When we leave Addis, we will take the (BEAUTIFUL! GORGEOUS! SHOCKING! UNBELIEVABLE!) 6 hour drive south to Soddo. We will stay in the newest motel in Soddo. I don't yet have rates, but it should be even more affordable than our guest house in Addis. Soddo is a smallish city (approximate population of 80K people). It is a rugged, 30 minute drive over to Shanto, the village where FOVC is located. We will be based in Soddo during our time in the south.
FYI, I am in contact with a few reputable drivers. During our drive to Soddo/Shanto, and the whole time we are there, we will expect to have several vehicles--newer model SUV's, air-conditioned, etc--and English-speaking drivers that will be fully-available to us. The details are still in-process.
The motel in Soddo, as I understand it, is new. It will be very clean by African standards. I understand there is running water, shower/toilet facilities and electricity.
We haven't decided if we will spend 3 or 4 nights in Soddo. We have to balance being there long enough to truly make a difference, but not being there so long that it becomes too hard (see below).
About Shanto: Hopefully, you have all read FOVC board member Stacey Penlon's post about her recent trip to Shanto. We must be prepared to be sort of...exhausted...by our time there. It is physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually like nothing you have ever seen. But beautiful and life-changing!
As you already know, we will be helping with the building, encouraging the kids, teaching English, teaching life skills to the kids and the widows. We are also looking for a bookkeeping/accounting person who can begin to train FOVC staff as they receive and spend EOR's financial gift. Our team doctor, Larry Dansky, will help medically---we are in the process of figuring out what kind of assistance will be most beneficial. We know the children and villagers plan to welcome us in the most lovely way they know how, too!
The weather in Shanto/Soddo should max out in the mid-80s during the day. Nights are around 60 degrees. The elevation is about 7500 feet, and it's not humid at all--in fact, it's quite dry. (It feels more dry than Colorado, I think.) However, due to the high elevation and the fact that it is near the equator, it can feel quite warm, especially in the sun. Also, it's pretty dusty/dirty. You will be longing for a shower each time you return to Soddo! You will want to bring hats, sunscreen, lotion, lip balm and maybe even umbrellas (to shield from the sun). Women will wear longish skirt, pants or crop pants. No sleeveless shirts. Men will wear long pants, for the most part. Smoking or drinking alcohol will not be appropriate. Dressing and behaving modestly are very important! (Of course, more details to come as we get closer to travel!)
When we leave Soddo/Shanto, we will return to Addis via the beautiful Lake Country. We will stay one night at a clean, nice lodge on Lake Langano. (When Dave, Bereket and I were there in January, the cost for our room was $35, I think, for the 3 of us. So we can plan on less than $25 per person, double occupancy.) There is a beautiful lake and beach there, walking paths and a beautiful restaurant. You will enjoy the relaxation and rest after your time in Soddo/Shanto. In the Lakes Country, we will visit several big, beautiful lakes. When we were most recently in Ethiopia, we saw wild monkeys, baboons, hippos and lots of indigenous birds. And never forget, the countryside and people will be forever seared in your memory!
We will spend the final 1-2 nights at the same guest house in Addis. Our group will have the opportunity, hopefully, to return to places we might want to see again, and to do any last-minute shopping, etc. Amazingly, these last two days are Ethiopian Christmas! Ethiopian Christmas is nothing like western Christmas. I have heard from travelers that witnessing, and taking part in, Ethiopian Christmas, is an incredible event!
This has turned out to be a lot of information, I know. Given the research I have completed this week, I still think that a $2500 per person budget is do-able. I will keep you all posted!
Again, if this trip is NOT for you, and you don't want to keep receiving these emails from me.....just let me know! :-)
Questions, comments or encouragements? Post and share!
So....Let's go change the world! Yippee!!!!!
And please be in prayer for the many who want to go on this trip, but who need to raise the funding to do it.