Yesterday we took a trip to Washington DC as a part of our cultural training. We were simply dropped off in the city with assignments to find people of other cultures and talk to them, help them, share with them, and stretch ourselves in a dining experience.
We did get the opportunity to talk with some people on the streets, we walked all over the city, and we enjoyed a fabulous cultural experience at lunchtime. Joe Joe's uncle from DC joined us for the day and helped with navigation, it was also fun to talk with him and spend some time with him before leaving.
After scoping out a few places, we headed into an Ethiopian restaurant. Signs were up everywhere celebrating what appeared to be the new millennium year 2000. At first, I thought that they were just a few years behind on their decorations, maybe got a special deal from the dollar store down the street. But we asked our waitress (who did not speak much English) about it, and she very proudly told us that on September 12th, 2007, Ethiopia as a country celebrated its 2000th year! Wow! Makes sense: the book of Acts was written between 60-100AD and mentions Philip and an Ethiopian, so assuming the country was around a few decades before that, then yeah, 2000 as a country is pretty likely. Amazing. I do wonder how they chose September 12th 2000 years ago as the day though... I bet there's a good story somewhere. I asked out waitress if they backed up all of their computers last week. I don't think she got it. So back to our meal, wow the food was like nothing we'd ever had before. No utensils, so it was a fairly authentic dining lesson. We ordered the "banuta." On the menu for banuta, the only word in the whole food description we recognized was "lamb". Our food came out on giant plates, at the bottom was what looked like a big tortilla made from wheat, but it was very soft and spongy, it's called injura. On the wrap (and we had extra sponge wraps brought as well) were three piles: Cous Cous on the left, Feta cheese on the right, and a mixture of Lamb tips and a sponge stuff that I have no clue what it was, how it was made, or what was in it. We dove in fingers first (mine [Michael] protected by the spongewrap as best I could) and enjoyed. Not too bad... but certainly no Q'doba.
In the afternoon we did a little Wash DC sightseeing, always an impressive city to walk around, makes me want to visit other countries' capitals to see what they look like. We prayed for our nations leaders, we took some pictures until our battery died, we stopped in the air and space museum and saw just how many copies were in there from articles and artifacts about the Wright Brothers hailing from Michael's homeland.
And now we're tired. But very excited, we get to see our friends Nick and Suzanne today and hopefully see the UK-UL game tonight! Go Cats!
Swahili word for the day is sponji, which means sponge.