As we travel through the countryside and up the mountain to Lailibela I notice how the green trees pop out against the brown earth. We see traditional round huts scattered about. As we reach closer to the town, the houses begin to look more like your average shed made out of corrugated tin with a dirt floor. We enter into the town on it’s dirt roads and can feel the energy of the town immediately. People go about their lives in the streets, giant dump trucks roar through carrying workers like cargo, women carry plastic water jugs on their heads and everybody turns to look at the foreigners, especially the children. We arrive at the hotel and are greeted with lush green gardens and wonderfully colourful and harmonious birds.
Upon landing at Lailibela Airport it was clear that we were in Sub-Saharan Africa. Looking around at the landscape it looked much like the many images that I had seen before in popular media. We passed through the tiny airport and met up with our nineteen year old guide, Gestachew. His wiry frame, enormous almond shaped eyes, and noticeable gap between his front teeth when he smiles make him seem cartoonish but he certainly is friendly enough. Here our adventure begins and we climb into the van that will take us up the mountain and into Lailibela, home of the UNESCO protected Rock Churches.