Guided by our friend (now GREAT friend!) Richelle- we made our way all the way up Entoto by minibus. The Entoto mountains surround Addis Ababa, and a historic Orthodox Church is located on the highest peak overlooking the city. Emperor Menelik II built his palace near the Church and lived their with his family before the modern city of Addis was established. One day his wife was overlooking the valley and had a vision. She told her husband that a new city should be started and their empire should move down the mountain- thus Addis Ababa (which means "New Flower") was founded.
Now, I am not going to lie. I wasn't excited to take the minibuses. They were cram packed with people- and as I mentioned before- the traffic in and of itself scared me. BUT I hopped on in willing to just go with the flow and let myself really "experience" the culture. It was def. a demonstration of trust. We had no idea what was going on and just followed along as Richelle led us from one mini bus to another asking in Amharic "Where are you going". Each mini bus has a mini route that goes to a designated place. So it honestly took about 15 rides to get up Entoto. We traveled this way for about an hour. Each mini bus slightly different. Some with many seats, others with a few and lots of floor space. One thing the same- each of them did not accept an empty inch so we always waited to take off until a few peoples laps were occupied. I felt like such an outsider- mainly because I didn't understand anything being spoken around me. The bodies next to me were SO close, but all I could do was smile. I had nothing to say besides the few words I had picked up at this point such as hello, please, and thank you. I wished I could talk to people or understand what the drivers were yelling out the window.
Anyway- we made it up to the top- and it was beautiful! A sight to see. That was the first and last minibus ride. A few days later, a minibus exploded from a bomb likely placed by terrorists. a few days later, it happened again. Needless to say- no more minibuses for us. Thank the Lord for protection. However, our friend Richelle continued to ride them daily. Minibuses are the cheapest way of transportation and for most people, the only option to get to and from work or the market. I was struck by Richelle's statement, "Afterall, my life is worth no more than anybody else who rides the minibuses." It is true. I was sort of ashamed by my fear realizing most people don't have the luxury of paying for drivers or taxis to take them from place to place without fear. As our time in country continued, I would continue to be reminded over and over again of how fortunate I am.
Below: Entoto Church and some kids that couldn't get enough of having their photo taken.