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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 4

We woke up early to finish packing up our things, shower, and meet our driver and Helen at 5am.  Man, that is early for me!  We met them down in the lobby of our hotel.  Helen, the social worker who traveled with us, is this 90lb, gorgeous Ethiopian girl.  She's about 25 years old and is so funny!  We got to know her a bit on our 3 day adventure.  She is so sweet, a strong Christian, and laughs a lot!  Especially while trying to teach me Amharic words...:)  Sami, our driver, is so cute!  He is a big teddy bear!

So we were off...driving out of the city.  I have to say, I was happy to be leaving to potent diesel smell of Addis.  I slept a little while it was still dark out.  When I woke up I was in awe!  The country is so beautiful!  We were in a flat area but could see the upcoming mountains.  We saw baboons and camels, lots of goats and cattle, and lush green hills everywhere!  As we drove, we got further and higher into the mountains.  It was breath taking.  I have never seen anything as beautiful in my life.


We stopped at a little hotel in Hawasa, I think, for breakfast.  It was nice.  We had scrambled eggs and ate them with injera.  Injera is a staple in Ethiopian food.  It is a yeast risen flat bread with a spongy texture.  They tear pieces off and use it to pick up their food...no forks.  Then we were off again.

I was more and more in awe as the trip continued.  I was so intrigued and amazed by the villages we drove through.  I wish we could have stopped and learned more about how they live there.  Most of the homes in the smaller villages were mud and grass huts.  Some were made of sheet metal and other things.  There are people EVERYWHERE!  We saw women cooking outside their homes, children playing and running around, and men working in fields or herding goats and cattle.  It seems like each village has a community well near the edge of the town.  You could almost always see women and children pumping and carrying jugs to and from the well.  They walk everywhere!  Now I understand better why they are so thin and fit...and we in the US...well...are mostly not.  They eat what they grow and are so active.  Almost all their labor is manual.  I was most amazed by how content and happy people seemed with so little.  I know you always hear this, but it's true!  These people live day by day.  They have one goal when they wake each day.  Get enough food, water, and work to get them through to the next day.  There are no big motivations of a newer, bigger, better house or car...or other material thing.  They just need to live for that day.  It's inspiring. I am sure they have worries ad fears for the future as well, especially for their children.  But they make the most of what they have, which seems so little.  But they are abundant in love!  Just like in the city, you see so many smiles, holding of hands, friends walking arm in arm, and happy kids.


One of the main things I took away was a new desire to be a better parent.  I saw so many men and women with their children playing outside.  I saw women sitting near their homes just playing with their babies and enjoying them.  The parents are very hands on with their kids.  They don't have all the distractions we have here.  I will be the first to admit that I struggle with distractions daily.  I find it so easy to hop on facebook or pinterest after work and provide Maya with a tv show or toys to keep her busy.  I want to be more than that for my kids.  I want to spend more time on the floor with them, playing with them.  I want to be available and hands on.  I want to appreciate the simpler things in life.

It took us roughly 8 or 9 hours to get to Dire Dawa.  Helen checked us into the hotel and left us to rest for a bit.  She couldn't believe we wanted to take a nap instead of getting lunch, but we were so tired!  Later that evening we met her for dinner in the hotel.  To our surprise, she didn't eat with us.  It was a little awkward, but she assured us she would eat later.  We found this was normal through our whole trip.  Rarely did either Sami or Helen eat with us.  I am still not sure if this is a cultural thing, or if they were not suppose to?

After dinner we headed back to our room for the night.  Meeting with the police officer on Leo's case and with the social worker in Dire Dawa were on our agenda for the next morning.  I was excited to see more of the city, and also to go to the hospital where Leo was found.  I wanted to gather as much information and as many pictures as possible so that someday, I could show them to Leo and tell him about where he comes from.

I have no idea what it is like to be adopted.  I don't know what it feels like to look different than everyone in my family.  I don't know how it will feel to know that he came from somewhere else, from someone else.  I hope and pray that he will feel blessed, like we do to have him.  But I know that somewhere deep down inside, he will have questions.  He will wonder about Ethiopia.  I want to do everything in my power to teach him about his birth culture, while making sure he is proud of where he is also.  I want to be open and honest about things.  I want to have a lot to share with him, although sometimes it feels we have so little knowledge. This was our only chance to gather answers to his questions.  I was ready to dig in!!!

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