"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."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ethiopia Days 4 & 5

Day 4 was so much fun! We finally had our little girl with us, and now the real fun began. It was so awesome to wake up with Grace Hiwot with us. She is such a trooper! She was smiley and brave and happy from the moment she woke up.. She loved looking out our hotel room window. There is so much to see on the streets of Addis Ababa. I wonder what she was thinking that morning. Grace Hiwot looking out of our hotel window.This is the view she spent time checking out...there were a lot of (very noisy) dogs that she liked to watch. She would see a goat or two as well.

Of course, there were many interesting people to watch.

The streets of Addis are full of little shops like this "butcher shop."

It is the rainy season in Ethiopia right now, so it was often cloudy and the sky was often gray.

The sheer number of people on the streets in Addis was mind boggling. I wanted so badly to learn about all of their stories. It was so hard to imagine what their lives were like, and yet it was clear that we saw what life is like for them. I find myself thinking about Ethiopia a lot now. My mind keeps going back to the images that we saw everywhere we went. I hope I never forget them - I want to remember and be inspired by these amazing, resilient people.

Shoe shine stands were everywhere. It is so interesting that people who have so little take such pride in having clean shoes.

At first JT and I thought this man was carrying bamboo of some sort. Our driver laughed at us and explained that it was sugar cane.

More goats on the streets...

So,on day 4 we headed to Hope Orphanage to do some of our required paperwork. It was nice to visit another orphanage. It was heartwarming to see more beautiful kids and to offer them a little bit of our attention (and a few dum dum suckers and stickers). All of the kids at Hope were already referred to families, so it was really nice to know that the kids would be joining there families as soon as they "passed court" and had their embassy appointments.

We met with the Hope staff - they were very helpful and professional with us. We needed to go over our paperwork and talk about our upcoming embassy appointments. We visited Hope for about an hour and then headed to Faith Orphanage. Faith was also a nice orphanage. There were about 150 kids living at Faith. It seemed huge. There were so many babies there! The orphanage was a large, newer building with many floors. We were able to tour the orphanage and see many of the baby rooms. We are not allowed to post photos from our visits to the orphanages. I wish I could. I would love to share the children's beautiful faces with everyone. We were told that about half of the kids at Faith are already referred to families and the others are still waiting to be adopted.

We were lucky enough to spend a little bit of time with the older kids at Faith. They had such pure joy as they learned how to throw an "American" football and as they jumped rope and enjoyed stickers. Once again, the kids were so well behaved.

After visiting the orphanages, we all enjoyed lunch at Island Breeze Restaurant. The food was excellent. The restaurant owners are from the US, and they make sure that all of the food is safe to eat (washed veggies, etc.). The restaurant owner is an Ethiopian man who was born in Ethiopia and moved to the US as a little boy. He has moved back to Addis (with his American wife) to help out his family. I would recommend Island Breeze to any of you who are traveling to Addis. It was a nice change of pace to be able to order pizza, burgers, etc. Hiwot had her very first French fries at Island Breeze.

After lunch, we decided to split up the group a little. The dads took the kids back to the hotel to nap and hang out and the ladies went shopping for soveniers. We were lucky enought to have one of our wonderful drivers with us, so she helped us to get the best prices at the local shops. She was such a good bargainer, that she would not let us buy anything that was not a good deal. Unfortunately, I had to pass on a few things that I really liked, because she told me "NO...do not buy it here..." and then I felt like I couldn't disagree with her.

We shopped for a very long time. I ended up buying a lot of really nice things. I wanted to buy a number of gifts for Hiwot to give her each year on her "gotcha day." Unfortunately, some of my favorite things got broken on the flights home (jobena coffe pot, etc.). We were doing such a great job of shopping, that I forgot to keep up my water consumption and I think I ended up getting a little dehydrated. The altitude in Addis is really high and I was worried about it when I started the trip. I was very conscientious about drinking lots of bottled water and I had been feeling great. With all of our shopping, I sort of lost track of my need to stay hydrated and it ended up catching up with me that night.

We made it back to the hotel. It was fun to see the kids again and the dads were doing great. We all had dinner at the hotel. I was starting to not feel too well at this point. As the night went on, I felt a little worse. It was a long night, but Hiwot did great. We played with some toys, read some books, and we even got to Skype home with our three kids in the US. It was so nice to be able to introduce our kids to their little sister. It did make me miss our kids back home though. It was pretty incredible that we were able to Skype and see our kids who were on another continent!

Day 5 was our "sick day." I was not feeling great and we suspected that Hiwot was not feeling too great. She kept poking at her ears. We knew that it would be horrible to fly home with an ear infection, so we wanted to take her to see a doctor to make sure she was alright. One of the other families also wanted to take their little girl to the doctor, so we decided to have one of our drivers take us to a hospital that was recommended to us.

I was pretty comfortable with the idea of having the kids looked at by a doctor, but as we pulled up to the hospital, I sort of freaked out inside. I started thinking "what am I doing taking my child to a hospital in Africa? Maybe there will be more risk/sickness in those doors than out here..." It turned out to be a pretty nice hospital, although we did see some very sick looking people waiting to be seen...we saw an elderly lady who appeared to be VERY sick. It was very sad. We were told that not many people can go to the hospital because of the cost. How sad. Because guess what? The total bill for our "emergency" appointment with a pediatrician AND the amoxicillin that we ended up with was $10! We couldn't believe it. We paid our $6 to see the doctor (who was very nice and spoke English) and we were in. We felt a little strange because our driver did the talking for us when we were at the hospital. He went right up to the reception desk and apparently told them that his friends needed to be seen right away. They pointed at watches and said things that we didn't understand, and then we were off to pay our bills (before we could be seen). After seeing the doctor, she confirmed that our little one had a double ear infection and that she would need some meds (another $4 or so). Up we went to the hospital pharmacy and we were ready to roll.

After the hospital adventure, we decided to go out for lunch at The Lime Tree Restaurant. I would also recommend The Lime Tree. Good food, internet access, and desserts looked good too, but at this point I was not eating. All I wanted was some Sprite....it was a long day, food did not appeal to me in any way.
I love the soda bottles.
Hiwot was feeling great even with her ear infections.
We loved watching her eat traditional Ethiopian food. She loved the injera and ate it with such skill. She would rip the bread with one hand and scoop up so much of the shiro or wot with it. She still loves to dip and scoop up her food if she can. We have some injera that we bought at a local Ethiopian restaurant, and she loves to use it to eat with. I wonder when she will stop being interested in it...so sad that some things will fade with time.

So, all in all, days 4 and 5 were very productive...paperwork and medical care, check! So now we could focus on more important stuff like our upcoming embassy appointment and seeing as much of our daughter's birth country as we could fit in.


  1. Just reading this makes me miss Ethiopia so much! Can't wait to hear how you are faring:) She is stunning.

  2. This is such an awsome story