Saturday, April 7, 2012

Ethiopia {day 1}

Ethiopia {day 1}

It's 4:30 on Tuesday morning here and Trevor and I are wide awake.  We tried to shift our bodies to Ethiopian time, but after only sleeping 40 minutes in a  24 hour period including a 13 hour plane ride, two trips to the HOH to meet and spend time with Bek, checking into our guest house, and a meal at the restaurant, we were spent!  We went to bed last night at 5:30 and were sound asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow!  In a cruel trick, we woke up at 10:30 p.m. and thought that it was 5:30 a.m.  Trevor even got up to take a shower and then realized that it was still night.  Anyway, after sleeping 9 hours, we feel like we're on track to get into Ethiopian time by bedtime tonight:)

On our initial impressions of Ethiopia:
It hit me on Sunday morning in Washington DC as we were standing in line at the Ethiopian airlines gate that we were truly headed to Africa.  As a couple who is not very well travelled, we really didn't know what to expect.  I suppose some of what we saw when we were landing yesterday morning was what I would consider stereotypical Africa...beautiful horizons and strikingly lush yet dusty landscapes.  However, once we landed in Addis, it was clear that this is a big city in Ethiopia and with it comes lots of people!  Once we got our luggage {which all made it except for one of the couple's duffle of donations}, we headed through "security".  The security guard asked us what was in our luggage and when we told him clothes and toiletries, he told us just to go on through, no luggage check, no body scan, no removal of shoes, just expedited right to the front of the line.  Perhaps our looks of jetlag and general bewilderment made us seem safe.  

Once through the gate, we quickly found our driver from our guest house, got loaded up in the cars and headed to our space.  The driving here is CRAZY!! The infrastructure leaves something to be desired, with many unpaved streets and no signs or lights to indicate to drivers when to stop, yield, etc.  We did come up to a particularly busy intersection where some uniformed men (police officers?) were directing traffic.  It's just a good thing their car horns work and they are used to driving in this traffic and squeezing into tight spaces!  Another thing I noticed is that, in America, we get angry or irritated if someone honks their horn at us, but here in ET, it's just how they communicate.  We saw some very-near misses, but no one seemed upset, they just sort of smiled and plowed on through.

Anyway, we arrived at our guest house around 9:00 a.m. and, although we'd already been fed breakfast on the plane, the lady at our guest house brought us to breakfast, where I had some yummy fresh pineapple juice.  They are very hospitable here!

On meeting Bek:
Once settled, we called our in-country contact, Hermella, and she had the TDS  (our guest house) driver bring us to the HOH where Bek is.  Our hearts were fluttering, to say the least, and the first little one I saw was my friend, Emily's little guy.  He stood in the doorway of a little room and waved great big and my heart was already melted!!  Hermella then led all three families {us, the Dorrs, and Kristine} up the stairs to the meeting room and we traded cameras.

Kristine's little girl came first, followed by our sweet baby boy.  He was clinging tightly to Hermella, so we spoke to him for a minute and then took him. He looked so scared and just stared for a minute, and then he started to cry.  Now, I don't mean a little whimper, oh no...our boy has some lungs!!  We bounced him around and spoke sweetly to him and told him he was ours and we loved him so much.  But, poor little guy didn't want to hear it!  We passed him back and forth for what seemed like an hour {I honestly have no idea how long it was} while he screamed, chewed on his finger, and dug at his little ears.  We noticed right away that his two little bottom teeth had just broken the surface and I am kicking myself for not bringing baby oragel and an antibiotic for what I'm sure is an ear infection :(.

Anyway, he finally cried himself to sleep and I held my own sleeping baby for the first time.  It was wonderful!  About 30 minutes or so later, Hermella came in with our kids' lunches, so we woke him to feed him what appeared to be rice cereal with cheese {yum, yum!}.  He quickly ate every last bite with me holding him and Trevor feeding him.  He cried through the whole meal, randomly spitting the baby food on me (I consider it an induction into being his mother) and, when he was finished, Hermella cleaned his face and I swooped him up and held him close, telling him over and over again that he was such a good boy, that he'd slept good and had eaten good, that we loved him.  And, he stopped crying {cue hallelujah chorus}!

Trevor then held him for a while and he was a whole different baby, totally relaxed in his daddy's arms.  The crying was over except the occasional whimper while he chewed his finger and pulled on his ear. We then took him back to his room for nap time and headed to the TDS hotel for lunch.  Hermella told us we could skip the afternoon visit if we wanted to, but we just had her give us an hour for lunch and then come back to get us.

So, we went back for round 2.  It was much better this time, though he acted pretty lethargic.  He really really liked Trevor this time.  We went into the infant playroom and sat on the floor with the three babies.  We were all so tired we were somewhat delirious this time.  Trevor laid on the floor and Bek laid on his chest for a long time, just chillin and loving on his dad.  So sweet!  Once 5:00 hit, Hermella told us our time was up, so we returned him to his room and headed toward the van.  As we were leaving, we walked with the Dorrs as they returned their daughter to the toddler playroom to play with baby Moses and baby Epheim.  I took the opportunity to take a couple of pictures of the cute little guys and then we loaded up in the van and headed back to TDS for the night.


  1. Yay!!! I LOVE this! You have painted such a clear picture I can imagine myself there. I can't wait to read more!

  2. Yes, keep writing!!! I hope we can get together soon!!

  3. I loved reading about this. It makes me miss Ethiopia. :(


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