Day 3: Part 1- Tour of Addis Ababa

Day three began with our tour. We had contacted a man named Solomon (recommended by Johnny and Amy). We met him early in the morning, and we were filled with excitement about seeing the city. After waiting for nearly a year, we were now only hours from meeting Landon for the first time, but that still felt much too long to wait. The tour was the perfect way to pass the time. We ended up making memories that will last a lifetime. The plan was to take in as much as we can to share with Landon as he grows.

The tour started at our hotel, and our first stop was at the African Union. This is the location where all African countries meet. We got to take a few pictures, but it was by permission only (we discovered some locations are always forbidden off limits). The next stop was the largest church in Addis (over 500 years old too), and we got a guided tour in the midst of their Sunday service. When I say it was packed, I mean there were literally thousands of people. They all were wearing their traditional white clothe wrap and were crowded around the entire church building. Many people were kissing the building and leaning against walls and trees to participate in the worship and responsive readings. The building was beautiful with ornate architecture around the entire structure and the stain-glass windows all featured a scene from the ministry of Jesus. Our mini tour took us up a back staircase where we had a view overlooking the entire congregation. From there we headed over to the Ethiopian Museum. Before it opened, we hung out at an attached outdoor cafe. We hired a guide for museum, and he filled us with thousands of facts about the rich history of Ethiopia. The tour was three entire floors and a basement. The best part was learning about the kings that once ruled Ethiopia.

Take some time to view some pictures. Continue below for the rest of the tour.

After the museum, we went to a market and purchased a traditional Ethiopian outfit for Landon's first birthday. Then from the market we made a straight shot to a traditional Ethiopian restaurant, but then we quickly realized we were too excited to eat. When we finished the meal it didn't look like we had eaten anything. Solomon couldn't help us much either because he was fasting from meat. We ended up giving the leftover food to one of Solomon's neighbors. The funny part was watching the left over food be wrapped up by the waitress' hands and thrown into a plastic bag. From there, Solomon welcomed us to his home for a traditional coffee ceremony (this was the highlight of the day for me - Ian). Solomon's home was very quaint (2 rooms- each about 4'x 8'). The front room was their living room, and the back room was the bedroom shared by all four family members. It was humbling when Solomon kept saying, "How blessed," he was. The coffee ceremony lasted about 45 minutes, and started with popcorn being popped and the coffee beans being roasted from their raw green state. Solomon allowed all of us to take a turn grinding the beans after they turned from green to black over the simmering coal fired oven. The coffee was poured out into very small china cups, but it surpassed any coffee any of us had ever tasted. Amy said she would fly back just for a cup (only if she could fly Emirates again).
We were almost late to get back to the hotel to meet the director of Hannah's Hope. We pulled up just as Almaz was being dropped off. Next was a bunch of paper work and information that was very important, but all we seemed to care about was going to get our children. We just wanted to get to Hannah's Hope. I am not sure we were listening. I felt like one of my students when I am teaching.

Here is the contact information for Solomon. Please call and use his services. He often works exclusively around The Riviera Hotel.
Solomon Michael. Mobile: 251-0911-37-45-35 or 251-0912-06-25-77.

The next part is even better...... Landon here we come!

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