Day 7: The day began with a mellow, relaxed breakfast; as our agenda today was simple- have some fun! Our devotions centered on dealing with our frustrations, and the reading from Philippians 4:4-7 reminded us to remain in prayer and as verse 6 states, "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God". Our team's fellowship was highlighted by several of us revealing that our only frustrations over the past week were with ourselves, and not with any of the team or our circumstances. Henri Nouwen had said "we can let go of our compulsion to prove ourselves to be free to live with others in a fellowship of the weak". Being among the poorest of the poor, the weakest, these words pointed us away from the push for acceptance and recognition that affects our lives in Silicon Valley, and towards a more humble path. Not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.

Our faithful coach driver was waiting for us as we emerged from the guest house, to take us to the National Museum. Our guide there was quite entertaining if not whimsical at times, and did have a slight tendency to bend the historical facts to fit his story. We were all trying to figure out when Moses had an Ethiopian wife, as he had indicated, but he directed us thru the history of Ethiopia starting with Lucy. The replica of the remains in the basement of the museum started us 3 ½ million years ago in Ethiopia, but not before Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden existed in the Rift Valley, as also suggested by our guide. Most of us turned off our critical thinking for a few hours to be entertained as we then journeyed thru time, covering the time of the Axumites in northern Ethiopia, and in particular the story of the Queen of Sheba. As that story goes, she was the first woman ruler of Ethiopia, and journeyed to meet Solomon, aware of and cautious of his reputation as a skilled womanizer. She was nonetheless tricked into sleeping with him, and their son Melenik the first later traveled back to Israel. When he showed proof of his parentage, he was then shown the tablets of the covenant, and took these back to Ethiopia where they now reside in an arc in one of the churches in the northern part of the country. We didn't dispute the story, but it did personally disappoint me to hear that the arc was not in a government warehouse somewhere…

  

After a quick lunch back at the guesthouse, we re-boarded the bus, and our merry band headed out for an afternoon of shopping. All sorts of garments, necklaces, rings, and baskets were assessed, and after a while our shoppers seemed sated, if not ready for a second course later in the trip. Joined by several of Andy Warren's interns at the main shopping area, we were then directed down one of the streets to do some bargaining in other shops, and with the street vendors. Mike got a pair of certainly authentic Gucci sunglasses for about 40 birr, or $5, and one of the team leaders picked up an oversize Levis belt, only to barter with another vendor to exchange it for a more properly sized Gucci belt for an exchange fee of only 30 birr. We knew they were authentic since Gucci was spelled correctly, although the imprint was a bit lopsided on the belt buckle.

Returning home to the guest house with goods in tow, we then prepared for our evening meal at an authentic Ethiopian restaurant, where we knew we would be entertained by a band of musicians playing traditional instruments and music, joined by a troupe of 8 men and women performing dance. The meal was served family style to groups of the team, with only injira to scoop up the spicy assortment of foods. We were all stuffed by the time the dancers came out. Ethiopian dance is quite unique, with the main movement being a rapid oscillation of the shoulders akin to the movement of someone who has had ice thrown down their shirt, accompanied by a rapid shuffling and slapping of the feet. Some of the team tried to mimic the moves, but were quickly cautioned that we did not have enough Advil to treat them if they persisted in what looked more like a scene from the Blues Brothers than real dance. By the time our trusty driver had us back home, we were ready to hit the sack. Sleep was delayed though by the sounds of singing and music coming from the streets, as the orthodox Ethiopians celebrate Easter predominantly on the eve of the day, culminating in cannon blasts at 3 am. The time symbolizes Peter denying Christ 3 times before he was crucified, and marks the end of holiday fasting for the orthodox. We all slept anticipating the following day, when we will celebrate the risen Christ.