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

Friday, November 14, 2014

My Trip to Ethiopia, Day 8

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Today was amazing, heartbreaking, beautiful, and difficult all rolled into one. Again, I will not share details online, but suffice it to say it was one of the most memorable days of my life.

When I arrived at the restaurant for breakfast, Kerri informed me that she had been sick all night. Kiersten was sick as well. :( We checked out of our hotel rooms and left our luggage at the front desk while we went back to Foten. The work was were being installed, the bedrooms had been painted, and masonry work now filled in some of the gaps in the walls.

Then, I was so honored and privileged to meet the twins' birth family! I had met their birth mother twice before, but this time I was also able to meet more of their extended family. Absolutely amazing!!!!

It was so interesting to learn more about my boys. Jalen's left-handedness comes from his father. Both boys used to love to play basketball in Gambella (when they had just turned 2!). They also used to play in the empty building at Foten....the very building I worked in all week! They used to live right beside it, on the other side of the fence. The most amazing thing to me was this: my boys' birth family and Sintayehu's birth mom live right beside each other. Only God could take 3 neighbor boys from the same remote village in the most isolated region of Ethiopia and bring them halfway around the world to Ohio, where they would be cousins!

We had a wonderful visit, and Kerri took many photos of us together. How precious it was to hold Jalen and Jordan's little brother and kiss his cheeks! He looks so much like Jalen, and gave me a glimpse of what my boys looked like at that age.

Oto translated for us.

They all loved looking at the photo book of the twins that I had brought.

2 mothers share the same boys:

Soon, it was time to say goodbye. We went back to the Baro hotel and then walked to the prison, where the inmates make all kinds of beaded jewelry and baskets. Kerri and I bought all kinds of goodies, and Mathewos picked out a belt, necklace, and bracelet for Shana. 

We ate lunch outside at the Baro with Mathewos, Haile, and Welde. Haile and Welde decided to stay in Gambella to ensure that the rest of the Foten project was completed, and to buy beds and supplies for the children. Mathewos was in rare form, and started singing songs and giggling. :)

We said goodbye to Haile and Welde and began the long, bumpy trip back to the airport. Our airline tickets were handwritten, and the airport officials insisted that we put our luggage through the same security scanner twice. (?) We stopped in Asosa on the way back to Addis so that Kiersten could deplane and make the drive to Benishangul. Mathewos, Kerri, and I continued on to Addis. I started reading the book, "When Helping Hurts" and tried to process it all after what I had seen in Gambella.

Wass picked us up at the Bole airport and brought us back to the Ember guesthouse. I sent messages back and forth with Chris, then ate dinner around 6:00 with the others staying there. I was given a different room this time, complete with my very own bathroom. It was so luxurious, wonderful, and amazing to take a warm, clean shower and sleep in a real bed with real pillows. A mosquito bothered me all night long, a very loud cow was situated right outside my window, and the Sunday morning chanting and calls to prayer began very early. I slept fitfully until around 5 am, then messaged Chris until it was time to get up for breakfast.

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