Family First by Pang Matet

Reuniting with my grandparents for the first time since leaving for America at the age of 3 was an experience I can only describe as magical. Witnessing my grandmother jolt out of her hut to embrace me as she repeated my name was more moving and emotional than anything I had expected. My grandfather walked towards me with a bucket of water without saying a word he poured water on my feet, right hand, and atop my head. Then placing his hand on my head he said a prayer that was so powerful it brought me to tears. “My granddaughter, you have returned,” he ended with. I have never felt such love and joy like this before.

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During the two weeks I was in Gambella, Ethiopia, time seemed to stand still as I soaked in the culture of the land I was born in. I almost did not want to leave my grandparents and extended family members but I am happy to be reunited with the group here in Addis Ababa. After seeing a more rural less populated side of Ethiopia with its traditional huts and compounds, I am looking forward to experiencing the busyness of capital and all the great things it has to offer.

We received our phones early this morning and then had lunch at the Lucy Lounge. The food was very delicious and the art work throughout the restaurant was magnificent.

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The group then went to the National Museum of Ethiopia where the famous partial skeleton of Lucy is kept.

Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped for coffee at one of Addis Ababa’s finest coffee shops. Now wide awake thanks to espresso, the group is ready for the banquet which will include a special show with traditional Ethiopian music and dancing. It’s been a day full of adventures and I can only hope the journey ahead will be full of excitement, discovery, and experiences we will never forget!

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