Monthly Archives: May 2010

Caleb’s Birthday

Caleb is the 3 year old son of my teammates, Michael and Emily Treadwell. He turned 3 on April 9th. A couple days later, we had a party at Desta Mender (Joy Village), a working farm and Midwifery College of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital ( They have a café there, which is open on the weekends and a favorite place to go after church for Sunday lunch. There is plenty of grassy space for kids to run around, animals to watch and pet, and nice, clean air.

Caleb in his new sweater vest
Caleb and Ruthie

South Africa

In mid-April, our Mission to the World team went to Cape Town, South Africa for an East and Southern Africa retreat. It was a wonderfully refreshing week. Being April in the southern hemisphere, autumn was on the way. We were in a valley west of Cape Town where there are many vineyards. It was great to see the ocean again. We were like kids at Disneyland when we got to the Johannesburg airport–there was a Subway sandwich shop, a real bookstore, toilet paper in the rest rooms, and Coke Zero in 1 liter plastic bottles! Needless to say, we found ourselves in a developed country. Oh, and we could use our credit cards and ATM cards–the swiping actually worked. Here are some photos of the beauty of the area.

Hermanus Valley
Indian Ocean
Cape Town
Cape Town Table Mountain

Orphan Holiday Celebrations

Easter, Betselot and me

We care for about 43 orphans in our project–that is, kids for whom both parents are deceased. They are referred to as “double” orphans, because losing one parent here can have you called an orphan. So on major Ethiopian holidays, such as Christmas, New Year’s (in September) and Easter, we have a party for the orphans. For Ethiopian New Year, we had a program at the main office and then took them to lunch at a local restaurant. For Christmas, we had a party at the office, told the Christmas story and decorated Christmas cookies and ate pizza. For Easter, we went to our Bole office, where one of our beneficiaries cooked Ethiopian food for them. We told the Easter story of Christ’s death and resurrection and they drew pictures to illustrate it. The older girls had fun taking pictures with my camera at Easter, but these pictures are from 3 celebrations.

New Year’s, Brian and friends
Christmas, Hirut and Nathanael
Easter, Betty and Kendi
Firkerte being a kid!

One of the very traditional, cultural events in Ethiopia is the coffee ceremony. When medical teams visit our project, one of the women’s support groups will put on a coffee ceremony for them. This is an opportunity for the ladies to put on their best clothes, do their hair and proudly show an important part of Ethiopian culture. The coffee ceremony starts by spreading grass on the ground around the area of the ceremony and lighting a charcoal fire.

Raw coffee beans are washed and rinsed and then roasted over the charcoal fire.

The overdone beans are picked out and then the roasted beans are ground by hand.

While this is being done, the water is being boiled in a special pot called a “jebena”.

Once the water is boiling, the coffee grounds are added to the water and it is brought to a boil again. The pot is then taken off the coals and set on a special coaster to “rest”. This allows the grounds to settle to the bottom.

While the coffee is resting, food is served, particularly popcorn and special bread, sometimes kolo, a roasted grain and peanut snack, and fruit. Either the guest or the oldest person present cuts the bread.

The coffee ceremony is a time when the women work on their handwork and catch up on the latest news and gossip. Here, Asnakech is spinning cotton.

Incense is also burned in a small burner with a clump of charcoal from the main fire. The small coffee cups (think the size of a Chinese tea cup) have a heaping teaspoon of sugar put in them and then the coffee is poured and served. It is traditional to have 3 cups of coffee at a coffee ceremony, so more water is added to the grounds in the pot and again brought to a boil.