It’s 2pm on a Saturday afternoon, and I have mixed feelings about this weekend. On one hand, I feel homesick. Logging onto Facebook, I saw multiple posts from friends that are traveling to college graduations this weekend. The thought instantly made me nostalgic for graduation parties, barbecues, family gatherings, smiles, and group photographs. I’ve got less than a month left here in Kuwait, which I’m growing really sad about, but at the same time I cannot wait to return to green backyards and family dinners.
On the other hand, I feel really positive about a few things in Kuwait. I started my day off with Zumba at 10am; my friends Sharon and Nicole have the best Zumba classes in all of Kuwait! I average about 4 days a week of Zumba, and it really keeps me positive and active. When it’s 102 degrees outside (like right now), I try to avoid the sedentary air-conditioned life style as much as possible. We Zumba in the dance room at the school, so it’s really accessible and fun.
After Zumba we volunteered at the annual Worker’s Luncheon. As you know, it takes a lot of people to keep an institution like a school running. Teachers are only a small fraction of the people who create a positive learning environment for the students; from cleaning the bathrooms, to washing the tables, to replenishing the coveted tissue boxes, I never can thank the workers at our school enough. (Not to mention Linda, who brews coffee in the staff lounge every morning…) We so often take these things for granted, not saying thank you or not stopping to think about the time and effort these people put in. Every year our school hosts a luncheon for the workers of our school. We ordered Mughal Mahal – the best Indian food in Kuwait – and decorated the tables in the canteen. It was so fun to say thank you to the people who help keep our school such a safe, happy, and healthy place.
I have been trying to take pictures during the last month of our time here in Kuwait, but I need to finish up the Ethiopia trip with you first. This is the final post on Ethiopia, where we drove back to Addis Ababa and then explored the city.
On the way back to Addis, we stopped at a very special community called Awra Amba. Awra Amba is a community of 400 people in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. They believe that all men and woman are equal, thus they share labor equally. Men may cook and sew while women tend the cattle. Every child goes to school, and adults who are unable to read or write begin taking literacy classes. They even have a “home” for the elderly people of the community to go and be cared for. They have no religion, which is very unique in Ethiopia. Instead of a church, they have a large library, overflowing with books. They believe that all religions want people to do good things, which is what they do. They do believe in God, but belief God manifests him/herself through the good works of humans. The founder of the community, Zumra Nuru received an honorary doctorate from Addis Ababa University for his beliefs and the work he has done.
Watch this video for a great glimpse of live in Awra Amba: http://www.awraamba.com/
The beliefs of the people in Awra Amba, coined by Zurma Nuru.
The weaving building where both men and woman weave beautiful clothing and blankets for sale and personal use.
A man at the loom.
After we left Awra Amba, we drove back to Addis. I snapped this photo out the window of the van. Just a typical village in Ethiopia : )
As we drove through the Blue Nile Gorge, we spotted these monkeys! I had never seen this type of monkey before.
Our hotel in Addis Ababa, “Arequ” guesthouse, was very cute. The breakfast was fantastic, and all the rooms were really rustic. It didn’t feel like anywhere else we had stayed in Ethiopia at all! It was very relaxing.
Kyle and Abby’s massive plate of Beyaynetu. All four of us could probably have split it!
Lunch in a park in Addis Ababa.
Our last meal of beyaynetu before we head to the airport!
We stopped at Demiss’ favorite cafe, “Tomoko”, which specializes in Ethiopian coffee. We all had an espresso, and I bought a bunch of beans to bring home with me. It was the best coffee ever!
Hanging out with Demiss in Tomoko. I loved the coffee!
Look at all the old cars in Ethiopia!
Our final evening before we boarded the plane back to Kuwait was spent at “Garden Brau”. As much as we love Ethiopian culture, we couldn’t resist indulging in a few pints of homemade German-style beer before flying back to a dry country. They made all of their beer on site, and it was delicious! We had a really great time sitting and talking with Demiss, and reflecting on the perfection of our trip.
All right, now that I’ve fully posted about Ethiopia, I must say that Africa is in my blood. I desperately want to return. I loved so many things about it, that I would be so happy to live there for a little while. Abby and I have already found the Ethiopian restaurant in Kuwait, and eaten there five or six times since we’ve been back! I strongly encourage you to take any opportunity you may have to visit Ethiopia, or Africa for that matter. It will change your life.