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

Friday, June 13, 2014

Our Trip to Ethiopia, Day 4

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I slept really well during the night. In the morning, we showered, repacked our luggage for Mekelle, ate one of Alem's yummy breakfasts, played with the kids and passed out suckers, exchanged dollars into birr, and had devotions led by Uncle Lester.

We then packed the van, and Wass drove us to the airport. 

As we flew into Mekelle, it was interesting to compare the landscape to that of Gambella, Ethiopia, where we were last summer. Gambella is very lush and green, like a tropical rain forest, while the Tigray region is brown, dry, and very rocky.

We collected our baggage, and then met Tadesse, the director or Hannah's Hope in Mekelle. We loaded our stuff into a taxi van, and proceeded to the Axum hotel, our home for the week. As we drove through town, it was surreal to think that this was the birth place of my nephew, Yikealo.

As soon as we entered the lobby of the hotel, we were able to get an internet connection for the first time on our trip! It was nice to be able to send messages home that we had arrived safely, and immediately, dozens of messages started coming through on Viber from Shana. :-)

We checked in, met Kiersten (our AGCI friend and leader for the week. She was also our case worker through our adoption process), introduced her to the team, and figured out our room assignments. Each room had two twin beds, so Larisa and I shared a room while Chris, Richard, and Ashton took another. Our rooms were on the 4th floor, and we were quite winded after climbing so many flights of stairs at such a high altitude. We took a walk on the roof to get some photos of the town, and then headed back to the lobby so we could take advantage of the wi-fi.

We ate dinner at the hotel restaurant.

Afterward, we went on a walk with Mathewos through the town. It was so interesting to see the shops and experience the nightlife. We gave some money to a few beggars, and one woman started praying and thanking me as I pressed birr into her hand. We met Tadesse on the street, so he walked with us, holding Ashton's hand most of the time. Chris stopped into one of the shops to buy some kolo, an Ethiopian snack mix of peanuts and roasted barley.

When we got back to the hotel, some of the group opted to order dessert in the restaurant. I went back to my room to shower, only to discover that we had no water. I told the front desk a couple of times that it wasn't working (after traipsing up and down all those stairs several times and again having issues with the altitude), and they said they would get it fixed. This didn't happen, however, so Larisa and I showered in Chris's room. The freezing cold water took my breath away, but at least we were able to get relatively clean! :-)

Tomorrow we get to see the library that Kelsi and Tiffany worked so hard to build! And our work at Kisanet will begin...

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