Finding myself at the domestic flights terminal of the Bole International Airport, I am reminded of — and humbled by — the many gifts of travel.
Our team of eight is off to Jimma, Ethiopia. Then we went bump, bump, bump, in a truck all the way to Tum, our jumping-off point for Maji, Ethiopia. We are returning with two team members who grew up here, returning to the roots of why Ethiopia Reads was founded. The organization was co-founded acclaimed children’s book author, Jane Kurtz. The little girl of missionary parents, Jane grew up in Maji, Ethiopia, was raised by a mother who loved to read and raised children who love to read.
We spend the night in Bonga, near Kafffa, birthplace of coffee. A lovely drive through lush (or in Amharic, “lum lum”) scenery. I’m itching to paint by now. But due to our late arrival, I’ll have to settle for photos. My team member and friend Troy Zaushny and I head off on foot to follow the sun. There are places whose beauty exceed one’s ability for words, and this place is one such place.
It is a magical experience, with the sun was setting over a magical and lush rolling landscape. The already exquisite vista is made even more beautiful by the setting sun.
As often happens in rural Ethiopia, the presence of foreigners soon attracts a group, and the sweet children follow us on our photo-taking adventure. They giggle with increasing animation as we walk along, holding hands, following the beauty of the setting sun.
That is the magic of Ethiopia: the people, the beauty, the simple pleasures. It leaves me longing to pull out my paints. And a plan is made for the four painters to do just that in the morning. Until tomorrow, I’ll lay my head down with the sweet memories of the day.