The idea of “Living Entoto” as the title of our family website magically appeared after much familial debate. We wanted a hook for this website that might summarize what we hope for by relocating temporarily to Ethiopia. I initially angled toward what “we” (as in Maya, Sarah and I) could write together here. While doing so, I couldn’t get De La Soul’s seminal 1989 album “3 Feet High and Rising” out of my head. The killer “Schoolhouse Rock” sample of “3 is a Magic Number” led to my temporarily tortured spin - “We is a Magic Number.” Thankfully, hindsight is often 20/20. I now agree with the polite consensus that said it wasn’t my best work. Yet it provided a gateway concept that made us focus upon the “where,” well beyond just the “who” and the “why.”
Looking toward Addis Ababa from the road up into the Entoto Mountains.
When Sarah and I visited Addis Ababa in February of this year to do advance scouting, we had the pleasure of being invited on a training run with two very cool American ex-pats (Melissa and Margot). We headed up into the Entoto Mountains north of Addis. Melissa and Margot were down to their final tapering runs before competing in a half marathon in Hawassa (south of Addis). Even though the altitude was a concern (Addis sits at approximately 7700 ft. above sea level and it’s more like 9000+ on the way up to Entoto National Park), we leapt at the offer. Leading the way was their Ethiopian guide, who led us down paths I’d have never been able to discern.
Hoping to avoid a trailside yard sale.
An easy pace over four miles through brushy eucalyptus groves felt like far more distance than that. We ran past local women and children gathering wood to sell as firewood down in Addis. Occasionally, we encountered runners with posh running gear and the look of world-class athletes. It was a fascinating crossroads that I’d have studied much more closely had I not been so focused upon how much the altitude was kicking my butt. On the way back down into Addis, we asked our driver to make an extra stop so that we could take some pictures. Sarah and I broke an unwritten rule of avoiding a risky perch simply for a peerless pose. I’m glad we did.
Post-run smiles with our guide.
A couple of posers. Perched on the edge of a drop you’re happy to not see.
And I’m even more pleased that we brought back a first taste of the Entoto hills and parkland and meadows and so much more just outside of Addis. So when we debated what to call this yearlong adventure’s portal for y’all to keep up on our progress, “Living Entoto” is what (finally) came to mind. While on a run here in Seattle, as karma would have it. Yes, there are double if not triple entendres included (think “living in total” and maybe even the unintended song “Africa” by Toto…a friend of Maya’s cleverly made that connection the first time she heard the name…I might never have caught that one if she’d not started singing the tune). There’s more to say about it, but I hope you can suss out the point.
With that said, we’ve just finished another full day of packing prior to our move. We leave for Addis in 4 days. Today’s Sarah and my 18th wedding anniversary. Even as we put our lives in boxes (we’re renting out our house in Seattle) and bags (mainly clothes and electronics to bring on the plane with us), I can’t get over just how fortunate the totality of our lives feel right now. More to say on that later. Thanks for reading this and other early posts. Still much to do cleaning this up. That’ll come, we assure you. Rock on.