I don’t know if that is spelled right or not – Piassa, but this is a shopping district in the city of Addis Ababa.  Monday afternoon Dawitt, Carole and Sandy’s driver, met us at the house and drove us there.  First I have to tell you a little bit about Dawitt.  This is a young man.  He is sold out for the Lord. He works for an adoption agency here and serves the Lord in many ways through that organization.  He is really light humored and gracious to us goofy Americans (we are called ferangi here). 

Driving in Ethiopia is very different than in America.  There don’t seem to be any rules and the only ‘right of way’ is who ever can get there first.  The drivers honk their horns to let people know they are coming so you are constantly hearing ‘beep beep’ and then there is a bus, or a van, or a huge construction vehicle passing you within inches of the car.  People, goats, sheep, cows are all likely targets of the ‘beep beep beep’ to get them out of the way.  Pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way so you have to be very careful when you are walking and there is not courteous distance for cars to pass any of the above.  As long as you don’t hit them when you pass you’re good.  I have seen so many close calls!

Then there is the pollution.  Oh my goodness!!  EPA has a little more respect from me now.  Black stinky exhaust spews from every vehicle.  When you are in a little car passing a big dump truck the exhaust pipe is right at the window level and the black smoke just pours into your face.   Uhgg!!  It’s terrible!  

So we dealt with all that and then we arrived in the city.  Holy cow!!  (I know, cows aren’t holy), but I’m telling you, for a newbie to this environment the city is terrifying!!  In a way we felt like we stepped out of Africa into East LA.  I really don’t have words to describe it.  There are so many people.  The city is so huge.  We stand out like…. like….. well like the only white people in Ethiopia.  (I know there are a few other white people – but we didn’t see them;) 

So Dawitt speaks the language in the city (different language than in Burayu).  He helps Carole and Sandy when they need to buy things by translating for them.  So my only goal really was to keep that kid in my sites.  He has a tendency to just start walking.  Don’t tell him your ready to go unless you are REALLY ready to go, because those words invoke a determined and goal oriented stride from him and you’d better keep up or you’ll be left in the dust.  (He’d come back to find you – but I didn’t want to take any chances.)

We managed to get a little shopping done and head home.  Guy and I were both pretty overwhelmed by the whole experience, but I have to admit that there was a little bit of acclimation to it all by the end of the afternoon.  The really interesting thing is that in the city the people act just like they do in America.  I think it’s the money.  When people have money it tends to replace so many other things in our lives.  As we drove back to Burayu there was a marked change in the atmosphere.  We sort of breathed a sigh of relief as we got closer and closer to home. 

The spirit is different in Burayu and you can feel it. The people here don’t have money.  They have family and friends and hopefully Christ.  That is their life here because that is all they have.  It’s beautiful!

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