Saturday, March 31, 2012


Dinsho is situated near Bale National Park, southeast of Addis Ababa (Ethiopia’s Capitol). Dinsho is home of beautiful landscapes, the night cold, endemic animals, one of my favorite trees in Ethiopia, the kosso tree, and k’olo (a roasted barley snack). During my brief stay in Dinsho, I celebrated the dawn of 2012 with other Peace Corps Volunteers from around the country and got outdoors, into some elevation that pulled at my PNW love’n heart strings. Here are a few pictures from that trip:

Drew, Dressed for Dinsho Cold
Before we made it out there, we were advised to bring our warmest clothes and sleeping bags. But, living in the heat of southwest Ethiopia, I forgot what cold felt like. Down jacket, sweater, and windbreaker tightly bound with a wool scarf meant survival, not comfort. Drew, a PCV just a half days journey north of Dinsho, came prepared.

Entering a Kosso Grove
Sometimes nature shakes me and usually it’s from a mountain top but on occasion I’m amidst trees of unusual forms. The kosso tree (hagenia abyssinica) can be and often is gnarly and huge. Flowers grow in clusters from its limbs that seem like grapes from a distance.

Bale from Dinsho
The landscape is amazing and easily appreciated with a little elevation. The sunsets more than paid for the cold.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to the city of Lalibela with my parents. This trip was exciting for two reasons. First, I hadn't seen my mom or dad for over a year. Second, I had seen photos of the stone churches of Lalibela and known of its '8th wonder of the world' status long before knowing I would ever travel to Ethiopia.

We started our trip at an airport,which surprised me in its appearance of seeming like a bus station,waiting for favorable currents in a crowd to bring us closer to boarding our mode of transportation.

After arriving in Lalibela, we started our tour immediately by visiting the legendary churches and the town's marketplace. The rock hewn churches were amazing, consisting of entire buildings skillfully dug out of the ground and beautifully crafted by hand. I have never seen anything like it and recommend anyone spending any time in Ethiopia to make an effort to visit them. In addition, the market was one of the best I've been to in country (you start to get a feel for good markets based on products for sell, level of harassment, and ease of bartering and making friends with market vendors).

The second day during our stay in Lalibela, we took mules up a mountain, Ashetin Mariam, where a cave monestary was located and where I was able to hire a couple of local kids to take me up something of a scrambling trail to the very top. The landscape up there was something of a different world when comparing to my village town in Southwest Ethipia where short and soft rolling farmlands are the panorama. The weather, too, was very different and reminded me of the high sierras in California's Yosemite Park. After making it back down near the monestary, I joined my parents and the church's congregation in a communion of local beer and dark wheat bread: Delicious.

Our guide was exceptional, taking us everywhere we seemed interested and presenting the sites and sounds of Lalibela, each one better than the last. The photo above was taken at the last stop of our tour, St. George Church, which is supposedly one of the better crafted churches and possibly the most photographed (it's the only one currently not covered by a giant structure protecting it from the elements).