Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Obelisks and the Ark of the Covenant

Aksum (or Axum) draws tourists for a few reasons. The stelae or stone columns that stand at one end of town, the Church of St. Mary, and the baths of the Queen of Sheba are all within an easy walk. After the camp chores, we strolled into the sights. The town has a ready, eager posse of guides offering to give you a complete tour for a fee. Unless you are here as part of a tour, the places of interest can be seen alone. 

The obelisks are massive and one wonders how they were erected. It seems to be a mystery though many theories exist. One of them has fallen and it gives you a sense of the heft of these stones. Below is the fractured one. 

The Orthodox Church in town is dedicated to St. Mary and is believed to house the ark of the covenant. Ironically, where the ark is located is off-limits to women. The lady in our group was motioned away from that site. There were many women within the compound but none were allowed within that area. 

Prayer is an important aspect of the local population. Indeed, this morning's public address system for believers was addressed to Christians. It was an early wake up call. No one can claim that Ethiopians are malingerers. Attending church is a family affair and this child has just done his devotion.

By midday, it is hot and we get hungry. A 15 year-old student approached us and struck up a conversation. Articulate and friendly, he did come on to us as a promotional representative. He simply wanted a chat. We learned about his life in the village and his aspirations to read history and study maths at university. How refreshing to meet a fine young man without ulterior motives. Kbrom has a bright future, wherever life takes him.

1 comment:

  1. Good to see you connecting with the kids. That always makes for interesting pictures and stories, and it's great to see that they have aspirations despite their humble roots. We're so fortunate to have access to education in the West, something that's easily taken for granted. Great photos, thanks for sharing.