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

Monday, November 3, 2014

My Trip to Ethiopia, Days 1 and 2

Saturday and Sunday, September 27 & 28, 2014

Yesterday (Friday, September 26), school was cancelled, so the kids and I left around noon to meet Chris so we could drive down to the airport in Indy. I dropped Adrian off at Shelby's since he had a football game the next day, and then we headed south. After checking into our hotel at the airport and eating supper at Outback, we went to bed since I had to get up a little after 2 a.m. to get ready for my flight. I slept fitfully, got ready, and told everyone goodbye. Some of the kids cried and were not at all excited for me to go, which made it really tough. :'(

I headed downstairs to wait for the airport shuttle, but there was a mix-up and the shuttle was not going to be back for awhile. So the front desk clerk called a taxi. I sat on a bench outside the hotel, eating an apple, staring patiently into the darkness, wondering just how this trip would go, and missing my family like crazy already, even though they were just a few stories above me. 

It turns out that my taxi driver was Ethiopian, and he told me he was very jealous that I got to go back to his homeland. When we arrived at the airport, I wrestled my luggage and donations, checked in, and boarded my flight to Washington Dulles amidst numerous texts from Chris and Viber messages from Shana. They were obviously still awake.

In D.C, I bought my breakfast at a bagel shop (same place as the last time I made this trip!) and then found my travel partners, Kiersten and Kerri. We checked in, chatted awhile, and then boarded our very long flight to Addis. I didn't sleep at all due to the 7 ft. tall man beside me that leaned on me while he slept. But we finally arrived at about 7:00 on Sunday morning, and all of the passengers applauded. We were screened for Ebola upon entering the airport. (Don't worry....I was very safe. Chris received several questions about my safety while I was gone, but there has not been one case of Ebola in Ethiopia and it is 3500 miles away from the outbreak. Some people don't realize just how huge Africa really is, and the current fear and stupid reactions of people in the news lately to people from east or south Africa, too, is rather annoying and ignorant. For example, parents in certain schools have pulled their children out because of other children there who were adopted from Rwanda. Hello? I also have adoptive friends who have had play dates cancelled because their children were adopted from Ethiopia. In some cases the kiddos have been home for a year or more. Really?! I am actually more in danger of getting Ebola in the U.S. than I am in Ethiopia. Anyway, I digress.) We went through customs, collected our bags, met Wass, and received huge hugs from him.

He drove us to Ember guesthouse, where we checked in and showered. This was the first time I had stayed at Ember, and it was very nice, clean, and welcoming.

My room. Looks like I could've brought some kiddos with me! This was also the first time I had slept with mosquito nets in Addis.

The Ember supports local artisans by selling jewelry, coffee, and art. I fell in love with some of the paintings.

We then walked to Kaldi's. This was my 5th time to Ethiopia, but my first to Kaldi's. My macchiato was awesome!

On the way, we passed the old Hannah's Hope compound. So sad to see it sitting empty...we have so many awesome memories starting with the first time we entered those black gates to meet our boys!

We talked for awhile, and then walked to Hannah's Hope, our agency's transition home for orphans. 

It was so good to see Tom and the special mothers again, and look who I found in the entryway at HH...Yikealo!!!

We played with the kids and decided which rooms to work in the next day. Our goal was to paint murals on the walls to brighten up the space for the kiddos in care there.

When we couldn't keep our eyes open anymore, we walked back to Ember where we visited in the living room until it was time for supper. We were all drunk with lack of sleep by this time, and were rather slap-happy. We giggled over some over-dramatic American teen movie, and I was able to talk to Chris and the kids on Viber. 

Kiersten and Kerri:

Dinner was pizza and chicken curry with rice. It was delicious, and there was no way we could eat all of it. I went back to my room at about 5 pm, and was sleeping by 6.

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