June 3: Mekele

After a pretty intense day of walking and driving yesterday visiting our new projects……today is a more leisurely trip from Gheralta Lodge to Mekele over great paved roads.

Gheralta Lodge, Hawzien Ethiopia
The Lodge is a beautiful Italian oasis in the middle of our trip. Homemade pastas, organic vegetables, and a great staff.  This time we were lucky, we managed two nights at the Lodge before heading to Mekele.
Morning devotion overlooking the valley
Early this morning, we walk up to a nearby cliff overlooking a valley and mountains. A beautiful view that reminds us of God’s gift of creation. From this inspiring spot, we take the time to share our devotion of the day provided so eloquently by Pastor Norb Firnhaber.
The group with staff and Principal of Negash Primary School (grade 1-8)
We had a great stop at the Negash Primary School.  Everyone in the group had brought along schools supplies for the Principal to distribute to the students as need. Highlight of the stop was sitting in the Grade 1 class and hearing the student sing in English and recite the numbers and alphabet, unprompted in English.
Wukro Kirkos Rock Church
Further down the road to Mekele, we stop in Wukro to visit the Kirkos Rock Church.  This church is partially carved in the rock and the other part is more traditional construction. This church is 200 years older than the rock churches in Lalibela that we visited earlier.
The Revolution Monument Honoring the Guerilla Fighters
After checking in at our hotel, we take time to visit the Moument honoring the Guerrilla Fighters who initiated the revolution to overthrow the communist regime. The revolution began in 1974 and ended in 1991 with the overthrow of the government. The movement began in Tigray and by the end of the civil war it is estimated that more than 500,000 Ethiopians lost their lives.
Dinner with REST staff and leadership
Tomorrow morning we head to Addis, as our trip is winding down. So tonight we share a farewell dinner with the staff and leadership of Relief Society of Tigray (REST). As always, they have been incredible hosts and an invaluable trusted partner since we began our work in Ethiopia 8 years ago. Always great to see old friends!
- Dick


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