All good things, as they say, must come to an end.
As my plane takes off out of Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, I listen to a song by a Michigan artist, May Erlewine, written for the people of Ethiopia. “Don’t Forget” is the title. It begins: “I will keep you with me as the city fades out of sight.”
I think of this magical experience to the unknown (to me and most), exotic, lush, tropical, landscapes, with breathtaking vistas and crisp, clean mountain air, with a group of people who are all funny and fun and willing to jump in with both feet in any given situation. Yes, this trip, these people, the whole experience, will be with me forever.
Children yelling out “you, you, you,” and doing their best to keep up with our truck; people seeing their own image, in the form of a photo they can keep, for the first time; a waterfall with the most glorious red flowers.
Nafis Bir, where team members Jane and Carloline would drive by its narrow pass with fright as children; now, it’s majestic and beautiful and nostalgic to them as they show us.
Jumping in and out of the truck countless times to record inspiration as it passed by us. We grabbed it and filtered it through our creativity, and now we, each one of us, processes all of this and makes art.
Thinking of a postcard one of our team members shared with us that read,  “When Artists Come Together a Masterpiece is Born” — that sums up our trip.
And as I see the art, both pouring out of me and coming from Ethiopia, there will be many masterpieces to behold as we take our experiences and turn them into something to benefit kids, to help provide education, literacy and, yes, books. We want to leave behind local language books for kids across Ethiopia; that is the real masterpiece,  the impact we hope to have — that, with your help, we can have!
Stay tuned for information on An Ethiopian Odyssey II: The Exhibitions, coming soon, and click here to learn more!