Saturday, February 28, 2009
Ethiopia Travel Log: Day 2
Friday February 29th, 2008:
O.k. everyone I just wanted to drop a line that we made it to Ethiopia in one piece and with all of our luggage in tact. The plane ride was really not as bad as I expected, it was around 16 hours but we watched 3 movies, were fed three full meals, read, and slept (with the assistance of a sleeping pill). The worst part was the line checking in to Ethiopian airlines in DC and then having to stand in line at the Ethiopian airport to get our visa, then go through immigration, then get our bags and change some of our money. We found out on the plane that most of the banks here will only accept US bills newer then 2001. So the bad thing is 1/2 our money was old but the good news is we found a bank at the airport that did exchange some of the money for a decent rate. Anyways the adoption agency picked us up and loaded all 8 families and luggage into two vans. Just a note on driving in Ethiopia, there are no seatbelts, they cram as many people as possible into the vehicles and 1/2 the roads are not paved and many may not even be flat. It is really an odd thing to experience. So we arrived at the guest house around 11pm Ethiopian time (1pm Colorado time). It is a nice house which the agency is renting. There are three levels with 6 rooms, several living rooms and two kitchens and dining areas. We get fully prepared meals three times a day. Anyways, Tony went to sleep not long after but I stayed up to read more information from the adoption agency and went to sleep around 2 am.
We woke up at 6am this morning to chanting prayers being broadcast over loudspeakers in the area of town that we are staying at. We were very excited to take hot showers, then as Tony was at the sink shaving all of a sudden the hose of the water heater (a small heater actually attached to the upper wall of the bathroom) busted off and sprayed hot water everywhere. Needless to say, he barely escaped being burned and our bathroom flooded. He and the security guard figured out how to turn off the hot water but cold water kept running out onto the floor. So we rigged it and used a baby tub to send the water into the bathtub. We then got ready just in time to eat pancakes for breakfast and load into a van and meet our beautiful daughter. The first meeting went wonderful! She was at school, yes they moved her to the care center with the older kids and she is driven to school everyday. She was not so sure of us at first, but came right out to the playground and not long after we had her swinging and laughing and popping bubbles. She let us pick her up and called us mommy and daddy before we even used those words with her.
We then toured the house were she is at in the evening, went back to the guest house for lunch and then had a brief meeting with the agency and all other nine families here then went to see her at the care center where she sleeps. When the van pulled up, she ran right over around to the side of our door and ran up into Tony's arms and then mine. It was precious, but then of course everything was chaos and she was off playing and running all over. I think her attention will improve with each visit. The second visit was much shorter and we were brought back to the guest house with the other families. We walked around the neighborhood with another couple. It really is a city of contrasts. I am not sure how to describe it without pictures. Let’s just say that it is a city of millions of people yet there are goats, cows, dogs wondering around and buildings that look like shacks. All the houses are secluded behind tall walls with barbwire on the top. And so our journey has officially began! I have now expired my internet usage time and someone is probably waiting to get on so gotta go.