I have been wanting to write about our amazing stay at Ayat Guest House for some time now and have gotten off track, so without any further delay..
We can not say enough good things about Ayat House and the amazing people there. Wegayehu Gashaw is the owner of Ayat House and one of the most humble, caring, considerate men you will ever meet. His housekeeper Zemmet is an example of a true servants heart. The house itself is extraordinary. We didn't know what to expect exactly when we arrived at Ayat House. We had seen some other families posts about it and had talked to other families about it, but you can only learn so much in this way. We haven't done alot of travelling, and when we do it is usually with our own pop-up camper, we have never traveled internationally (the day we spent in Canada doesn't really count does it?)
We arrived at Ayat House on a Sunday Night at 10:30 pm. We were met at the gate by Wegayehu who helped us carry in our luggage. There was another family staying there for their last night and we felt terrible about arriving so late and disturbing them, but they even helped carry in our bags (thanks Hunts !) . We didn't sleep much that first night because of the anticipation of meeting Abeba the next morning. We woke up the next morning and were served coffee by Zemmet. Now I am a bit of a coffee hound (some would say a coffee snob now, in part thanks to Zemmets coffee) and this truly was the best coffee I have ever tasted, quite possibly the best coffee on the planet. It has caused me to find all other coffee (apart from Ethiopian) something akin to swill, but it is a small price to pay to have experienced it.
The Ayat House is exceptionally clean, well furnished and homey. It had three bedrooms, three full baths, dining room, living room and kitchen. Wegayehu has a very nice front yard and flower garden and the most amazing, beautiful patio. While we were there Wegayehu, Zemmet and her mother were preparing berbere for the year. The smell of the ingredients being dried in the sun and ground by hand will stay with us forever, we love all the spices were glad we were there for this.
Zemmet is an exceptional housekeeper. Anytime we left a dirty dish or piece of laundry laying around Zemmet always seemed to find it and clean it. She was always cleaning or keeping things tidy, but was never in the way or a bother. She would do laundry for us if needed and we did have her wash some things for us. We often heard her in the kitchen after we went to bed and she would quietly come in and tidy up the kitchen and living room. We appreciated Zemmet's kind, gentle personality especially when we brought Abeba to the guest house on the first day and Zemmet quietly rocked her to sleep when she was inconsolable, I just cannot find the words to describe what kind of an impact this had on us, I can only describe it as unselfish love in action.
Wegayehu is a wonderful host who attends to your every need. He made sure that if we needed anything to just let him know. He would often check in on us to see if we needed anything, though he was never a bother. He was so kind and we loved spending time talking with him and getting to know about his life and about the people of Ethiopia more. If you stay at Ayat House be sure to spend time talking with Wegayehu, your life will be richer because of it.
Ayat house can be rented by anyone staying in Ethiopia, not just adoptive families. It is within walking distance of the Gladney Foster Care Houses and is very conveniently located to all the other places that Gladney families go as well. We never spent over 40 minutes in the car getting anywhere from Ayat House, that is pretty good given the traffic in Addis.
Both Wegayehu and Zemmet live directly behind the Guest House in small apartments. Wegayeu told me that he used to live in the house itself until he decided to turn it into a guest house. He now lives in one half of what used to be the garage in a two room apartment. Zemmet lives in the other half. Why did he do this? Because he really has a servants heart.
In order to see if Ayat House is available; if you are a Gladney family it can be coordinated through your Gladney Caseworker. If you are not a Gladney family and want to stay at Ayat House here is the contact information for Wegayehu:
P.O. Box 121 Code 1035
The price is very good ($40.00 a night for us) but we included a substantial tip for both Wegayehu and Zemmet.
I know that I can't even begin to tell you all the great things about Ayat House here in this post. If you have specific questions or need more information, please contact me and I will be happy to answer your questions. Spread the word about Ayat House, it is really a wonderful experience.