We left at 9:00 and headed to Wolleka Village. We stopped at the Plowshare Training Center for Women. It was created about 12 years ago and since then they have trained over 2100 women to do pottery and weave. Many of the women who have been trained here have been victims of fistulas. Sue is a potter. They gave her some clay and she created a bowl on the wheel.
We watched a woman weaving.
Sue explained to us that woman was scrapping the hard clay on a stone and grinding it. Then she would add water to the powder so it could be used.
This woman was creating a bowl.
I purchased a small trivet to remember this place.
Then we went into the Walleka Village. It was once the village of the Beta Israel (literally “house of Israel” in Geez) who were Jews who lived in Ethiopia for centuries. These were the people who refused to convert to Christianity during the rule of Abreha and Atsbeha who were the monarchs of the Kingdom of Aksum. The Jews do not live here anymore. Most left for Israel in the 1970s. The people who showed us around were all Ethiopian Christians. I was a ig disappointed because I thought we were going to see the Beta Israel.
There is a stone which has words I cannot read.
Here is the synagogue.
The place where the Torah used to be kept has been covered-up.
These are some of the houses.
The people who are at the village now sell things.
Then we continued to drive through several villages. We went through Amba Georges and Debark, which has a University. I took photos from the jeep window.
We stopped at the office of Simien National Park where we all had to sign the register. Then we had lunch. Since we finished our lunch quickly so we took a short walk down the street until Ayu was ready. Walking on the sidewalks was not easy because the pavement is broken and uneven.
We picked u our guide and a park ranger and all crammed into the jeep for the rough gravel road drive to the park. It is a requirement all visitors to the park have an armed ranger with them.
Simien Mountains National Park has rugged terrain, which include escarpments, deep valleys, and a high plateau. It was established in 1969 after Clive Nicol wrote about his experiences in From the Roof of Africa. UNESCO made Simien NP a World Heritage Site in 1978. However, due to serious population declines of some of its characteristic native species, in 1966 it was also added to the list of World Heritage in Danger.
We checked into our cabins at the Simien Lodge, which is known as the highest elevation lodge in Africa.
Jane, Sue, our guide, and I went on a hike in the park with both our guide and the park ranger. We asked the guide if the ranger carried a gun because of animals. He told us that there were no dangerous animals. Apparently when the NP was first opened, there may have been vandals around the park. It is safe now but requiring the rangers help to employ people.
The guide pointed out various trees and plants – none of which I remember. There were beautiful views.
We came to a field that was full of Baboons. It sure was fun to walk among them. The ranger said we could get within a meter of them but just not to touch them. Of course we weren’t going to touch them..
The guide noticed that Sue, Jane, and I were moving pretty slowly because we weren’t used to the elevation so he led us on the shorter version of the hike.
Ayu picked us up and we returned to the lodge. I was very happy to have enough Wi-Fi to finally work on my blog in the lobby.
The Simien Lodge is a beautiful place.
A man who I assume was the manager gave me (and Leigh) the password to his Wifi that made it easier to upload the photos if I sat in the restaurant. It got pretty cold outside. They built fires both in the restaurant area and in the bar area.
After dinner there were people who played music and showed us Ethiopian dancing.
When I was on my way to the bar area to see the Ethiopian dance performance, the same man who helped us with the Wifi gave hot water bag to me so I would stay warm during the cold night.. He said it would be my boyfriend tonight. I told Jane and Sue about it when I went to the bar area. The hot water bag also actually kept me warm as I walked back to our cabin.
We wore long underwear and had extra blankets so I was pretty cozy with my hot water bag.
It was a very enjoyable day.