The Last Photos of Ethiopia

The ancient city of Aksum (sometimes spelled Axum) in northern Ethiopia is famous for these granite carvings called stele. They date back to the 1st to 4th century and were made as grave markers for famous kings. In the foreground of this photo you can see the largest one which has fallen over.

These stele were carved from a single piece of stone and the largest is about 30 meters tall.

Archeologists still do not know how the ancient Ethiopians managed to erect these obelisks. 

The stele on the left was located in Rome until 2002 when the Italian government returned it to Ethiopia in three large pieces.

The stele at night.

This small green chapel is in Aksum across from where the stele are located. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church claims that the Ark of the Covenant is located inside. Obviously, you are not allowed inside. In fact, men can go no closer to the building than about 40 yards and women no closer than 100.

Inside a male-only church next to the chapel with the Ark of the Covenant.

Lalibela is possibly the most famous place in Ethiopia, and rightly so. It is famous for these rock-hewn churches. This one, the Church of St. George, is the prettiest and most well designed of the dozen carved churches. It is three stories high and has been carved straight down into the rock.

This is a view of St. George from ground level. You can see how the churches were carved straight down into the rock.

Since the rock-hewn churches are located in the ground you descend to the churches through these carved channels that crisscross the area. There are many small rooms and caves for pilgrims and monks to live and pray in.

Another one of the rock-hewn churches. The bricks on the right are from a restoration.

One of the many small rooms and caves for pilgrims.

Pilgrims gather outside of one of the churches for a Good Friday service.

A view of Lalibela and its surrounding area from 10,000ft above sea-level.

Seriously, the area around Lalibela was possibly the most beautiful area I have ever seen. This was the view from the back of our hotel in Lalibela. 

Some other missionary friends and I on a weekend trip to Lake Langango in southern Ethiopia.

Lake Langango itself.

There were many monkeys and other wildlife around Lake Langango.

For a friend's bachelor party, we went camping near Lake Wenchi, about three hours from Addis.

The stream next to where we were camping bubbled with naturally carbonated water.

The area around Lake Wenchi was surreal. You can see a water powered mill in this photo.

This is a view of the Ethiopian landscape from a place about an hour north of Addis Ababa.

A week ago I check the last thing off of my Ethiopia bucket list. I ate kitfoKitfo is a raw beef that is minced, spiced, and eaten with injera. I found it delicious, and, thankfully, I did not get sick from the raw meat.



Thankfully, I've still been able to spend some time climbing.

This is the outside of one of my student's churches in Hawassa where I preached.

This is the inside of the church. Around 100 were in here for the service.

The city of Hawassa is on the coast of a lake where people come to relax, eat, and swim.

These Marabou Storks are all around the lake and many are four to five feet tall.

The Marabou storks are scavengers, and here they are fighting over some scraps left by some fishermen.

Some of the people fishing are on very simple rafts made from old pallets and bottles.



The area around Durame was beautiful, and thankfully I didn't have any run-ins with the hyenas.

These are the students from my OT1 class. They are in groups going over the lecture material in Amharic. Bridging the language gap was a major challenge during the two week class.

This is a local church I visited. I could understand almost none of the service because it was half in Amharic and half in the local language of Kumbatina.

After the service I sat down with three students and the pastor for beans and coffee. The coffee was very strange because it had a traditional, slightly rancid, butter in it. However, the conversation was phenomenal. We discussed how the church is too focused on building buildings instead of building people.

After the class was over another missionary named Jeremey (the only other white guy in the picture) joined me in Durame for the weekend. We visited the house (the hut in the background) of one of my students named Wabel (he's directly in front of me with the blue polkadot shirt). Wabel's family is completely Muslim, and he used to be persecuted by his family because of his conversion to Christianity. But once before Jeremy visited and his family stopped because they realized that Wabel was becoming a "big deal" since he had American friends. So we visited again to help him receive respect from his family.

In Ethiopian churches men talk off their hats before entering the building.

After visiting another church we sat down with three of the elders. Meeting these men was the most honored I've felt since coming to Ethiopia. It was a high privilege.


Climbing In Ethiopia

It is always refreshing to get out of the city and see the Ethiopian landscape. This is the view from the base of the cliff where I go rock climbing.

This is the climbing cliff itself. There are about 30 routes with bolts drilled into the wall. Most of the routes only go halfway up the cliff since it is too tall for a single rope.

Another view of the country side from the base of the cliff.

Me at the top of a route. I got a little sunburned.

 One day as we were leaving the cliff a bunch of villagers asked for a ride down the gravel rode to Addis Ababa. Taxis don't make the 30 minutes drive up the road that often so I was happy to give them a ride. I got to briefly experience what it was life to be an Ethiopian taxi driver.

This plant is common near the base of the cliff, and I think it was made by Satan himself. It may look harmless, but its soft spines contain some kind of poison or toxin that burns when you touch it. I learned my lesson after brushing against it once and made a point not to touch it again.


More Ethiopian Sights

The sunset over Addis Ababa. I was able to experience a lot of this country's beauty in the past two weeks.

Animals, sheep, goats, cows, chickens, are everywhere. This goat looked especially skeptical of me.

Addis Ababa has very few stoplights. Instead, most intersection are roundabouts (and are crazy). This one features a monument to the martyrs of the Italian fascist massacre of 1937.

This weekend I went camping in a national forest that claims to be the oldest park in Africa.

Cool tree.

We, the Evangelical Theological Faculty, went on a retreat to Lake Babogaya. It is located on one of the areas many crater lakes and is 38 meters deep.

Many, many stars.

While camping we went to look for the waterfall. This was the best we found.

During the celebration of Meskel thousands of Ethiopians gather in the center of Addis Ababa and carry these lighted candles.

The main feature of the Meskel celebration is the lighting of the demera. It commemorates the fire that St. Helena used to find the true cross.