Today I broke from my group to travel through some other parts of Ethiopia before I head home. Dr. Shad and Julie went South to Jimma where they had work and meetings at the hospital there. "Everyone" suggested to go to Lalibela and Axum, and that’s what I have on my itinerary.
Lalibela is an hour flight north of Addis Ababa. It’s in the mountainous region which is rich in history and culture from a religious standpoint, and the rock hewn churches are known all over the world and has a UNESCO designation. I’m thankful to immerse myself in the culture here and it’s really a spiritual awakening. The area is primarily orthodox Christian (95%), and I am visiting at a special time when the pilgrims of the Church are called for mass and prayers...even in the pouring rain.
The churches "built or carved out of rock" are said to be the handi-work of King Lalibela in the 13th century. They are still in use today, and I visited five out of the 13 in Lalibela with my guide, Mula. These churches are amazing and carved out of the rock from the top down. Tomorrow we plan on seeing the rest along with visiting another town about 35 miles from here.