Sign reads "Welcome to Wolita" The "Welcome to Sodo" sign was a blur
The highlight of our time in Ethiopia was the trip we took to Sodo. We were worried about bringing the boys- we had heard it was a long and rough trip. We knew they had made the trip already once in their short lives...so we left that in God's hands- we decided if it happened and everything fell into place then we would continue- sort of how we have gone through this whole process a lot of faith and trust and baby steps- We asked so many people what they thought an the general consensus among Americans was 'why would you do that?" but the general feeling among Ethiopian's was that we should go, the boys will want to know where they came from and the best way for us to tell them a little bit about it is to go ourselves. I remember one person in Ethiopia saying, "You must go...you need to do it for them." We heard how the children really love to travel in cars and travel really well...and this was so much in God's hands that we did not even call about a driver until Friday afternoon- and we planned on leaving Saturday morning! On top of that I was coming down with some stomach thing...Mark started calling drivers and spoke with several men and compared prices with what they could and could not offer and we ended up with the most amazing man. I went to bed around 5:00 and told Mark I was 'just taking a nap"- famous last words as was down for the count- he had to prepare dinner and care for both kids that evening without me- but I needed that time so I could get up early and prepare for our Departure time of 8:00AM. We knew it was about 6 hours to Sodo.
We got up and packed- we had so much stuff it was pretty funny! the Guest house staff all sent us off with prayer and well wishes- they knew our objective and felt it was a good one...to learn more about where our boys came from.
We started around 8:30am and it was a warm and beautiful Saturday morning- the first part of the trip was winding through and out of Addis - there is only one road out of Addis to the south- so anyone heading anywhere in Ethiopia- or Africa for that matter to the south leaves Addis the same way we did. Our Driver pointed out things to us like the place where the Dutch grow their flowers, the organic strawberry farms, the old Army training camp, the prison, and more Dutch flower farms - the next time you buy those Tulips from your kids school sale- they may be coming from just south of Addis!
It was a great drive- it started out fairly brown and dry...a lot of cactus - they use the cactus like fences. And many of the tukul homes. We had lunch in Shashimene and our driver pointed out where "the Americans" lives- which is where the Rastafarians have a compound. For lunch we ate some traditional Ethiopian food- injera and Tibs- Since my belly was still achy I had potatoes. Maren loved it.
We were getting excited as we came to the crossroads where you head west towards Wolaita. This was where so much of the landscape began to change- we saw many large lakes- its amazing how much water there is in Ethiopia- but its not used very effectively. There is this one high point where you can look out and see 5 lakes in one view- its amazing really.
Here it becomes greener, lusher, and hillier. There are mountains and areas of erosion leaving this red clay like dirt in these amazing patterns. It looks man made but it is just from the rains. Along the road you see many children walking, sleeping, playing but mostly working. Many children herding animals- mostly without shoes on the rocky earth. Children gathering water in large jugs which look as if they would be too heavy for me even- if they were full. Bathing, toileting and drinking from the same muddy streams.
As you drive you come across places where they are selling different crops- the first one I remember was corn. they would roast the corn on the side of the road and then sell it to drivers- you could also by fresh unroasted corn. Mark and I love roasting corn when we are camping- so this was tempting.
The it was bananas- the small sweet Kenya bananas and the large fibrous Ethiopian Bananas- the same ones you read about that they cook underground to make food that is like a fermented paste - these bananas coked this way can last 20 years...aged like fine wine!
This bunch of Kenyan bananas cost 3 birr.
Every time you stopped the car there were these kids who would appear at your window- no matter where you were- and they wanted money or food- so while the driver was trying to bargain down the price of the large Ethiopian Bananas I was sneaking out the small bananas to the little boys on my side of the car- I would give them a banana and then I would say "Shhhhh!" so they wouldn't tell the driver I was giving away the bananas- so they would eat them so fast!
This is Maren- he ate so many bananas- it was like if we were here in America and stopped at a 7-11 and got snacks but here we snacked an a huge bunch of Kenyan bananas.
I will continue the details of this trip...but here are some photos of Sodo to whet your appetite...These are the main streets of Sodo and the photo of the large crowd is the market- it was HUGE...it was Saturday- Market day and I was just amazed that there we so many people living in this small and extremely poor corner of the world.
We took this because Yabsera is our baby boys name it means "Work of God" or more literally "Work of the Father" Aba meaning "father"
This little boy has a chicken in his hands- he kind of follwoed us but was a bit scared- I offered him a pen and at first he kind of wlked away- but then when he saw other kids taking pens he came back to get one. I guessed he was coming from the Market with a chicken for his family. And the other boy is brining home something else to eat (on his head).
See the large number of people in the distance? This is the Market- it was amazing to see so many people there.