Three days later, and I think the group has finally managed to recover enough to make it through the day in one piece. The morning began with a drive to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, known as Kidist Selassie in Amharic. The country of Ethiopia is predominantly orthodox, and as we drove through the hills it was apparent just how devout the people here are. Everywhere, women were walking around with the traditional shawls covering their heads, which are required in order to enter the cathedrals. Despite the distance that many of these faithful pilgrims had to walk to reach the cathedral, no one was allowed entrance inside. Instead they were forced to do their praying outside the perimeter of the building. Kissing the walls, fresh flowers and pouring water on the ground were commonly seen among the faithful as offerings given to prove their devotion.
Thanks in large part to our drivers, who have been so helpful in dealing with the language barrier and making sure that we are well taken care of during this trip, we were able to purchase a tour of the inside of the cathedral. Once inside we were required to remove our shoes and a tour of the cathedral and a brief history lesson behind Ethiopian Orthodoxy was given. The windows of the church were adorned with the story of the old testament on one side of the church and on the other side the story of the new testament was told. The ceilings and walls had important stories about Ethiopian history and mentioning in the Bible decorating them. Over all it was a truly breathtaking sight to see.
Once done with the tour we left to head to the next sight we would visit up in the highlands. The steep climb to the top was a bit unsettling to say the least. It is the start of the rainy season here in Ethiopia, and today was the first time we have the rain in the three days we have been in the city. As we were making our climb to the top of this hill we were constantly passing people making this long journey to the top on foot. The view of the city below was truly awe inspiring and we couldn’t help but take a few pictures to help remember our journey.
Once we arrived at the top of our climb we were greeted by the cutest little boy, and everyone was instantly taken with him.
After fawning over this little boy for far too long, we toured another museum that, unfortunately, forced us to lock all cameras away so no pictures were taken once inside. The museum contained many artifacts that belonged to the ruling family of Ethiopia prior to the Italian occupation during WWII, and subsequent independence.
Pictured below is the church that resided at the top of the compound, and was the final destination of the long climb made by the people we saw along the road leading there.
It was very apparent just how central faith is to the people of Ethiopia. The hike to this sight for many must be completed on foot as transportation is very limited and many cannot afford the cost. The atmosphere surrounding these holy sites was truly humbling to behold and the privilege to be apart of it has been hard to put into words. We as Americans tend to take a lot of things for granted, and witnessing these people spend their entire day committed to faith and the need to connect to something larger than themselves has been both uplifting and moving to see.
Dehna duree, Ethiopia, until morning.