An Ethiopian Diary: Day 5



Setting sun over the beautiful coffee plantations of Kaffa, Ethiopia.

When words fail you! There simply are not enough adjectives to describe the beauty of the region.

Driving from Bonga to Tum: lush, green, tropical, raw and inviting. It’s a place you wish you had more time for before you even arrive. Time to dive into the fleeting landscape you glimpse from the road. Time to create just the perfect painting that matches the beauty your eye beholds.

Leaving the Kaffa area of Ethiopia is difficult. It is opulently green and beautiful, studded with the tea and coffee plantations. It pulls at the heartstrings that long for the full feeling a gorgeous place like this evokes.


Kaffa coffee land … sigh.

We are four painters in a truck, asking our driver to stop every couple of miles to take photos. As for me, I am sketching from the truck as long as my energy allows. All this beauty speaks to my soul, and I want to absorb it fully — to do what an artist does, filter the experience through our own unique creativity, and make art from the experience to the best of our ability.


Out my hotel window in Bonga, Ethiopia.

The drive is long — more than six hours by car — but the landscape so marvelous, you hardly notice. And so, following the setting sun, we find ourselves in Tum, a jumping-off point for Maji, where we will go with Jane Kurtz and her sister, Caroline. I’m honored to be along for this special homecoming. Besides, if today’s drive was any indication, we are in for a visual treat.


No one has to remind these guys how to have fun!


Selfies, it turns out, are a good way to prompt laughter.

About Stephanie Schlatter Art

Stephanie Schlatter is an Artist who draws from the world for inspiration. While she calls Grand Rapids, Michigan, home she’s often off on new adventures. For more than a decade, her journeys have taken her across the globe. She has studied art both locally and abroad, including time in Mexico, where she decided to shift her focus from photography to painting. Stephanie's travels led her to found Absolutely Art: A Project for Change in 2006. Through this non-profit organization, she brings art instruction to the children of Ethiopia while supporting their education. Stephanie's work reflects an expression influenced by other cultures which resonates a variety of influences that have given her work direction.

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