Ever since we arrived in Addis Ababa, my eyes, ears and nose can’t enough of the spirit of Ethiopia. First, the traffic here is pretty insane. From what I can tell, there are no traffic laws. Our driver Tesfy, said that driving here is a “negotiation,” and Tesfy usually wins. If you are turning left, you go ahead and pull your car out into oncoming traffic. They will stop for you (by necessity.) And then you just honk your horn whenever you want to pass someone or if someone starts swerving toward your car. People also just cross the street wherever they want. Tight squeezes are the name of the game here. I have closed my eyes on several occasions. But today, I told Tesfy that I thought he was the best driver ever. And that was the truth. He says there aren’t a lot of car crashes here, and that seems to be the case. Every driver is well aware of their surroundings…I don’t think they have a choice.
The landscape here is breathtaking. The city is surrounded by mountains, and colorful houses speckle the hillside. There are street vendors throughout the neighborhoods selling everything from shoes to butchered oxen (freshly cut for each customer) to bright yellow bananas and grilled corn (which smell amazing.) The streets are so busy that it is almost overwhelming at times.
And, all the pretty people! I have never in my life seen such striking beauty. There are children dressed in school uniforms running through the streets with book bags bouncing side to side. Women carry their babies on their backs and hold the hands of the young children as they cross the street. It is not uncommon for a man to put his arm around another man’s shoulders as they stroll down the road. Bo keeps commenting at how everyone seems so happy here.
It has rained two out of the four days we have been here. Which, of course, I love. We go up on the roof and watch the storms roll in. Yesterday afternoon, it seemed like the whole city was watching the “football” game between Ethiopia and South Africa. Each time the ball would get close to the goal, there were squeals from every direction. Ethiopia won, 2-1! This means they qualify for the World Cup. It is the first time in 30 years! Everyone was so excited. People were running through the streets in soccer uniforms and waving the Ethiopian flag! It was so fun to see.
Needless to say, we feel blessed to experience this beautiful country and its people. So excited for the next few days!