Pastor Frank Malizzo is in Awassa, Ethiopia for a 10 day mission trip with Training Leaders International. Keep checking back for updates on his trip and to see how God is using Pastor Malizzo to minister to local pastors in Ethiopia.
There is dust everywhere.
It billows up from the tires and feet and hooves of all that move on the road. It hangs in clouds after the heavy trucks pass, and falls like fine mist on the bushes that line the way. I taste it in my mouth. I feel it in my eyes. The dust passes freely into our small bus, as it drives along with windows open, and packed with weary travelers that bounce around like rag dolls.
My entrance to Awassa is different this time. This is my first trip since the new ‘airport’ has been finished. We de-plane on the open pavement, and find no other aircraft in sight. A man in a bright vest, waving from the end of the blacktop, beckons to us, and motions for us to make our way up a dirt path, and between the only two squat buildings on site. We never go inside. We never see another passenger. All of the security points and ticket counters and identity checks are but a faint memory at this point. It seems that we make up the entirety of the traffic here this afternoon.
After collecting our bags and boarding the bus, we begin our crawl along the dusty trail that leads around the lake, and back toward the city. There is a humble beauty in the landscape here, and in the people.
Thatched, round huts dot the roadside. Women in full dress seem out of place, against simple block houses with empty doors. Barefoot or sandal-clad children run nearby. Surely their lives are not easy, yet they seem always to be playing.
Eventually, the dust begins to mingle with the familiar smells of diesel and ash, and I would know without even looking that we are now nearing the city.
Tonight we will rest lying down, and that will be a welcome respite. Tomorrow we will worship with our Ethiopian brothers and sisters. The week’s work lies ahead of us, but for now, we must rest, and then sing. I am tired.