Ethiopia : The heart of hospitality

We boated across Lake Ziway & arrived at this island that was inhabited by only a handful of people.

As we walked to a trail that led us up to a distant monastery, we passed this home where an elderly couple resided. My heart was challenged as I looked at the simple way they lived & my own list of running wishes of home improvements in Canada.

Thanks to our translator, we were able to have a lovely conversation. I asked how they had met. She had been a widow when she met him & they now live in this home together.

Simplicity: a very common stool that is seen throughout Ethiopia. It is used for many chores as it sits low to the ground and can be used for activities like preparing food & washing clothes.

Our hike was mid day and the sun shone bright and hot. The terrain was perfect for snakes hidden under rocks and that oversized spider.

When the island was occupied by many more villagers, they would gather under this tree for village meetings.

Huge cactus lined the path to the monastery.

We were told that this flower is often grown around residences since it repels poisonous snakes. I wondered if I should have  stuck a bunch in my shoes for our hikes:)

This monastery sits at the peak of the island. Tradition says that Christians took refuge on these islands. They preserved both their faith and ancient manuscripts.The monastery was said to have hidden the Ark of the Covenant in the ninth century.

We were tired and hot after coming back down from the monastery that sat at the peak of the island.

As we rounded the path that led to the elderly couples home, there she sat with a huge smile and a basket of bread that she had prepared for our return. Hospitality. Generosity.

~The heart of hospitality is about creating a space for someone to feel seen & heard and loved. It’s about declaring your table a safe place of warmth & nourishment~ niequiest

I will always think about this women, giving her best as she offered refuge and nourishment.  She carried with her those beautiful gifts of hospitality & generosity.

london doors

Some people loved sights liked the London Eye, whereas I could have spent hours taking pictures of doors!

A Walk to Beautiful

This was a dream of mine to visit the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Dr. Catherine Hamlin saw a need for the rural women of Ethiopia who suffer from physical impairment, shame & marginalization as a result of a obstetric fistula. Her hospital offers amazing hope & care. Many of the women who come have suffered for years, living in isolation due to the lack of understanding in their communities.

Each patient is given a colourful quilt, a symbol of new life that they now have. I had to bite back my tears, as I saw amongst the hospital gardens, many women walking with their colourful quilts wrapped around them.

Catherine Hamlin lives in a small home on the compound. She turns 93 this year & still puts on her white cloak every morning & does her hospital rounds to greet each patient.

Press on the link below to watch the documentary, that tells the story.

A Walk to Beautiful