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Published: June 13th 2013
We apologize for the lack of inspiration in the upcoming words and I fear that our Ethiopian experience has suffered for our want to be home. Our inspiration has also suffered from seeing how the animals are treated in the rural areas of this large and densely populated country. This often unnecessarily harsh treatment of life, has my empathetic heart hastily retreating for safety. The people certainly don't have it easy, but sometimes we saw the animals bear the often brutal brunt of the frustration and helplessness the people here must be feeling.
Our 4 day trek through Simien Mountain National Park was also disappointing on a few fronts. As our trek started, it became painfully obvious, for both the people trying to eke a living and the natural environment/wildlife, that despite being a critically endangered habitat for many species found nowhere else in the world, 80% of the park is under human use. See aforementioned comment on the treatment of working animals, and we have a recipe for not a particularly enjoyable hike, although there were glimmers of beauty and our guides were fun. We gave away our lunches each day, any extra clothing we had with us, and
gave $10 (a small fortune) to a woman so she could take her baby boy to the hospital for treatment of a terrible eye infection (http://gondareyesite.com/eye_disease_ethiopia.htm
To top it all off, I developed a delirious fever on day 2 and we were stuck in one spot for 2 more nights until someone could come pick us up! For those of you who might not be familiar with my history of delirious fever, which has now occurred 4 times in my life, picture 3 hours in a tent with Liz singing, laughing, trying to escape the tent, and dancing in her sleeping bag. Oh yes, and talking to my finger. I don't remember much, but Steve said it was simultaneously hilarious and quite concerning (our fault that we had no medication with us, and were 2 days from a doctor). All's well that ends well, as I slept for most of the two days and seem none the worse now that we're back in town. well....maybe that's a matter of opinion :P
The upsides of our trip here have been some strikingly ancient and impressive cultural history (see the pictures of Lalibela churches), and we saw Lucy! Like, the
the entire town of Lalibela was built to imitate Jerusalem, almost a 1000 years ago. It is the 2nd holiest place in Ethiopia, and the site of an annual Christmas pilgrimage. During the pilgrimage, thousands upon thousands of people arrive here.
Lucy. Her 3.2 million year old fossils were right there for us to see. We read that we could only see a replica, but turns out there is a special exhibit on right now and she is on display for this month only. She was/is 3 feet tall and fully grown when she died. Between seeing Mrs.Ples, Taung child and the current excavation site of Little Foot in Sterkfontein Caves in South Africa (aka Cradle of Humankind), and seeing the real Lucy in Addis Ababa National Museum - we are humbled and feeling evolutionarily unfit to be in the presence of such things.
We happily fly home tonight and with any luck should be home by mid afternoon Friday June 14. As always, we are deeply grateful for all of you in our lives and thank you for joining us on our journey to Africa. We will still post a few videos when we are back in Canada, but by and large, we are saying goodbye now in blog-land and hopefully saying hello to many of you in real-life very soon. Keep your eyes out for an Africa get together soon to be planned, that will include
yummy food and a short slide show. Everything will be kid friendly and we promise to take a bath before seeing anyone. In fact, our first day back has already been fully dedicated to bathing and personal grooming. My pores are opening just thinking about it.....
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