Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Going to Church

Google Earth View with a Church at the Top
If you look at the Google Earth image of the countryside surrounding Motta, you will notice mostly a vast patchwork of fields at different stages of the cycle of growing and harvesting Teff, great paddocks freshly ploughed showing the dense black earth, others green with a crop that looks like some sort of pea variety, and many dusty yellow with the stubble of teff, the mounds of it scattered about, and then the village itself. But there is one other feature that caught my eye – every so often scattered across the landscape when viewed from 2 or 3 kilometers up there is a dark green roughly circular spot with a silver dot in the centre. These are the sites of traditional Orthodox Christian Churches, each circular with a conical shiny iron roof and surrounded by bush that hasn’t ever been cleared, land that hasn’t ever been cultivated or disturbed, home I read to uniquely preserved ecology, quite apart from the church building itself, some of which around here are said to be over a century old.
Four Nuns outside St Mariams Church
Today I did something Ive wanted to do for ages, and went to that Church in the picture above with Shewaye showing the way. The Google Picture above was taken 6 years ago – since then the village has grown out towards the church so its not quite as separated from the town as it once was and its only about 3km from the hospital. At the gate we met some wonderful old Nuns –I think they are often old widows who dedicate the rest of their lives to the church, and they encouraged us to go through, though the place initially seemed deserted.
A Massive and beautiful old Tree
Inside, it was wonderfully quiet and cool in the shade of the huge old trees in which we saw birds nests and almost immediately a couple of bird species I hadn’t seen before. It was really quite magical in there, restful and calm hidden away from the noise and busy dust of the streets, almost like already being in Church, no hassling children yelling “Hi” and “You” at me incessantly, no headache inducing sun, no dung to watch out for on the path, just solitude and tranquillity

St Mariams
The Church itself was closed but there was an armed Guard and one further old Nun keeping an eye on the place. We “chatted” and as always here they were only too pleased to have their pictures taken. I promised the old nun I would find out when the eye Doctor would be returning to the hospital, as she appeared to have a cataract in at least one eye, and also to get her photo printed and bring it back to her in a few days. We wandered about under the trees and finally exited by the opposite gate.
Another Nun at St Mariams

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