I have various things to share today. At this point, there are 8 of us committed to traveling together. There are 5 more (who I am aware of) who are very seriously considering joining us. Is there anyone else out there?
We have a doctor and his wife, who is a nurse/public health professional, joining us! Yea!
Given the magnitude of the financial gift that EOR has given to FOVC, we are praying now for someone who can train the FOVC staff in basic bookkeeping/accounting skills. It's so important that we help FOVC make the most of this tremendous gift!
The best flight itinerary I can find at this time is $1285. That is REALLY, CRAZY AFFORDABLE! (Our previous trips were considerably more.) When we factor in the fact that we will be traveling over Ethiopian Christmas, it's just an amazing rate! HOWEVER, this rate is not "safe" until we reserve the seats. The agent I have been working with (I have been in contact with three different agencies) thinks he can get Lufthansa to hold the seats for up to 2 weeks after we put them on hold and before we pay for them. So, we "hopefully" have about one week to decide to put seats on hold--at no cost--and then up to another two weeks to pay for the seats. The longer we wait, the more likely it is that we won't get this itinerary. Even if you are not ready to sign up in the next week or so, you can still come! But it's possible that your cost will be somewhat higher.
We are still looking at traveling out on December 28 or 29.
We are looking to spend our first 2 nights / 3 days in Addis. I am lining up lots of different options for everyone. What you need to know is that most things (meals out, etc.) are far more reasonably-priced than comparable places in the U.S.! Here are the opportunities currently in the line-up during our time in Addis--and there are more to come!
- I have made contact with the PR Director of the world-renowned Hamlin Fistula Hospital, who will arrange a personal tour for those in our group who are interested. What you need to do: RENT and WATCH "Walk To Beautiful," READ "The Hospital By The River" also "Cutting For Stone" in preparation for this opportunity.
- For those in the group who have never been to Ethiopia/Africa, you will need some time to rest and begin to process the beauty and the suffering that will just fill your senses.We will be staying at the Yeka Guest House. The rate will be $25 per person per night for double occupancy. This rate includes a delicious breakfast.
- Those who are interested can spend time at Children's Heaven, a wonderful organization that many of us are familiar with (also another partner with EOR). Hanna and the girls at Children's Heaven love having visitors!
- We can shop/sight-see at a market on Churchill Street. It's a shopping area that is safe and easily navigate-able. The braver among us might plan a trip to the Mercato, which is the largest market in Africa!
- There is a traditional Ethiopian restaurant where we can go for dinner together. In addition to the food, there is nightly music and dancing in the Ethiopian tradition. Very fun!
- Those who are interested can visit Ethiopia's National Museum. The guided tours there are excellent, and it's where Lucy, the famous ancient skeleton lady, lives! There is a well-known restaurant called the Blue Top (you can get western-style food there, and it is good) across the street for lunch!
- For those who are interested, there is a (fairly gourmet) Italian restaurant and art gallery that is good for lunch or dinner. If you have been to our home, we have a couple of paintings from the gallery, which features only original art by Ethiopian artists.
- Anyone who wants to go can visit the small Leper Community, where you have a chance to meet some of the artisans there--who also have leprosy--and to purchase their beautiful handiwork.
- Anyone who wants to do so can visit--and maybe we'll do a pizza party?--at Sele Enat, the orphanage where both Amelia and Bereket lived before they came home.
- I am investigating the possibility of going to a close-by village called Kore, which was a true leper village-combined-with-trash-heap, and is now a community where the people still live. One of our friends is currently in Ethiopia on a short-term missions trip. You can read her blog post to learn more about Kore.