PictureFor our last full day in Ethiopia we decided to divide and conquer.  One group (in the ubiquitous blue Lada taxis) headed back to the market near the post office on Churchill road for some final shopping.  A group of seven headed to the Entoto Hills to see Milinik’s palace and the church. 
And then there was the coffee outing!

PictureFor those who don’t know, Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee.  In fact, the town of Kaffe is where the story of Kaldi the goat herder is takes place, according to legend.  As the story goes, Kaldi was tending his goats when one day he came across some red berries.  Curious, he picked several and began chewing on them.  Although they were bitter, he found that they provided him with energy and alertness that helped him tend his flock.  So, Kaldi began carrying a bag of berries with him everywhere he went.

One day, Kaldi came across a monastery and showed his berries to a monk.  When the monk learned what the berries did, he scolded Kaldi for succumbing to the devil’s tools, and grabbed the berries and threw them into the fire.  Moments later, monks from around the monastery began appearing, drawn by the aroma of the roasting berries.  Some of them pulled the scorched berries from the fire and crushed them to make a tea drink.  Eventually, the monks found that the drink helped them with their transcripts and their daily prayers (clearly they must have been from God).

So to, drawn by the aroma of coffee that is ever present in Ethiopia, six of us headed to Mokarar and Tomoca, the most famous coffee shops in town, to place orders for the team.  At our first stop, Mokarar, the electricity was out, so the process of filling our order took longer than expected, as women worked by candlelight filling bags and sealing them by the flame.  The delay provided a wonderful opportunity to taste the merchandise. 

PictureLater, the team convened back at the Global Hotel for a lunch outing back to Makush Gallery.  And from there, one last visit to the HOPE School in Addis where, finally, after 14 days and $4,000 in tariffs, we were able to see the 20 projectors ready to be distributed to the HOPE campuses.  (Todd was just a little more than overjoyed.  We estimated that he spent nearly 25 hours and visited 17 offices of the Ethiopian government in his effort with the HOPE staff to retrieve the projectors.)  The duties paid were significantly less than originally quoted and, although it was a disappointment to see HOPE have to pay anything, HOPE was ecstatic to receive the projectors for their teachers (at approximately 1/10th the cost of a projector in Addis Ababa).

The final stop before dinner was to visit Café Chocolata – a café started by Cherry of Illita and designed to provide jobs and revenue for former sex workers.  There, we enjoyed cake and ice cream, but we also ogled at the ice cream display freezer that had been purchased from a grant from HopeEthiopia.  Grant is chairman of that organization which provides a U.S. non-profit for U.S. citizens wanting to support HOPE Enterprises, Illita, Oasis Foundation / Grace Village, and several other Ethiopian charities.

PictureAfter a short stop back by the hotel, we took the remaining team (15 at this point) out to dinner at Habesha Restaurant – an authentic Ethiopian restaurant whose food and dance have been recommended by none other than the New York Times.  What fun!!  Not only was the food delicious and the entertainment wonderful fun, but some of our own team members added to the entertainment.  (Oh my!)