Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mountain Life

Our team at the top of our hike to Fana Falls.

Jan 16

Observations of the Day:

-our tukol smelled really funky after we got back from the hike

-breakfast is delicious, but lunch (always Ethiopian food) is even better, especially after a long hike!

-my legs are very tired

-after the first leg of the hike, my breathing was hardly affected

- I miss Joe and candy almost equally :)

The hike today was a real accomplishment for our team as a whole-- not to mention it was unrealistically beautiful. As I sat and looked out into the mountains, I felt as though I had been plopped into a movie set. It seemed so unreal. The hike presented challenges, leaps of faith (quite literally), and beautiful views. I feel like "beautiful" is such an inadequate adjective. The people that we saw in the mountains were also very beautiful. Their smiles made me smile. They were just as curious of us as we were of them. I also saw two of my students in the mountains, near their homes. It was really cool to be able to see a familiar face up there and to see where our students are coming from. One of our students was caught totally off guard and wouldn't even approach us as I reached out to shake his hand. I bet I would have been overwhelmed, too.

I think one thing the hike further confirmed for me is that the Ethiopian culture is so different. I just keep realizing that through different experiences. The mountains are amazingly, breathtakingly beautiful; also the trails are really difficult to walk and navigate, but it is everyday life for those who live there. I wonder if they realize that the world is not as beautiful as their community on the mountain. I bet is they came to the US they would be overwhelmed by how different our culture is as well. The Ethiopians do not have the farming and agricultural tools and technology that the US has, but if they did, they wouldn't be living the life they are. Their resources on the mountain would probably be destroyed because the amount of land upon which they farm is not proportional to the speed of the farming tools and machines.

Even though I would say that I feel much more comfortable in the Ethiopian culture and living here, I still feel as thought I am a fish out of water. I wonder how I would feel if I were a long-term volunteer-- would I be able to assimilate or would I always be really disconnected from the culture because my experience as an American would cultivate that? I'm guessing it would be a little of both. Coming into this trip I thought it would be easier for me to adapt than it has been.

It could also be because I came in knowing this would be a short time here, and it could also be bcasue I spend most of my time with Americans on this trip. I would love to come here and experience teaching at Project Mercy. Maybe God will lead me here...? Exabier owkal (God knows).

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