As for me, I know of nothing else but miracles. - Walt Whitman

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ethiopia - Trip One - Day Three

Wednesday, August 3, 2011
After breakfast at the hotel this morning, we met two more families who joined our group. Then, we all headed to Hannah's Hope at about 9:30. We found the boys, and Shana showed them her MP3 player. They were highly intrigued, and shared the ear buds while they listened to children's songs together.

"S" brought some fingernail polish to HH today, and she and Shana had fun helping all of the little girls paint their fingernails and toenails. Some of the special mothers got in on the action too, and were soon sporting freshly-polished nails.

We, along with several other families, decided to take a trip to Bethzatha Orphanage today. Quite a few of the children at HH come from this orphanage across town. On the way, we decided to stop and buy a couple of goats to donate to the orphanage to use for future meals. Danny, our driver, picked out two goats for us. When the goat herders saw all of us in the van, they gave us the "ferengi" (white people) price. We, as a group, paid 1400 Birr per goat (about $75.00). Wass told us later that we paid too much - we should've given only about 800 Birr for them, but that was OK with us. I guess we helped out the orphanage and the goat herders that way! 
 Here is Danny negotiating for our goats!

They tied the goats' legs together and then loaded them into the van with us.

They were good little goats on the way, but they sure were glad to be set free when we arrived at Bethzatha! They immediately got to work munching on all of the grass and small shrubs in sight. The Director of the orphanage told us that they would fatten them up for about three weeks before making them into a meal.

The Director gave us a tour of the facility. We saw many children; some were playing outside and others were just lying in bed. What broke my heart was the tiny room that held two children - both were blind and deaf, and neither could sit or stand. The one little girl (maybe 6 or 7 years old? It was really hard to estimate her age) never gets out of bed - just lies there all day, every day. I walked up to her and rubbed her little cheek. Her eyes moved back and forth rapidly as she tried to process the feeling. That was all she could do.

We watched a worker in the kitchen make injera, the staple of Ethiopian food.

Then, some of the men played soccer with the boys while Shana and "S" passed out candy to everyone and painted the girls' fingernails.

It was soon time to leave, so we signed Bethzatha's guest book and climbed into the van again. The goats were still happily munching away! On the streets to and from Bethzatha Orphanage today, we saw many interesting sights, including people washing their clothes in mud puddles, grown men walking hand-in-hand in friendship, men urinating in the streets, and people living on the sidewalks. When it rains, they just pull a tarp over their heads. All of these are common sights in Ethiopia. Here are a few more photos that I took during the drive across town:

 a shoe store

 This man was washing his hair in a mud puddle. Made me ever so much more thankful for my shower!

When we arrived back at Hannah's Hope, our boys were napping, so I walked around and took a video of the facility. It is an awesome place. For those of you reading this who are AGCIers and have not yet traveled to meet your children, please be assured that HH is a wonderful, clean location and the children there receive the utmost in love and care. Soon, Chris woke up the boys so we could spend more time with them. I got the cutest video of them talking and singing to each other in their own language. Shana had fun playing soccer with the gatekeeper and giving out lots of dum-dum suckers to the workers. She made lots of friends! 

A little after 4:00, it was time to go. We took the boys upstairs to get their baths, and when they figured out we were leaving, they were not happy. They ran right back out of the bathroom, clinging to us and crying. It is becoming so much harder for us to leave them each day! They hate it when we disappear, and each morning, "O" is a little reserved when we get there. I think it takes a little bit of time to build up his trust again each day, and he gets so upset when we leave again at the end of the day. Saturday will be really hard on all of us, since we have no idea when we'll get to come back. We are hoping and praying that our MOWA letter shows up in court on Friday, so we can come back soon and take these boys home!

Shortly after 6:00, Wass picked us up at the hotel and we headed to Yod Abysinia for an Ethiopian cultural dinner with traditional food and music and dancing from different regions of the country.

 Here is one part of our group....

 ...and here's the other!

 The food was delicious - yum!

 Traditional coffee ceremony

Shana and "S" begged Wass to get up and dance, and he finally stood up and showed off a few moves right at his seat. He tried to teach the girls how to do it as well. They begged him to get up on the stage and dance, but he said he was too tired and would dance tomorrow with the kids at HH. Finally, after Shana said "please" in Amharic, he gave in. He is an awesome dancer! When he finished, it was time to go back to the Riviera. It was a busy but fun day in Ethiopia!


  1. Love reading about your trip, and I love hearing more about HH too!

  2. I love hearing all of the details, Erica! The pic of Chris and the boys with the earbuds is my favorite - brings back lots of memories of Mr. Y in ET!