Today was our last day in Addis Ababa. I packed up all of my stuff and left in in Jane’s and Sue’s room. We had a relaxing breakfast. Then Ayu picked up Sue and me. First he took us back to the shop where we stopped yesterday (I forgot to write about it because I didn’t buy anything there yesterday) and I purchased a large map of Ethiopia.
Our plan was to go to the Kechene neighborhood to visit with the Rabbi at Bet Selam Synagogue and to see the Jewish weavers and potters from the area. Ayu called the Rabbi again and found out that he thought we were coming on the 21st. But we thought we would try anyway. He drove us to the building where he thought the synagogue might have been.
The people around the building told us that nobody was there. Today was a Sunday. Ayu had a conversation with a man who insisted that we could not see anybody. We were very disappointed.
I read articles about this Jewish community in Addis Ababa and the potters and weavers who are a part of this community before we came to Ethiopia. I was really hoping to at least see where the potters and weavers work. This is a link to one of the articles I read. https://kulanu.org/communities/ethiopia/secret-jewish-communities/
Ayu put so much effort into this experience in the Kechene neighborhood and we were very disappointed that it didn’t happen.
The Kechene neighborhood is very close to where Ayu’s family lives so Ayu took Sue and me to meet his Mom. What an absolute treat. We met some of his nieces, nephews, and in-laws.
His mom served treats
and made coffee for us.
We asked Ayu if he had brought any other tourists to his home and he said, “No.” We were the first. It may have been because we were already driving to a place that was close to his home.
When we were driving through Addis Ababa we noticed that there were some people who were still celebrating Timket. One of the streets was block off because it was filled with people. Ayu explained that they were from one of the Churches of St. Michael. This day was a celebration of St. Michael so wherever there is a Church of St. Michael in Ethiopia, they keep the arc at the celebration for 2 days instead of one day. These people were returning the Arc to the church.
Ayu dropped Sue and I off at the hotel and took Leigh to the airport She had to fly back to Nairobi where she had been before coming to Ethiopia.
Sue, Jane, and relaxed in the lobby of the Jupiter. We took a short walk exploring the local grocery store and looking for a pharmacy (which we didn’t find) to purchase more cough medicine. Jane noticed this sign.
It sure looks like the Starbucks logo. The strange part is that every Ethiopian we met makes Ethiopian coffee at home.
When Ayu returned, he drove Sue and I to a pharmacy and to buy Ethiopian roasted coffee beans to bring home as gifts for our children.
Ayu marked my new with the approximate route of our 24 day drive. He said there were several side roads that were not on the map. Taking the time to carefully mark the map is just another example of the extraordinary care he gave to us.
Sue, Jane, Ayu, and I had dinner together in the restaurant at the Jupiter Hotel. We were glad to have more time to visit with Ayu before it was time to actually leave.
We left for the airport for our 10:30 flight (Addis to Dublin to Chicago). Again, the Ethiopian Airlines paid absolutely no attention to the size or weight of our luggage. We were happy that weather in Chicago was better than 2 days ago when they cancelled over 1000 flights.
Leigh’s flight was delayed for over 3 hours in Amsterdam so we actually all arrived in Portland at about the same time.
It took almost a week to get my brain back onto Pacific Time Zone.
Ethiopia has been an amazing adventure that exceeded my expectations. The long drives, rough roads, and days of breathing dust were more than we expected but it was all worth it. We are both privileged to have the means to travel and lucky that we are still young enough to do this type of trip. Thank you to Vast Ethiopia Tours, Ayu, and the warm, welcoming, smiling Ethiopian people.