Dawitt had proposed an excursion to Arba Minch, so very early Sunday morning we left Soyama and drove west. Several young people from Dawitt's family came with us. The road goes south of Lake Chamo and then turns north at Konso. Two and a half years ago, T and I had gotten our car stuck in the Segen River, but now there is a nice bridge.
In Arba Minch we visited a crocodile farm, where crocodiles are raised for their skin. Unfortunately the boat tours to the wild crocodiles were not operating. We also were not able to see Nechisar National Park because we didn't have the right kind of vehicle. But we did visit the forty springs that give Arba Minch its name and spent a relaxing afternoon splashing in the water. For dinner we went to the gorgeous Paradise Lodge, which has a view of Lake Abaya to the north and Lake Chamo to the south. We drove back to Konso to spend the night in a hotel that another of Dawitt's brothers is building.
|view of Lake Chamo from Paradise Lodge|
I definitely got too much sun in Arba Minch because I was exhausted and nauseated all the next day. In the morning we drove back to Burji and went to the school to deliver our donation of backpacks. I was able to stay upright and give a little speech. The principal called the top students to come and receive backpacks and I shook each child's hand and gave them their award. But then I really needed to sit somewhere cool. A wanted to stay and play soccer with the kids after school, so I agreed to let him stay there while I went to the home of one of the village leaders to rest. A spent the next couple of hours not only away from me, but away from any English-speaking person. An adult from his family stayed with him. This was a very meaningful moment for me, coordinating with A's Ethiopian family to care for OUR child.
In the afternoon we went back to Soyama. Except for a visit to a local development organization, I spent most of the afternoon in bed. Luckily A had kids to play with and relatives to visit with.
In the evening we drove one last time to the village to say our goodbyes. The mood was good. I think everyone was happy with how A is doing and felt confident that they would see him again before too long.
From the village we drove north to Amaro and spent the night at the house of yet another of Dawitt's brothers.