Tag Archives: coffee

Journey to Lake Tana

Once again we departed early because we had many miles to journey to enter into the mystery of Lalibela where the ancient rites and rituals of early Christianity are frozen in time.

We travelled traveled through roadside villages that like yesterday were thronged with people but with a difference. Today everyone was hard at work. Yesterday everyone was at rest and delighting in each other’s company. My guide Alex said Sunday is a holiday and everyone goes to church then enjoys coffee with one another and walks from village to village to visit. Such an experience to me as an American is so foreign. Sunday has become like every other day with stores open, school athletic events and such activities taking precedence over Sunday as a day of rest and worship. It is refreshing to be immersed in a Christian culture that values the Day of the Lord.

And people work and work hard as seen from these photos.
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And Monday morning is the day to do laundry.
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The terrain this time of year appears to dry, dusty and brown and indeed it is after harvest.

However in the fall it will be lush green with carpets of a yellow flower called Meskel daisies named after Meskel, the Solemnity of the Finding of the Holy Cross which is a major festival for Ethiopian Christians.

I was also surprised by all the construction of new churches along the way they are being built in the traditional style of circular churches just like the traditional domestic architecture with wood and grass roofs.

And along the way are places where you can get holy water blessed by the local priest.

We stopped by a Monday market along the way as well. EthiopiaDay5-13


EthiopiaDay5-12And then we had a coffee break. Not exactly Starbucks or Panera however the Ethiopian coffee is even better.

Our Ethiopian barrista has great poise and she pours.

The table is prepared for coffee accompanied by the fragrance of local incense.

Alex is my guide with whom I feel a close bond because his uncle, recently deceased, was a priest at the Church of Saint Michael at Lalibela.

When we arrived at the hotel it was late afternoon so I had lunch before we went out again. The hotel is set on beautiful grounds and the rooms are little cottages modelled after the traditional round wooden homes with grass roofs in the countryside.

While having lunch, i was surronded by the constant chirping of birds. Then the midday prayers from the church began to fill the air. Nature and the human person were united in one chorus of praise.

Off once again to the market which is huge and a bit daunting in that ond could easily get lost. Alex led the way. The Ethiopians are resourceful in that everything is recycled.

Old tires are recycled into sandals.

All garlic

Spices that make lenten fasting so delightful.

This evening concluded with a wonderful view of the Blue Nile which flows from Lake Tana. Not only is the view stunning, it is also heart-wrenching for me as well. Mohammed’s daughter and successor were given political asylum by the Christian kingdom of Ethiopia were they were persecuted. Then in the early 16th century Manfuz declares jihad on Christian Ethiopia and this jihad was the most costly in her history to preserve her freedom. The Portuguese came to help but were unable to reinforce the Ethiopian troops to resist the jihad. When I stood and looked down on Lake Tana I called to mind that the battle where they were decimated by the Muslims occurred here. One year later in 1543 the Christian emperor of Ethiopia joined ranks with the remaining Portuguese and pushed back the Muslim aggression and thus safeguarded the freedom of his people. Today it is all so peaceful however that battle was decisive.

To gaze at the lake at a distance and reflect on a decisive moment in history is important to me. To gaze at Lake Tana summons within my soul gratitude for the exceptional courage of the Ethiopians to safeguard their freedom when threatened by aggression. My thoughts then turned to Abuna Petros who summoned his people to resist Italian fascism even to the point of giving his life. He was truly an man of exceptional courage to resist a fascist ideology that degrades humanity. Such exceptionalism is a sign of God’s providence.