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.

forever family

Six years ago,  we became a forever family. Anaya, you bring so much joy & so much love to our home.

water for Ethiopia

During this grad season, I am blessed to meet so many beautiful hearts. I love hearing each one of your stories & also being able to witness the amazing gifts each of you has been given. I am also drawn back to many of the women I have met during my travels to Africa. Many of these women spend at least 3-5 hours of their day walking to get water. Can you imagine if clean drinking water was made possible in their communities? This would free these women to go to school, water born illnesses would be eliminated, the danger of of being raped on their long journey would not be present…..

I want to thank each of the grads , as their smiles will bring hope to others across the ocean. A portion of each grad session will be going to bring clean drinking water to a rural community in Ethiopia.

Art Prints for Ethiopia

Wasn’t today such a beautiful day? I continue to sell art prints ( all proceeds for this month going towards a fistula surgery for a women in Ethiopia). In the next little while I will post some of my travel prints from London, California & Africa.

Feel free to read a bit more about where the proceeds will be going to here.

a Christmas wish….

“Ethiopian women are actively involved in all aspects of their society’s life. Obstetric fistula not only disables the woman in so many ways, the entire village feels the effects. Women with obstetric fistula are outcast & therefore unproductive. Their family & community suffer.”

“Most hospitals (in Ethiopia) are in cities and far from the rural population. On average, the nearest health facility is two days walk away from their homes. The trek is often done alone. Many women will stuff their clothes with rags to prevent leakage caused by the fistula. All risk ridicule & humiliation on their journey to be cured.” (words taken from Hamlin Fistula Hospital site).

Once again, as Christmas time surrounds me,  I think about the songs we sing of peace on earth & the story of Christmas that speaks of the gift of LoVE  that came down to earth.  I wish that the beautiful  words of the carol,  “peace on earth good will to all” would become a reality in another women’s  life.  My hope is to provide a fistula surgery for a women in Ethiopia.

Any print sales from Christmas gift card sessions & art pieces purchased until the end of January will go towards the cost of the surgery. A standard fistula surgery costs $600. Feel free to take a peek at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital website & the documentary A Walk To Beautiful which tells the story of five Ethiopian women who suffer devastating childbirth injuries & the journey they make to reclaim their dignity. You can view both here.

Thank-you for visiting me here. I would love to hear about the passions that have been placed in your heart too!