We arrived in Addis Ababa around 8:30 PM on Sunday, October 31. Our suitcases didn’t arrive with us, and no one was at the airport to meet us either. Eventually the driver did show up and brought us to the SIM guesthouse. Since it was dark we didn’t see much of the city, but we did encounter our first beggar walking from the airport terminal to the van.
The next morning we awoke to find the city alive with activity. Our room was at the back of the guesthouse, so our view was a sea of tin-roofed houses and a school full of children in blue uniforms. Across the street on the front of the guesthouse is the largest hospital in Ethiopia, so crowds of people were always coming and going, along with those selling everything from chat to coffins.
SIM has three compounds in Addis Ababa. SIM Headquarters contains administrative offices, a garage, a dining room and meeting area, and housing for singles, married couples without children, missionaries from other areas of Ethiopia who are visiting Addis Ababa, and for short-termers. We got to meet many interesting people at SIM HQ, including missionaries working in remote areas among groups like the Mursi people.
We also visited the other two SIM compounds in Addis Ababa. The Press Compound has about ten houses for families, as well as the printing press. Bingham Academy is a school for missionary kids that was founded by SIM and is now open to children from other mission organizations.
Although we spent most of our time in Addis, we had the opportunity to make a day trip to the “Portuguese Bridge” about 2 hours drive north of the city. After being immersed in the urban chaos of Addis it was incredible to get a glimpse of the rural countryside and see some of the spectacular scenery.
The focal point of our visit, however, was the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology (the building with the green roof at the center of the map below). We spent one day at the school with the director, Dr. Desta Heliso. Desta graduated from London School of Theology a few years before me. He gave us a tour of the facilities. Right now, EGST is in the top three floors of a six story office building owned by the school. The other three floors are rented to businesses in order to generate revenue for the school. But the long term plan is to rent the entire building and build a new wing on the back of the existing building. Construction has already started, although the funding is not in place yet. I was also able to sit in on a lecture to get a feel for the school and to meet some of the students. And on Friday evening I had the opportunity to present a paper to the faculty and students.
If you have any questions about our time in Ethiopia please write!