Silk Factory and Museum

boys from the village between Layla and the Ritmo

Hello again from Ethiopia! These children are not orphans, so I can show you their beautiful faces!

Yesterday we visited the silk factory, Sabahar, and although it wasn’t fully staffed because it was Saturday, it was so fascinating to see!

'Har' means Silk, and Saba is the name of the woman who started this place

Those little flowers are made from silkworm cocoons.

Women spinning raw silk into thread

Beautiful silk fabric in the making

The shop at Sabahar sells amazing tablecloths, scarves, napkins, and pillowcases.

While we didn’t get an official tour, we were able to get a few words out of some of the workers. The silk starts out like this:

Silk worker with raw silk

It has bits of the dried shell of the silkworm larvae in it. These women pluck out the nasty bits and get it started spinning into thread.

Wooden grid of silkworm cocoons

spinning silk into thread

In addition to the silk factory, which we loved for it’s beautiful shady tropical garden as well as the fascinating silk workings, we went to the Ethnological Museum at the University. We got to see the preserved bedroom and marble bathroom of King Haille Selassie, lots of historic Ethiopian artwork, and learn about the Italian occupation under Mussolini. It was so interesting. Then our fabulous driver, Ermias, took us to an equally fabulous Chinese restaurant.

I got locked in the bathroom at the Chinese restaurant. No doorhandle on the inside, no toilet seat (which was fine because I try not to touch anything anyway), and the flickering fluorescent light made me feel like I was in an interrogation room.

I was eventually rescued when Charles and our friends started wondering where I was, and lunch was outstanding!

We spent the afternoon with the kids, and Alex had a bit of a hard time. He was tossing a soccer ball back and forth to Charles and another boy joined in the game and took over. Alex ended up crying and moping for a while. He really loves one on one time with Charles and it’s almost impossible to get away from the crowd of kids at the orphanage. The tears seemed to be more about having his daddy time interrupted than about the ball, because they started up again later that evening when it was time for us to go. Oh, the sweet heart of this little boy. He is so ready to move on with his life.

We are making friendship bracelets for our little ones with five colored threads. The colors include red, which is Alex’s favorite color, and green, which is Melkam’s. Fortunately with gold, green, red, white and blue, we cover the colors of both the Ethiopian and US flags, and there is a thread to represent each one in our family. We will each wear one of these until we are able to be together again. We hope it will give Alex something to cling to as we prepare to leave, and also bond the boys with baby Eliana.

Off to Layla house, it’s a beautiful day!

One response to “Silk Factory and Museum

  • Kristin

    Love the friendship bracelet idea. Great photos of the silk! Enjoy your last few days there…can’t wait to talk to you on the phone again.

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