|All Age worship Ethiopian Orthodox style|
|on their way to church|
Along the road we see a dead donkey, a sad sight, with vultures hanging around waiting for their chance to pick the carcass down to dry bones, which will eventually bleach in the strong sun. The roads are full of people dressed in their white, walking to or from church, many of them students pouring through the University campus gate.
When we arrive at the church there are crowds gathered within the outer gate, but outside the church itself. Here we ladies must all cover our heads with scarves. Hats will not do. And females gather to the right of the church building, men to the left. And everywhere children quietly play or sit with their carers, girls suitably attired with pretty scarves.
|the priest delivers his sermon from the steps|
|In the Felasha village|
|a market stall Gondar - free range chickens being fed!|
The Geze language is used in the liturgy, by tradition, although many will not understand this. But the reading of the Holy book and the preaching are both in Amharic so these words are accessible to all. Three hours of singing by the deacons and priests will all be from memory.
After 20 minutes or so soaking up the atmosphere of the place, we have to leave each, of us taking away our own spiritual experiences. We drive through the market, now in full swing, and with many coffee ceremonies getting under way - a great local tradition for families and friends to get together after church.
An excellent road now takes us up into the mountains. This is clearly a more affluent area. This is where we saw our first car - a modern Yaris!
|Gondar street scene|
|beehive in a tree|
|In the Simien mountain range|
This next bit is not for the squeamish! It is - yet another - feast day today and there has been a "scrambling." The villagers have killed a cow, and they are all sharing the bits! Nothing is apparently wasted - we can see women and children cutting, washing, tearing, sorting and generally dealing with the meat and entrails whilst the bloodied and skinned head lies a little apart and the hide has been taken off to dry and no doubt use for floor or wall covering, or even for chair coverings - as we see later today at our lunchtime restaurant. Much of the best meat will be spiced and dried and stored for up to a year. But just as much will be shared and enjoyed now. I cannot feel so upset by the quick killing of a cow that has enjoyed such a good life grazing free range across the pastures here, finally to be killed where she lived and strolled. Her life has been generally good, compared with the miserable lives of so many factory-farmed animals (for UK readers see here) that face the final suffering of perhaps many miles of road transport deprived of food and water and any kind of necessary comfort. And the Ethiopians need this meat for their very survival.
|a "swarming" - a cow being butchered and shared|
|the perfect spot for our Eucharist|
|at Befiker Kossoye lodge|
|room at Befiker Kossoye|
|making the injera|
|enjoying our coffee in a very smoky front room!|
Soon we will be on our way to Lake Tana and the Blue Nile falls - when pilgrims will become tourists before our journey homewards...