Wednesday, 13 August 2014


So much happened in Ethiopia but I was mostly too busy living it to blog about it, so I have a few stories saved up. This is from last November.

I was out with the monkeys one day and there were lots of people walking past. There must have been a few thousand people over the course of the day, all converging onto the road heading south. They all wore white, which is the usual colour around Guassa, but today it was extra clean white. I asked about it and apparently they were going to see an angel. I've never seen an angel so I wasn't about to miss it.

It turned out they were building a huge church, possibly to honour the angel. It will take a few years to finish it. They have special services twice a year to raise money for building materials. It looks like it's going to be made of concrete but what I saw was mostly scaffolding made of eucalyptus poles.

There were thousands of people at the church service. Many people had velvet ceremonial umbrellas with sparkly gold bits. Others brought their regular rain umbrellas, which are used against the sun as much as the rain. The bishop is under the big white umbrella.

I never did get to see the angel. All the people must have scared it away.

Ethiopian churches are really beautifully decorated. These paintings are inside a big church in Addis Ababa. I think it's weird that Jesus and all the saints are painted as white people.

Under the Madonna painting you can see the king and queen who built the church. I think it's weird that they are painted looking Ethiopian while the saints above look European. Some of the saints were Ethiopian too but they are painted as white people. I think that's St Yared on the right, with the drum; shouldn't he be darker-skinned? The man on the horse below is St George, Ethiopia's patron saint.

Looking back at these pictures I can almost smell the frankincense. I miss frankincense. I don't usually like smoky things but that smoke smells really good.