Ziway, which is about halfway between Addis & Hawassa, we found out the roads we had been on were closed down. Thankful that we made it back to Addis without any problems! Since we arrived back in Addis earlier than originally planned, I thought a drive out to Bethel Pottery would be a refreshing way to end this day. Who wouldn't want to be surrounded by eucalyptus trees, peaceful noises, fresh air & the most precious women that make the yummiest coffee!! And, they also sell beautiful pieces of pottery, textiles..and you can meander through these trees, little cottages, dirt paths all day long if you wish. For me, it feels like a most beautiful & tranquil oasis & if you've spent any time in Addis, you know how refreshing this can be! As we headed back into Addis, the most beautiful sunset was before us & it felt so good to be back! Back at the guesthouse, dinner was prepared, we visited for a bit & I think we called it a night!!

                                            the cutest & most creative bird nest I've seen:)
                                                        Thomas & Grant! We met Thomas a couple of years ago & spent               time with him at Jemo, so it was good to see him again:)
                                        our group with Mebratu & Thomas, the fearless FOVC leaders!!

                                                             Bethel Pottery!!

                                              Always captured by these gorgeous sunsets!!
xo Kristen

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

-our hearts home. Ethiopia//2016. Monday. 15th. countryside & Hawassa.-

We headed out this morning for Hawassa!! What a lovely drive through the countryside! The route that we drove on our last trip down south was much bumpier...this year, the new freeway has opened, which meant we were in for a much more peaceful ride:) Not to fool you, there are still a few bumps, pits & closed roads to make our way around, but overall it was so very nice!! It is such a joy to open the van windows, the ethiopian air blowing on our faces, taking it all in...the people, animals, smells, beautiful's truly such a wonderful experience that I never grow tired of. On our drive, after we passed the 1st herd of camels, I remember glancing at Grant & saying..."buddy, isn't this amazing..who would've thought we'd ever be in Ethiopia...Africa, driving through this beautiful, vast countryside..seriously, do you know what a privilege this is..I mean, not many adults have this experience, let alone a 13 year old boy!" I didn't say that to make him feel he owed me or anyone else anything...truly just want him to know what a blessing this is & always good to praise Him for these blessings, that we sometimes take for granted. I'm so in awe of this land, these people, the surroundings, but even more in awe of our Creator!! I pray you would all be able to experience it one day!! If you ever have the itch, just let me know, I'd be happy to introduce you to Ethiopia!! We arrived in Hawassa around 2 pm, just in time for lunch by the lake, Lake Awassa!! With monkeys jumping above our heads, very american music playing on repeat in the background & our beautiful view, we were in for a great day!! After lunch, we headed out on a boat to try & find the hippos! No such luck this time around, but we did see much activity...people were out bathing, swimming, fishing, washing their was a bustling, warm, beautiful day at the lake for all!! After the boat ride, we headed up for coffee, kids swam a bit & then dinner at sunset by the lake:) It was a beautiful day with great friends!! So much to be thankful for!!

                                         This is Tsiges worried look...the monkeys made her uneasy:(

                                           a mama & her babe.

xo Kristen