We witness a miracle each time a child enters a life. But those who must make their journey home across time and miles, growing in the hearts of those waiting to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny. And placed among us by God's own hands.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ethiopia Travel Log: Day 4

Sunday March 2nd,

Well today we woke up earlier then needed, at 3:30am. We made ourselves toast since the cooks had the morning off, called our son to say hi and waited for our ride. It was very cool to see 10 Land Rovers pull up in a convoy outside the guest house. One vehicle per couple/family. It was very cold and pitch black when we left at 5am. We headed south out of Addis Ababa and gradually watched the buildings turn to tin shacks and eventually spread out and turn into huts. We watched the sunrise behind the hills and took the landscape (This is when I took the picture posted at the bottom of this blog). There were lots of women and children out at this time with large water jugs going to get water at the closest well. Often the children were alone doing this chore, some very young. We did see a group of baboons right along the side of the road in a more heavily wooded area. It was still somewhat dark though and we drove by so fast that we were unable to get a picture. It took about three hours to arrive in the rural southern city of Hossana. The road was only recently paved and it used to take 5 hours on an unpaved and bumpy road so we were grateful. In Hosanna we had the privilege of meeting a member of our daughter's birth family. This was a very emotional time for all of us. It was clear that she was and is still very loved and that the decision was made because of extreme poverty and very sad circumstances. We were grateful to have many questions answered as well as to introduce ourselves and state our commitment to raising her to know the culture where she came from. We will tell her, her story when she is older, then it will be her decision as to what information she wants to share and with who. After the meeting we were able to take a picture and all the families had a prayer and transition ceremony where we received a candle from the family member. Again all ten adoptive families and birth families were present at this time. It was heart wrenching to see the poverty, despair, and illness among the birth family members. I have to say that I have never seen so many people (including all the men) crying in my life. After this, we observed a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony where the beans were roasted on hot coals, boiled and served fresh.

We then drove to tour a real Ethiopian hut so that we could see first hand the type of home that our children were born in and lived in. We also toured the orphanage in Hossana where the children are directly brought to in the southern region. There were babies everywhere, so tiny and so vulnerable yet they smiled and responded to us all really well. At each stop we were surrounded by children, some disabled, some in tattered clothes with huge holes, they would just come out of nowhere, and not necessarily to beg, but more so to watch and get any form of attention that they could. In a country with half the population under age 18 many of the children just wander around all day on their own. The begging was considerably less in the rural southern region then in the city of Addis Ababa. I did finally give in when there was a boy with a deformed leg with an exposed wound on his knee, he was crawling around the street. We bought some buns and handed them out to the kids, really just because I wanted to make sure that he got one. I know that it was not ideal because of course we did not have enough for everyone and there was no fair way to go about it. On the way back to Addis it was afternoon and every few miles there would be a herd of cows or goats in the street or crossing the street. Sometimes they were being herded by young men but most often young boys and some girls. We were able to stop and take pictures of the scenery here and there but otherwise the drivers tended to drive very fast and swerving here and there every time there was an animal or person in the road. He would honk at the animals as well and often they would move. I think the cows, goats, and donkeys really are smarter here in Ethiopia. I asked why some were just wondering around and if anyone owned them. The driver said that yes people own them and that even though the animals are not marked or fenced everyone knows which one belongs to who and the animals go home at night to their owner. Our dogs definitely have something to learn with this! Back at the guest house we walked to a pizza place for supper. Yes, they have pizza in Ethiopia and it was fantastic. Everyone is tired and a little edgy tonight. It was an amazing but also exhausting day on so many levels. Tomorrow we will go pick up Tensae to bring her to see the guesthouse for a few hours then take our donations to AHOPE orphanage in the afternoon and visit the museum where the skeleton of Lucy is at.

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