"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ethiopia Days 1 & 2

I never imagined how hard it would be to document our amazing trip to Ethiopia. I have been wanting to write about our journey since we have been home, but I wanted to make sure that I had time to process the trip and remember every last, amazing detail. Here we are at the airport getting ready to board our first flight. I didn't realize just how hard it was going to be to say goodbye to my three kids - hence the need for sunglasses on for the first picture...we were off to Chicago. I was so excited to get to Ethiopia. It was crazy to think that all of our planning, paperwork and preparations had finally come to end we were going to meet our little girl!

When we got to Chicago, we met up with our travel buddy JT.
JT and his wife Natalie adopted a little boy with same agency that we worked with (Arise for Children). JT was a lot of fun to travel with. We missed his wife Natalie on the trip, but she was starting her pediatric residency and couldn't travel to Ethiopia. Doug noticed JT's orange bracelet right away...great minds think alike. The three of us were so excited to board our flight to Frankfurt...

We flew Lufthansa from Chicago to Frankfurt, and then from Frankfurt to Addis. We had a pretty tough flight to Frankfurt...no personal video screens and a full plane - no room to stretch out. After four hours hanging out in Frankfurt (in the middle of the night our time), we were off to Addis. I couldn't believe we were only 8 hours aways from Ethiopia! Our second flight was much better - video screens for everyone! For the most part, we enjoyed Lufthansa - the food was pretty strange though; and nothing was as strange as the entertainment on our flight home ...seriously...we had a plane without personal video screens, so everyone was forced to watch the same thing... music videos from the 1980's. It was so funny! Does anyone remember the original MTV videos that played around 1984 or so? I spent the last two hours home watching videos like "Come on Eileen", "Tainted Love", and "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go." I never thought Duran Duran and Boy George would be my in-flight entertainment...

So here we are after about 26 hours of travel. We left home on Friday at about 10:00 a.m. and got to Addis at 6:30 p.m. the next day. We were chilled to the bone from our flights...bring extra layers if you fly Lufthansa...super cold planes.

It was surreal to finally be at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. I have seen so many pictures of the airport on other blogs, and here we were. The sights, sounds and smells of Ethiopia hit me the second we stepped out of the plane. Diesel and berbere will forever be smells that remind me of our time in Addis. From the moment we got into the van to drive to our hotel, we knew we were not in America. Driving (riding) in Addis is an adventure to say the least.

We arrived safely at the Panorama Hotel. The hotel was very nice. The workers were very kind and helpful. This is one of the views from our hotel room.

After we got settled in our rooms, we headed to the hotel bar to have dinner and watch a World Cup match - Ghana vs. the US. It was really cool to be in Africa during the World Cup. The locals were so excited about soccer. I was secretly happy that Ghana won the match we watched...they have such a love of soccer! Our food was excellent. After that first meal, we felt pretty good about our food options for the week ahead. Notice Doug's clean plate? He had his first of many steak dinners at the Panorama. Where else could you get an excellent meal for about 58 birr? - only about $6.

The next morning we were off to church. Our new Ethiopian friend Endris picked us up to take us to Beza International Church. It was so much fun! Beza was excellent. The service was in English. In fact, when we pulled up and got out of our van, we heard a familiar song that we actually sing at our church in the US. The music and message were awesome. I am so happy we were able to start our week in Ethiopia at Beza - it was the perfect start to our adventure.

Here we are with our friend Endris outside of Beza International Church. After church, we did a little bit of shopping with Endres. Just driving around Addis was an adventure and was something that I could have done all day. It is impossible to grasp and process everything you see. There are people everywhere. I love how the modern vehicles drive you around and then, out of nowhere, there is a herd of goats to wait for. Or how a large building in Addis is built using the most basic scafolding - wooden sticks.

Next, we met up with the third family that was adopting with Arise. We went to a traditional Ethiopian restaurant with Endres and got to experience a memorable Ethiopian dinner and dancing show.

Doug had no fear of the new foods were we trying...he was nicknamed "Ox" for the rest of our trip because he was the only (American) with us that would try the raw ox meat that was part of our dinner.

It is hard to get a still picture of the amazing Ethiopian dancers because they move their heads and bodies so wildly. It was a lot of fun to watch them. Of course, the dancers made their way to our table and some of our group were able to give the Ethiopian dancing a try.

Here is our entire Arise group. Keith and Chrisanna were a lot of fun to spend the week with. We thought this picture was pretty funny...Endris checking his cell phone...I guess you had to be there...

So after an excellent time at Yod Abysinia, we were headed back to our hotel to get ready for the big day...the next day we would all meet our kids for the first time. We were so excited to meet our little girl. Back at the hotel that night, we just said to each other, "can you believe we are really here?" "I can't believe will be actually be meeting our little girl tomorrow..."


  1. Awwww....thanks for sharing your story! I can't wait to hear more!!!!

  2. I know it is hard to find the time to write, but please do! love reading these updates. So excited to hear about KVI.

  3. Thank you for all of the details - for those of us still waiting in the process, it is so special to get to hear the specifics of your trip. I appreciate it so much and am on the edge of my seat to hear the next step. (Also fun to see J.T. in these pictures, because I have been following their blog too)