Part 3: On the way to Soddo we saw…

(Sights completely normal to people living in Ethiopia, but unusual and charming to this Idaho girl.)

SoddoDrive (5)

  • No stop lights.  Not one.
  • Exactly two stop signs, complete ignored by everyone. (This total includes many miles of driving in Addis).
  • Goats and sheep and cows walking down the road, driven by children spinning ropes.


  • A dozen or so people daubing mud on the walls of a house.
  • Gaggles of Muslim girls clad in long dresses and scarves that were all the colors of the rainbow.  ( The girls say this following photo is of Oromo girls.)


  • A farmer plowing a field with a ox and an old-fashioned plow.

SoddoDrive (1)

  • A boy balancing precariously on the back axle of a horse-drawn cart clutching the cart for dear life with one arm and and cradling a chicken in the other.
  • Preschoolers standing on the sides of highways, some with no mommas in sight.
  • A lady walking with a  tray of injera balanced on her head.
  • A man walking with a potted plant balanced on his head.

SoddoDrive (3)

  • A girl walking along in a long skirt and a head scarf and wearing a striped shirt emblazoned with “Obama” in huge letters.
  • Kids riding flat-bed donkey carts while standing– their own personal chariots.
  • A bare-bottomed baby riding on his momma’s back.  (“Do the mommas get peed on?” I asked Sophie.  “Yup.”)
  • Heavily loaded donkeys trotting purposefully down the road with no owner evident.


  • After many, many miles of swerving around people walking on roadsides, a sign warning of people walking.
  • After many, many miles of cows everywhere on the roads, a sign warning that there were cows ahead on the road.

And finally a few words from Emily and Julianna about driving in Ethiopia.

SoddoDrive (4)

Emily: In Ethiopia people walk in the road as much as they do on the side walk  and People honk all the time and they tail gate but we  haven’t see very many cars dents so they must be really  good drivers.  I am just over joyed that all of my driving will be in the US.

Julianna: I was having a great time but my sister Lidya was not. She was holding on for dear life.   Our driver was swerving around people walking in the road, and around other cars.

Mary:  Our driver, Dawit, is excellent, and much more cautious than most. But still often you need to pass goat herds and bajaj‘s and slow moving trucks. I did a lot of reminding myself that God is in charge of our lives, and not the driver of the oncoming truck.   And we made it safe to Soddo!

Here’s the view out the front door of our guest house, which is on the grounds of the Soddo Christian Hospital compound.

SoddoDrive (9)


  1. Thanks for updating often about your trip. I am hanging on every word, imagining the place our son was born. Hopefully we can take him to visit when he is older.

  2. Hanging on your every word!

  3. Oh, and Emily’s comment totally cracked me up!!

  4. Thanks to those commercials this is not how I pictured Ethiopia to be. It’s nice and green and kind of normal looking. And paved roads! I’m so glad your girls are letting you share this huge part of their lives with us.


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