Getting Back On Track

Hi Folks,

I am slowly returning from the grave, so I am going to make an attempt to catch up a bit before things start heading forward full steam again. I am currently at my cousin’s house in Addis recovering from a nasty bout of Giardia. Am doing much better now just dealing with dehydration and three days without food. The water is out here, unfortunately, so I stink and a shower is out of the question at the moment.

Bruce arrived yesterday and seems to be in once piece (as well as a guy who was mostly in pieces could tell for himself can say). He and Chris are in Fantelli today. I was supposed to be with them but alas, I am in no shape to be anywhere but bed for the most part. Fantelli is home to an NGO school and is quite impressive in its scope, success, and impact. I believe the dynamic duo will be handing out some scholarships on the ANSO front while they are down there. I will give you a real update when they get back with news.

Dean and Darren are due into town sometime today I believe but I won’t be seeing them until tonight at the earliest, perhaps tomorrow, depending on where I end up tonight, here or back at the Ghion hotel with the rest of the crew.

So, as far as narrative goes, I really only have the first two days in Ethiopia to tell you about. Chris and I arrived in Addis around eleven in the evening on Wednesday, and Delayne, Mary Ann, and I left the hotel to pick up Jim from the Sheraton at four in the morning to fly up to Gonder.

Mary Ann’s bags did not make it to Addis, they decided to stay in London as well. Thankfully, my cousin has the same shoe size, and she was able to dip into some of donation supplies to keep her clothed until her bags arrived, which they did on Saturday. She will be reunited with her belongings when they return from the second half of their early adventure, two days treking in Lalebale (lalee bala). She sends special thanks to the Calgary soccer teams to donated the jerseys, they have been getting good use already!

Seyoum, our guide and family friend, met us at the Gonder airport and whisked us away to a day of sightseeing. The tourist catchline for Gonder is “The Camelot of Africa,” as it is home to an absolutely amazing array of castles and ancient churches dating back about 400 years to when it was the capital of Ethiopia. Words can’t really do them justice, so you will have to wait for photos, which we have no shortage of.

Day two was another early start with us leaving the hotel at six to head North to the Simien Mountain National Park. Three and a half hours on dusty, rock roads had us ready to climb out of the Land Cruiser at an elevation of 3.2 kilometres for a two hour hike along the edge of what is referred to by the locals as “The roof of Africa.” Without photos all I can say is the vista puts the grand canyon to shame. Of its famous wildlife, we came across only the Gideon “Bleeding Heart” Baboon, but I can’t complain about that as our opposable-thumbed friends are my favorite critters in the world. The moniker comes from a crimson red fold of skin on the baboon’s chest that gives it the look of a bleeding wound when viewed head on.

Upon arriving back in Gonder just before six, we were very glad to be off the road and able to shower and relax a bit before being picked up by Seyoum again and going to his house to meet his two children, Btania and Raymond, as well as his wife, for a home cooked meal.

Jim has found his new love, Saint George Beer, which I wouldn’t be surprised to hear if he ends up investing in, or buying the North American rights to, and the golden nectar has soothed all the trials of rough days for him.

Saturday morning I flew back to Addis, and immediately fell ill, and Jim, Mary Ann, and Delayne flew to Lalebale to continue their adventures. Tomorrow, the entire crew should be together for the first time, and preparation for our trip to the south should begin in earnest.

For those of you who have been following the SeaCan saga, the latest news is that they should arrive in Nagelle on the 24. Later than we hoped, but still within the timeframe of our stay in the south, so we will most likely to be revising our schedule as so which area gets visited when, but we will be able to be present for the arrival, unloading, and distribution of their contents, which was until this weekend, still up in the air as to being a possibility. We thank all the people involved on the  NA side, as well as here in Ethiopia, who’s hard work has made this a reality.

Until next time, I’m going to lay down,



2 Responses to “Getting Back On Track”

  1. George Inglis Says:

    yay mike, glad to hear your feeling alittle better. i got that camping once. Apparently your not really suposed to drink the lake water in spring. who knew? anyways hope your taking lots of pictures as i totally look forward to seeing them. classic shots of you holding the camera to take a picture of yourself would be excellent. im unimpressed you didnt smuggle in some ceramic gnomes to take around in your travels. oh well next time. stay out of trouble.


  2. Jack & Jane Verburg Says:

    Wow..Lalibela…how exciting..brings back memories..had major brusies on my arm, as Jack grabbed me before falling down the our pit stop behind a small tree.
    We flew back to Addis..could not tolerate the road twice.
    Keep safe & healthy..Jack & Jane

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