What a journey.
Seven flights later, we have just landed in Montreal. Looking out the plane’s window confirmed that we are home: it’s snowing heavily and everything is white. Back to reality.
Although I am physically home, my mind is still in Ethiopia. Read more
This is my first time writing a blog.
I am pretty excited.
So my name is Talia, and I am 19 years old, from the Israeli team.
So today is our eighth day of the trip. We got to Lalibela this morning, after a short flight, and a drive of 40 minutes.
The drive was stunning.
It was the sunrise and the morning glow that made the view that much more exciting.
The mountains were full with “lion king” trees-acacia and every once in a while we saw goats, cows, and people walking bare foot.
So far… I like Lalibela the most. The driver informed us that it is considered Ethiopia’s Jerusalem.
And when we said that we are from Israel the tour guide said that he is jealous.
He said that we are the chosen people, and can’t wait to visit Israel.
So… yes… we need to learn to appreciate what we have, and where we are from. Read more
Ça fait aujourd’hui 9 jours que nous avons quitté Montréal. Jusqu’à maintenant aucun jour ne s’est ressemblé. En effet, comme certains d’entre nous l’ont mentionné durant le souper, il est difficile de décider quel jour a été le meilleur, car chaque jour nous apporte une nouvelle vague d’émotions différentes.
Hier, nous avons passé la journée dans la ville de Lalibela. C’est une petite ville à 99% catholique qui est réputé à travers le monde pour ses églises creusées dans la pierre. Après 5 jours à Gondar, la petite ville de Lalibela nous a charmé et nous a donné le repos que nous avions besoin. Un feu de camp nous attendait après le souper avec de la musique typiquement éthiopienne suivi de la cérémonie du café. En effet, lorsque nous étions en train d’aider à construire l’école de la JDC à Gondar, le contracteur du chantier nous a expliqué que la cérémonie du café était quelque chose de sacré pour les Éthiopiens, car c’est l’occasion pour toute la famille de se réunir et de savourer le meilleur café au monde. Ceci m’a fait penser à Chabbat et à la chance que nous avons d’avoir l’occasion de passer 25 heures en famille au lieu de quelques minutes autour d’un café. Ce feu de camp sera à toujours gravé dans ma mémoire. En effet, plus l’ambiance augmentait, plus le feu devenait fort. Les flammes étaient très hautes et la chaleur du feu mélangée à celle de nos corps en mouvement devenait insupportable. Par contre, un sentiment de joie et de liberté nous envahissait et nous pousse a continue à célébrer. Nous étions entourés de montagne, le ciel était tellement clair que nous avons pu repérer deux planètes, nous avons observé les étoiles et nous avons regardé le lever de la lune. C’était une soirée mémorable qui sera très difficile d’oublier. Read more
So its late Sunday afternoon here in Gondar, Ethiopia. This is my first blog of the trip, so I’m going to be focusing on the first few days we spent in Gondar. I boarded the plane early morning from Addis Ababa to Gondar with no expectations in mind. How my time spent here could change a man’s perspective on life was an almost unfathomable concept to grasp.
Once we landed, we were split up into two groups. One would spend the first day constructing a school, the other deworming children, assisting in eye examinations, and distributing school supplies at a primary school in rural Gondar. I wound up at the primary school first. The drive to the school was, without question, an unforgettable experience. Looking out the window, poverty struck you in the face. I observed hundreds of citizens walking down endless roads, and questioned their motives. I observed the established houses and wondered how one could live like so. Thinking about their lifestyle left me with an anguished face. All I could think to myself was “where the hell am I.” But from that, I began to understand real poverty. Not through a textbook or a movie, but through the lens that formed my own reality. Once we arrived at the school, I helped an optometrist administer eye tests. After that was done, we got the opportunity to play with the kids. Read more
Sunday – Today we went to the village Ambover in jeeps. Ambover was the capital of the Jews near Gondar and had a famous Jewish community. We visited the Beit Knesset of the village and get to know the religious Beit Israel community. After that we went to the first project of the JDC to Ethiopia, a clinic in Teda village that the JDC opened in the 80′s and now is managed by the government without the JDC. Amazing!!! We ate lunch at a beer factory in Gondar and then we went to the Market for some shopping. We went to Guara hotel for dinner and came back to our hotel to an activity about our motivations in life to help others, which was held by the spirit team. We had a great day and we are very motivated! I am really excited for leaving tomorrow for Lailibella
I am sitting here and trying to explain what I had just experienced in our first days here in Addis Ababa and it’s really hard for me cause I felt in these days so many different feelings at the same time. but I will try to explain from the beginning. When we flew to Addis I had no expectations at all cause I was really afraid to be disappointed so I was just open to what ever I would see. We arrived to Addis early at morning and waited, as two people from the JDC came to get us… we went to our hotel and we were so tired. After we tried to rest a little bit, we went to the museum of Ethiopia, which is located in the university there. It’s was really interesting to see the history of the country and to learn a lot about there different cultures and omanot. Because it was a really spondaic today, we also went to the lion’s zoo. it is a zoo with a lot of lions but also with another types of animals like monkeys and Babies. We were amazed fro the size of the lions there and it was a great experience to us. For desert we went to the market and in the way to the market we saw a lot of views some of the cause me to be terrified and scared cause when you see little children sitting in the street or walking without shoes or normal clothes this makes you think about life how people can live in such a way and moreover how the “rich” people there can just no pay attention and to get used to this?!!! When I came back to the hotel to sleep I think about those that I just so sleeping outside…this day I felt overwhelmed but also good cause I knew that we are going to do it a better place… Read more
January 6th 2012
Today is our 4th day in Ethiopia. It’s hard to believe, but the time is flying fast!
We had one day in London January 2nd, where we had a great day (despite being exhausted from lack of sleep!). We started off by taking the tube to Buckingham Palace, and got there just in time to see the changing of the guards. Then we were off to Camden Lock Market, where we got to soak up some British street culture and do a bit of shopping before heading to Reuben’s for lunch (a kosher 5 star restaurant in central London). After that we were definitely too tired to do anything else, and headed back to the airport for the flight to Ethiopia.
We arrived in Addis Ababa, the country’s capital, and were brought to our hotel. We met the Israeli group and had breakfast together before having our first briefing with Manlio Dell’Ariccia, the JDC’s Country Director for Ethiopia, a charming Italian from Rome! Soon after, we had a briefing with Dr. Rick Hodes, JDC’s Medical Director in Ethiopia. After lunch, we had the opportunity to go visit the JDC’s in-transit house where they hold the Falasha Mura (descendants of the Beta Israel people of Ethiopia) for just a 24-hour period before they board their plane to Israel to make Aliyah. This experience was really the first of what will be several shocking and emotional experiences on this trip. These people have literally nothing. They are given clothing and new shoes, and some basic medical care before leaving for Israel. We met a little boy who was at the in-transit house, whose entire family was already in Israel. We also met a couple who were about 80 years old, and have been waiting over 10 years to make Aliyah. It was a touching and humbling experience. Read more
Shabat Shalom dear families
We are now during our preparations for Shabbat, and would like to share with you what we did today.
Our morning started with a breakfast-session that included a Jewish text study despite the early hour, the session included a deep discussion that aroused interest among all participants.
Our first stop was at the JDC clinic in Gondar that runs several medical programs for the felashmora. We had the opportunity to assist the staff in organizing patients (children and pregnant women) in their nutrition program and distribute medications and fun toys to the brave children.
We got back on the bus for some more dancing to Ethiopian music and taking in the view. Before we noticed it we were standing in front of the entrance of the school were hundreds of students welcomed us in their pink school-shirts (boys too) and smiles, together we walked to the yard. You can imagine that it took exactly two minutes until we were surrounded by thousands of students. Through a “speed dating” activity we had the opportunity to get to know the youth and help them practice their English.
Our last stop for the day before heading back to prepare for Shabbat was Wolleka Village where Beta Israel used to live. We visited the Jewish cemetery and the plaque that commemorates the thousands of Beta Israel who perished during their trek to Sudan in the late 70′s and 80′s. Some of the participants planed and perform a memorial service that ended with a KADISH and the TIKVA. It was overwhelming, exciting and emotional for us.
We both feel lucky and proud to be a part of this unique group of amazing friends.
We wish you all a great SHABATH.
Eli & Shanie