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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 5: Our son's city

We woke, ate breakfast in the hotel, and met Helen.  Sami drove us to pick up the police officer and social worker in Dire Dawa who had worked on Leo's case.  They had the knowledge of what happened with our son, and what had been done prior to us becoming his parents.

After picking them up, we all drove in the van together to the hospital where Leo was found.  It's very different than I imagined, yet very much what I expected.  The hospital is busy.  There were a lot of people there.  We walked over to the waiting area, which was mostly an outdoor, dirt courtyard with a few rocks to sit on.  We got to meet the man who took care of Leo until he was delivered to the orphanage.  I am not going to go into details about Leo's beginning.  This is a private issue and I want to be sure that he has the choice someday to share it on his own, if he chooses.  But it was nice to get some answers that we didn't have before going there.  It was nice to take pictures that I can someday share with Leo when the time is right.  I felt good after we left, like we were beginning to piece together a puzzle...a puzzle we were a part of, but one with many missing pieces.

Next we went to where Michael was found.  We went for my friend, Amy, who wasn't able to make the trip.  We met with another police officer and got to interact with some of the locals working there.  It was nice.

We also got to drive through the city a lot.  Dire Dawa is great!  It is a larger city, but not as large and busy as Addis.  The people there actually seem to have less.  There are less opportunities with it being so far from the main city, the capital.  But, they actually seem happier.  There isn't nearly the feeling of desperation I felt in Addis.  The people seemed more content and we saw more people working than laying on the streets.  Don't get me wrong, this is still a place of poverty.  But I could feel and see more beauty here.  I loved just driving around and seeing the place where I believe my son would have grown up.  It's strange b/c throughout the entire trip to Ethiopia, I couldn't help but picture my children here, in other people's shoes.  I pictured Maya being one of the toddlers who was begging for food or change.  I could picture Leo strapped to his mothers back while she worked her daily life.  It's hard.  It's not a good feeling to know that our lives could be very different, just by being born somewhere other than the US.  My children could be those children.  But in Dire Dawa, people seem happy.  It wasn't all sad when I thought of life there.  I liked that about the city.  It's so colorful.  The buildings are bright and painted.

After all of the meetings and interviews were done, we got to make a quick stop at Engida in Dire Dawa.  This is the orphanage where Leo spent 3 months, just prior to being referred to us.  We didn't stay long.  But we did get to drop off some gifts we had purchased and see some of the children.  The orphanage seemed clean and peaceful.  There were only 3 children there at he time and we got to see 2 of them.  They were both precious and of course, gorgeous!  Ethiopia is definitely in abundance of beautiful people!  It's funny because we were told we are beautiful.  A man told me our skin tone was gorgeous and so were my eyes.  I couldn't believe it b/c to me, they are just the most beautiful people I have ever seen.

Then we ate lunch at a nicer hotel.  Sami and Helen didn't eat with us...they just sat politely with us while we ate.  Then we got to go with them to where they ate lunch.  Not sure why we had to eat at different places?  But we pulled into an outdoor restaurant with bountiful flies and raw meat hanging in a shed.  It was an experience!  I couldn't help but think of my best friend, Katie, and how she would have just died!  I had to laugh, but it also made me a little home sick.  I shook it off and enjoyed some nice conversation with Helen and Sami as they ate their fried goat meat.

Then we were off to Harar to feed the hyenas!!!!!  The drive there was beautiful, as expected.  I have never been so high in the mountains.  We were white knuckled most of the drive.  The roads are so winding and narrow, and there are little to no guard rails along the sides, which happen to be steep cliffs of rocks.  Every now and then Sami would have to slam on the brakes for goats or cattle, or occasionally a toddler running across the street.  Ok, he slammed on his brakes A LOT!  We were lucky we had taken some meclizine or I would have been sick!  Below is a picture of the winding roads we were driving on.

We arrived at the hotel in Harar about 45 minutes to an hour later.  I have to say...this was an adventure beyond my comfort zone.  We walked into our room and I wasn't quite sure what to think.  There were 2 large attached rooms, each with a queen size bed, fully adorned in a nice floral comforter and pillows with shams.  Yes, matching shams, not nice clean white, washable, pillowcases like we are used to.  I had to use the restroom, and this is where the adventure really begins.  There were ants....all over.  I first noticed them in the bathroom.  I can live with that.  But then, after hesitantly pulling back the comforter, I found more, in the bed!  UGH!  I wasn't sure how I was going to handle this.  BUT, I pulled up my big girl pants, and I decided to try my best to laugh at the situation, and try to look at it like camping.  You know you're going to get dirty, but you know eventually you can shower it all off and go back to normal.

We rested a bit, then headed out to meet Sami and Helen for dinner.  We went to a little "pizza" place.  It wasn't bad.  There were lots of stray cats and we ate outside.  It was a little chilly, but it was a cool place.  Of course, Helen and Sami didn't eat with us.  They said they would eat later.  I can't imagine what they we were off to find some hyenas!

1 comment:

  1. you have pix of the other kids at the orphanage?? One may have been my son. My em is