Day 11- Saying goodbye to Ethiopia

Today we said goodbye to Ethiopia and each other. It was time for us to part ways and return home, or continue on our way elsewhere.

“We will keep in touch!” – All trippers


Day 10 – Church of Saint George

The Church of Saint George is a spectacular rock cut church and is the most famous among the Ethiopia’s 11 12th century churches. After our morning visit to the church we were treated to a traditional cooking demonstration.

Church of Saint George:

“I’m almost tempted to believe that St. George did help build this church, it’s amazing!” – Natasha Dobrijevic

“There are some great photo opportunities here!” – Dr. Joseph De Wet

“What amazing things people have accomplished!” – Aruna Aysola

Cooking demonstration:

“Judith and Joss made some good injara.” – Natasha Dobrijevic

“I think I could use an injara stove for the house.” – Judith  Dyck

“This is not as easy as it looks.” – Joseph De Wet

Day 9 – UNESCO World Heritage Site Churches

Today we visit the first group of UNESCO World Heritage Site churches. Each church has a unique architectural style and many are decorated with well-preserved paintings.

“You can see the devotion of the people to their religion.” – Dr. Graeme Barber

“The adherence to tradition is fascinating.” – Natasha Dobrijevic

“The architecture is stunning.” – James Flett


Day 8 – A quick stop in Aruamba Village

It was time to hit the road again and travel to Laibela. On the way we took a quick detour to Aruamba Village to meet with the leader of this community and learn about their way of life.

“It was fascinating. The village had a calm, zen-like feeling.” – Aruna Aysola

“Communal living can work well on a small scale.” Dr. Graeme Barber

“This community seems more propserous then many of the other ones we have seen. They have a library, a school, and even electricity but there is still a long way to go.” –  Mary Ann Kelly

“It would have been nice to see more of the villagers to get their inputs and perspective.” – Judith Dyck

Day 7 – A little bit of tourism

Having finished our visits to CPAR’s projects the previous day, today was the start of tourism. We took a leisurely ride on Lake Tana, visited ancient monasteries, and visit Blue Nile Falls.

Lake Tana:

“It was a pleasant ride and interesting to see the papyrus boats and fisherman on the lake.” – Dr. Graeme Barber

“The boat ride was relaxing and beautiful.” – Dr. Joseph De Wet

“What a pleasant experience.” – Natasha Dobrijevic

Monastery visit:

“They were totally different from what I was expecting. I though they would look like European churches but they were a pleasant surprise. The fact that they are made of wood and not stone makes they even more impressive.” – Ewan Main

“It is incredible to think that a wooden structured has lasted 700 years! I also enjoyed the paintings and stories. And I appreciate how organized the market stalls leading up to the monasteries were.” – Dr. Graeme Barber

Blue Nile Falls

“I enjoyed the short walk over to the waterfall. It was worth the trip.” – Ewan Main

“The falls are lovely but Niagara Falls is bigger!” – James Flett

Day 6 – CPAR’s completed project in Dibate District

This morning we had the opportunity to speak with a Farmer Field School (FFS) group from a recently completed CPAR project before heading off to Bahir Dar to rest for the night. The group met us a little ways from their village for the discussion.

“The people have used their own initiative to do a great deal.” – Dr. Donald Payne

“It was nice to hear what the people had to say but I would have liked to visit their village to get a better idea of the context.” – John Fleming

“It was great to hear that the beneficiaries of the project continued to apply the skills and knowledge they gained through the project even though CPAR is no longer working in this village. Sustainability of projects is so important.” – Natasha Dobrijevic

Day 5 – Seeing CPAR’s ongoing projects at work

After a long drive we made it to CPAR’s base camp in Dibate District and had the chance to speak directly with the beneficiaries of CPAR’s ongoing Fighting Hunger project. We visited both a cooking demonstration, which mothers and caregivers are taught to prepare nutritionally rich foods from locally available ingredients and a marketing cooperative where farmers work together to sell their surplus seeds.

Cooking demonstration:

“Because of my background, I am very focused on monitoring results, and I am very happy to see that CPAR is doing such a good job in that respect.” – Dr. Graeme Barber

“It was really eye opening to see how people struggle, how much they want to improve their situation but they can’t because of a lack of resources. I hope that what CPAR is doing and the knowledge and resources they are providing will be passed on from one generation to the next.” – Eris Ritcey

“Teaching mothers to prepare nutritious meals for their children is just so important. A child that is well nourished is given a good start in life. And the community that is being created among the women in the village as they participate in CPAR’s cooking and nutrition demonstrations is just fantastic.” – James Flett

Marketing cooperative:

“The positive results of the project just blew my away! I was particularly impressed with the involvement of women.”  – Celia Ritcey

“It was incredibly impressive to see the engagement of the community and the incredible gain they have had since the start of the project. The pride of the people in their own work was heartwarming.” – Dr. Brian Woodfall

“The market will only get better for them.” – John Fleming

“This is a really positive experience, seeing the farmers improve the standard and quality of their lives with CPAR’s help. It was great to see that the benefits of the project can continue beyond CPAR’s involvement.” – Dr. Joseph De Wet