First Impressions of Ethiopia

by Mary, Children at Risk DTS student

Addis Adaba, Ethiopia -- YWAM Madison DTS outreach

Addis Adaba, Ethiopia -- YWAM Madison DTS outreach. Photo by Flickr member Travlr.

The first thing that I noticed after disembarking into Ethiopia was the dust. Everything looked clean, I could tell dust hung in the air. It was 2AM,  so I knew nothing of the landscape. Was there grass? Trees? Was it lush or dry?

The second thing I noticed as we drove over a bridge was the city lights. Spreading out before us on either side as far as I could see, this city was beautiful.

I've now seen Addis Ababa, the capitol city of Ethiopia, in the light of day. There are trees in many places, and within the safety of courtyards there are potted plants and bushes. Sometimes I find a patch of yellowed grass. Most of the ground I see is either cement, tile, or hard and compacted dirt. The air is dry, and there surely is dust. The streets appear mostly clean.

The YWAM staff here have welcomed us and taught us a little about the culture, too. Upon greeting someone here, you say “Salem” or “hi”, then shake hands. Most of the time, when you shake hands, you also touch shoulders. This is an interesting maneuver, that took a few times to get used to. You shake with your right hand, turn your shoulders out a little, then lean forward and touch your right shoulder to the other person's right shoulder. Sometimes you also clasp their shoulder with your left hand.

Learning this culture will be an exciting adventure. There will be many things that feel familiar, and many things that are completely foreign. Mostly though, this is a culture that is made up of people created by God. Individuals that we will come to know, and people that we hope to show God's love to.