PILGRIMAGE TO LALIBELA
When you disembark from the aircraft at the small airport up north of Ethiopia, the pilot will give you the most welcoming message, which is spoken with great pride. He will finish off the message with “Enjoy Lali! Indeed it is a message that marks the beginning of a journey into a rich history, culture and religion that spans many centuries.
Lalibela, which is located in the Amhara region, is a mountainous town which is about 700 kilometers away from the capital city Addis Ababa; you can either drive there or take a two hour flight to visit the famous Rock Hewn.
Also known as St. George, the church is believed to have been the last to be constructed. According to myth, King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela constructed this master piece after receiving instruction from God. This cultural belief could be related to the biblical account of Noah, who received instruction from God to build an Ark. Biete Giyorgis is a replica of the Ark, with three tiers marked on the interior wall.
On the 28th of July annually the people gather in the courtyard of Biete Maryam (House of Mary) to celebrate the Day of the Virgin Mary. Men and women gather around the priests and monks who lead in the prayers that are punctuated with chants, clinging of bells and playing of the kebero by the deacons.
EYE OF THE NEEDLE
The principle behind the ‘eye of the needle’ is making sacrifices and in the case of the lesson that the Lord Jesus Christ gave, it was about making the ultimate sacrifice for one to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. A young man came to him to try and understand how he could enter the Kingdom of God. “Teacher what good thing must I do to obtain eternal life?”
BIKE CULTURE - CHIPATA
From as early as four in the morning you will see them speeding or slowing, you will see them ascending or descending or you will see them carrying passengers or goods. These are the bicycles of Chipata that have now been embedded in the lifestyle and culture of the people of Eastern Province. The Chipata city council estimates that there are 20,000 registered bicycles but there could be more especially in the rural areas of the district.
But how did this culture begin? How did bicycles take such a strong center stage in the economic and social activities of the Zambian citizens of Eastern Province? The history can be traced back to the early days of country’s independence when the UNIP government through the First and Second National Development Plans embarked on promoting economic growth in all the provinces. Well, Chipata received its share of the ‘cake’ when a bicycle plant, Luangwa Bicycle factory was opened.