Sunday, January 3, 2016

Nov. 7-8, 2015: A Special trip to historic Lalibela with Tesfaye, Fanteye and Drs. Riley and Street

Memories of Lalibela

Before embarking on this Ghana/Ethiopia trip I decided to book a trip to Lalibela for the two spine surgeons that came with me from Vancouver, Dr. Chris Reilly and Dr. John Street, and for Tesfaye and Fanteye. I did this at the end of the first hectic week of spending time in Ghana at Dr. Boachie’s Focos spine surgery hospital and then being immersed over the first few days in Addis in Dr. Rick Hodes’ extraordinary life and medical practice in Ethiopia. We flew up early Saturday morning Nov. 7 to be back Sunday afternoon in time to meet up with the whole JDC field trip contingent arriving that day for a 5 day fact finding tour.  This was Fanteye's first time ever flying on a plane, and the first time for both of them and the doctors to see Lalibela.

I was previously in Lalibela during the 2008 trip with Nanci, Adam and Justin, and I knew this was an opportunity that the doctors and especially Tesfaye and Fanteye would enjoy and should not miss. Lalibela is the centre of Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity with a number of remarkable below ground rock hewn Churches dating to the time of King Lalibela some 1000 years ago.  Legend has it took around 23 years to build, but how it was accomplished truly boggles the mind and is one of those unexplained wonders of the world.

If you click here on this Lalibela trip 2015 Highlights photo album you will see some pictures from exploring the Churches Saturday afternoon, seeing them as the monuments they are; but these are not mere monuments, for if you stay over for early morning Sunday (as you really must) you see these extraordinary Churches come to life as real places of worship gathering in devout people from all over the region to pray.   will see in these pictures that both Tesfaye and, even more so, Fanteye are very devout.  In Ethiopia they respect all religions – what they don’t understand is people who say they have no religion.