Yoga Journal Pose of the Day

Sunday, December 21, 2008

diary, part 5

we have to cross that mountain pass up ahead


in the mountain pass, Kassahun says armed shiftas have been known to stop and rob travelers, especially after nightfall

"man working" sign warns of more construction ahead

looking back the way we came, the drop off into the canyon at the road's edge is straight down

my traveling companions: Fehim, Kassahun, and Abrahim


Everything, everything is suddenly so familiar. I cannot explain it, but I feel the light, the landscape, the roads, the children resonate with something deep inside me. Kassahun tells me Debre Tabor is just ahead.
Debre Tabor too is undergoing construction. Major road-building. Banners are flying. We meet proud men on horseback, the horses dressed to the nines, trotting by. What is happening?

(later I find out that the Deputy Prime Minister, Adissa Lagasa, is in Debre Tabor today to lay the cornerstone for the new Debre Tabor University)

We have to detour around the main road because of the occasion. Then Kassahun is asking me if I recognize this road. No, not really. I'm looking for the road that led to the gates of the mission and I don't think this is it.
We turn right into a narrow roadway. I don't recognize anything. Someone opens the gated compound for us. This is the church, Kassahun tells me. I don't recognize it. I feel miserable. Nothing is familiar here.
Dr. Arvid welcomes us warmly. He gives us a tour of his project, a guest house he is building on property he has purchased next to the church property. Dr. Arvid explains that the former mission was ransacked during the revolution in 1975. His parents barely escaped with their lives. The property was taken out of church hands at that time. Later, the church purchased this property to the north of the old mission compound.
My world starts to right itself again...
Dr. Arvid employes about 100 local people on the construction project, far more than is actually needed to do the job, but it is a way to put a little money into the local economy.
As I'm standing at the gate to Dr. Arvid's project, a small hand slips itself into mine and I look down to find this shy, pretty little thing looking up at me. My heart melts. From here on in, I am fighting back tears -- tears of belonging, tears of longing, tears of relief that I have found my home.

I meet Megan Bliss, an American Peace Corp worker whose year here in Debre Tabor is almost over. As usual, the national health office did not tell the local health office she was coming so she was not wanted or needed. She spends her time playing with the children and teaching English to those who are interested. She has also found a market in the U.S. for the jewelry that local women will make to earn some extra money.
Megan tells me it took a while for her to win the trust of the children, but now, some of them are quite the hams for the camera.
Dr. Arvid decides we must have something to eat before he takes us on a tour of Debre Tabor. We are served the kind of Ethiopian meal I remember, injera, cabbage, shiro, lentils, pasta, and egg wot. After lunch, Dr. Arvid plans to drive us to Mount Jesus, where we will have to get out near the summit to hike to the top. After that, he will show me around the old mission compound.

me, Megan Bliss, Dr. Arvid and Kassahun

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