A Joyful Journey CP Africa Trip
Part Seven: Paradise Lodge

When arriving to the Paradise Lodge, we were greeted with selams and lemongrass drinks. As we walked to the reception desk, we were overwhelmed by the inspiring view from where we stood. Our eyes feasted on the 40 Springs rainforest, lake Chamo and Abaya, broad blue skies filed with luscious clouds , and never ending mountain ranges. If it wasn’t for the light intermitted wind, I probably would have thought I was in heaven.

Once we received our key, we adventured around the hotel property. It was so beautifully decorated with gorgeous flowers and traditional Ethiopian artworks. Our hotel rooms resembled huts like the ones we passed so many times along the road to Soddo. The ceilings where layered up with straw, the walls where built with stones (unlike the huts we saw), and our view from our porch was identical to the one at the reception desk.

After we were settled in, we decided to take advantage of the view and do our daily devotion outside. About 5 min. into our devo, Evelyn excitedly reached for her phone. From where I was sitting, I had no clue what she was doing or what was going on, but Ellen soon joined in to. That’s when I saw…the baboon.

I realized how exciting it was to see a baboon in real life, but I watch the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet regularly and Baboons aren’t always so friendly. So, thinking of all the things that could go wrong, I urged the girls that we needed to go inside! A few seconds later, it ducked under the fence and headed towards our porch!! We dropped all our belongings and booked it into the hotel room. The moment we closed the door, the baboon stopped inches away from the door. Watching a baboon that close was an amazing experience and luckily we had more chances to interact with animals the next day.

Early the next morning, we were ecstatic for the safari at Nechisar National Park. Our party included the three of us, Cathy , our guide in training, our driver, and our park guide. During our trip we saw hippos, crocodiles sun bathing and swimming, native birds, antelopes, and herds of zebras. We also watched a fisherman catch a Nile Perch over half of his height and hiked up a rocky trail to the “golden grass” plain of the National Park.

Being in such close contact with nature in Ethiopia helped me remember how multifaceted God actually is. Constantly I see myself relying on God for guidance, answers, friendship, strength, as my shepherd, but I forget there’s a creative side to him as well. The gorgeous sites I saw on the safari got me thinking, how many times do I look at the world I live in and appreciate what God has created for me? There is so much beauty surrounding us, but do we take the time to appreciate the gifts God creates each day, or do they go unnoticed?




Bianca Buentello

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