26 May UF in Ethiopia day 7: Lake Tana and traditional dancing
When in Bahir Dar, some of us were not in our best shape due to either the long bus ride, the new bacterial strain or maybe not using hand sanitizers enough. Some of us needed to rest for a while, if we put it that way. Others (Ebba and Julia) also started to feel a bit stressed regarding deadlines for school work. The rest of the group, aka the survivors, went to visit LPI (Life and Peace Institute) which is an Uppsala-based NGO that works with non-violent conflict transformation programmes. In Bahir Dar they have a project at the university called “Sustained Dialogue” in which students meet up to discuss and try to solve the issues that divide them at campus, for example ethnicity and religion. The students participating in the project, that we had the chance to meet with, told us about their work and left us very impressed, as well as happy about meeting people our own age and being able to discuss our impressions during our stay in Ethiopia and compare the societal systems of our respective countries. International relations at its best – many of us regarded this the most rewarding meeting of the whole trip!
A group of happy students after fruitful discussions
In the afternoon some of us wanted to do some touristic activities. We found a guide that took us on a boat trip on lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia and the source to the Blue Nile. We were all really excited about this boat trip!
Maria and Åsa overlooking the beautiful Lake Tana
Our end destination was an old monastery, as there are several monasteries located on different small islands in lake Tana. The monastery we visited was called Ura Kidane Mehret, founded already in the 14 th century! The Ethiopian Orthodox church goes way back, and it was cool to see the old paintings in the monastery. We also visited a museum where we could see books, crowns and robes from previous emperors of Ethiopia. Some history nerds in the group (Ebba and Bea) were really hyped about all these historical findings.
When we came back from our boat trip, we met the others at a restaurant where we had a lovely dinner together. Some of our new-found friends from the morning joined us and after the dinner we went to a traditional dance performance together. Our friends were really kind to us, and it was AMAZING to see all the people dancing, including some of us.
In short: day 7 was definitely a really great day, except from the diseases.
Ebba and Julia