Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ethiopia trip continued...

Pictures first, this time!
M, our driver, loading up the van with donations.

B and I, shortly after our meeting.

Mother and M. Yes, he is wearing a purple tracksuit. No, he is not a girl. Colors, I've found, don't really matter when you have three items of clothing :)

M, Mother, and B.

M thought it was hilarious to honk Mother's nose.

This photo just cracks me up! He makes that face all the time, mostly when he wants something from you :). The man holding him is P, one of the dads in our travel group.

The set up for a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.


Both of them trying to blow up the balloon at the same time. At one point, M was blowing into one end, while B was blowing into the other. So cute!!

My ravioli!

I thought this made for a very pretty picture. The curtains and the roses complemented each other so nicely.

One of the many gorgeous flowers.

Friday we went to the orphanage at about 10:00 to meet the kids. I was nervous and excited, all at the same time. The drive to W House was quite interesting. I saw lots of little tiny storefront shops, and shoe shining stations, and lots of animals (mainly goats and sheep). I saw poverty, and happy people, and dust. I saw a need for the Lord, and I felt right at home!
When we pulled in the gate at W house, I saw a bunch of children, some holding balls, some running, some standing still. They were all looking at the van. I was one of the first to get out, and I saw B right away. She had on a pink barbie shirt, pink pants, and flip-flop sandals. When she saw me, she smiled, and walked up to me. I smiled at her, and she stuck out her hand. I took it, and she bowed her head and introduced herself. Then I hugged her, and she hugged me. And I kissed her cheek, and she kissed me right back! My heart was so very happy! When she caught sight of Mother, her face lit up with an enormous smile, and she ran to her, and hugged and kissed her too. I started looking for M, and saw him, standing, looking very confused. I scooped him up, and told him who I was . "Ehet. Sister.", I said. He was dressed in a purple tracksuit, and shoes three sizes too big. Quite a combination :)
I brought him over to Mother, who hugged and kissed him, and he seemed to recognize her, but he still looked very confused. After our initial meeting, B took me around, introducing me, telling all her friends I was her sister. Oh, my heart swelled at every moment! We played outside with them for a while, kicking around soccer balls, blowing bubbles, and taking lots of pictures, and all the families got to know their new children a little bit. That is, we played until it started to pour! We ran into the main building, which was all set up for a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. One of the nannies was wearing traditional dress, and serving the coffee, which is very thick and bitter. They had a TV in there, and were playing an Ethiopian dance video. Dance in most parts of Ethiopia consists of jerky head and shoulder movements. It probably doesn't sound very cool when I write it, but it's amazing to watch, and I'm convinced they dislocate their shoulders or something like that. We stayed a bit longer after the ceremony, then said goodbye to all the children, and assured them we would be back tomorrow. It was hard to say goodbye, but it was made easier by the fact that we would be back there in a few short hours.
We went for lunch at an Italian sorts bar. It was kind of funny, but very good :)
After lunch, we were scheduled to go to the National Museum, but were unable to, due to a power outage. Instead, M, our driver, took us to Churchill road to do some shopping. Churchill road is a long stretch of little shops carrying all sorts of "touristy things". Most shops were basically a hole-in-the-wall, with barely enough room for two people. Some were bigger. They had Coptic cross necklaces, bracelets, art, pottery, clothing, toys, drums. And it was all made in the traditional Ethiopian style. We spent about an hour there (which was much too short! If you plan on going to Churchill, try to have at least two hours if you're trying to do some serious shopping :]) , then headed back home.
Another thing about Churchill is the amount of beggars. Usually they are children, but occasional a disabled adult, or a mother with her child came up too. Those kids were mighty persistent, but since my parents had been to Ethiopia already, I was somewhat prepared. I had bought a bunch of gum in the States, and I started handing that out. They usually took it, and were appeased for a while.
It just broke my heart, and I tried to be as generous as I could, but if I wanted to give Birr, I had to do it very surreptitiously, otherwise every beggar for about three miles would swarm me. One boy was especially persistent, and would walk right next to me as I went down the line of shops, I never understood his name, but his story kept changing. He even recognized me when we went back on Monday. "Hey! Pretty Lady, give me money. I hungry. I need exercise book. Money, please!"
So I gave him more gum.
Even when I was in the car, people would come up to the window and knock, trying to get our attention. If there were only two or three, I would open the window a crack, and push some money out, but if there were more, I could only smile at them, and try not to cry.
When the car was stopped, waiting to go, mothers with little babies would come up to the window, and have their children knock, asking for money. It was amazingly heartbreaking...
We were on our own for dinner, so Mother and I walked down to the TDS hotel restaurant with a couple other families for some food.
We crashed back at the hotel, and slept well :)

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