When you visit Ethiopia with us you will see this beautiful country and the work that Meketa USA is doing there. A part of the proceeds of the tour goes directly to help Meketa USA’s work supporting the Jews of Gondar.
Learn the unique story of the Ethiopian Jews and their long and tragic history. From the kingdom of the Queen of Sheba, to the Jews who left in Operation Solomon, the Beta Israel have been sovereigns and slaves, commanded vast areas and suffered exile because of their faith.
The Northern Ethiopia Tour
This tour is an introduction to this amazing country in all its richness – its culture, its music, its food, its religion, its historic sites, its wildlife and of course its hugely welcoming people. It starts and ends in Addis Ababa, and visits Axum, Lalibella, Gondar, Bahir Dar, and Lake Tana.
You will see a few highlights in Addis Ababa; the funerary stelae and Sheba's Palace in Axum; the Rock Churches, the monastery, and a local market in Lalibela; the Gelada monkeys in the Simien mountains; and the beautiful Lake Tana and its ancient monasteries.
The tour also provides a chance to engage with the Jewish community in Gondar and visit Meketa projects. You can visit the After School Club, celebrate Shabbat at the Synagogue, and visit the castles of Gondar, the Debre Birhan Selassie Church, and the Ambober and Wallaker Jewish villages.
Did you know that Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, it has never been under colonial rule, it is almost twice the size of Texas?
Would you consider volunteering?
We welcome volunteers who are interested in offering their skills directly, to help out at the After School Club, or to provide medical and other services for the community. We organise tailored volunteer experiences for suitable individuals or small groups depending upon skill set and opportunities available.
Volunteering provides a unique opportunity to see a fascinating country, experience a different Jewish culture and really make a difference to one of the most disadvantaged Jewish communities in the world. The project is based in northern Ethiopia, in the bustling city of Gondar, population 150,000. It is home to one of Ethiopia’s major universities and a first rate teaching hospital. Gondar town has many modern amenities but venture a little outside and you will experience rural Ethiopia as it has been for centuries.
Here is a short article, written by Sylvie, who spent three months teaching the After School Club children in Gondar.
Coming from British schools where I have come to expect one chair and desk per pupil, it was a bit unexpected to see the kids here sitting on plastic garden chairs with small occasional tables or no tables at all, and on occasions to go through days without any water for them to wash their hands or paintbrushes or any electricity for lighting. The kids have also sometimes looked too tired or hungry to concentrate, so flexibility has always been a must but once the logistics were in place and once the problems of communication were solved - when one of the ever patient Ethiopian members of staff came in to translate or when one of the cleverer children understood what I wanted to teach and explained it to the others - my classes finally got moving.
I have had some of my best ever teaching moments in this little after-school club. For example, I tried for a week to teach the children a simple Hebrew song and thought I had failed miserably. After locking the club at the start of the following week, I started to go back into town feeling rather deflated, when two little girls took hold of my hands and others arrived to form a circle and right there, in the middle of the street, we sang and danced on that very song.
I am very happy to have come to Gondar to volunteer for Meketa. The dedication, talent and care of my colleagues, the warmth and enthusiasm of my students and Ethiopians’ sense of identity and hospitality have made it a joyous and fascinating experience.