Thursday March 6th,
This morning we had a treat for breakfast, fresh cinnamon rolls. They were excellent! I am going to miss having a personal cook! Today we had a Ethiopian cooking class at the guest house which really consisted more of them showing us what the food looks like while it is cooking and then seeing how the injera is made. The whole injera thing is so unique to Ethiopia and really not that hard to make once you get the hang of it. The catch is you need Teft flour which is grown primarily in Ethiopia so we did manage to buy a pound to bring back to the US. Now when I will find the time to grow yeast (that needs to sit for three days) and cook up Injera we will see! We also got the treat of witnessing another coffee ceremony right in the living room of the guest house. The coffee ceremony basically involves roasting freshly dried coffee beans over hot coals, then simmering the beans and brewing the coffee right there. It really is the best coffee you will ever taste! The rest of the morning I spent packing, packing, and more packing. We were able to pack the empty suitcases (which brought over the donations) with all the stuff we had bought. Tensae was a little “off” today, but so were all the kids. I think they knew that something was going on with all the suitcases piled up all over the guesthouse living room. We received her original documents and passport with visa today as well as a completed “lifebook” and two c.d.’s; one showing her stay at the care center and the other showing her where she is from. It will be really nice to have this information for her when the time comes.
So after supper all 10 families and children were packed up, and suitcases out in the courtyard, and we are all wondering how the heck they are going to get us all to the airport in two vans! Thankfully they had an additional driver come and an extra car so the impossible was achieved. The ride to the airport was somewhat treacherous. Picture me with a little girl sitting on my lap and another other mother with a baby on her lap and no seatbelts or car seats and tons of traffic on a poorly paved road with people running across the road at any time. And oh yeah there are no traffic lights at the intersections either. The most stressful part of the day however, was still to come. Once we arrived at the Ethiopian airport all the luggage was set out in the parking lot. One suitcase belonging to another family mysteriously disappeared. Most likely in all the chaos someone walking by grabbed it. Tony managed to find a luggage cart and piled up all 6 suitcases plus the mesab (large basket) table onto it while I carried Tensae in the sling. We then pushed it all through the parking lot, showed our passports before entering the building, put everything through a security checkpoint upon entering the building, loaded it all up again and then stood in a REALLY LONG line to check into the Ethiopian airlines flight. While Tony was in line I ran to the table with the Mesab and had is shrink wrapped to get ready to get it ready to check it on as one of our bags. I think it cost a $1 or $2 in US, so well worth it. Finally we checked in, went through another carry on luggage checkpoint, went though immigration (thankfully with no problems) then got into the airport and found out we had to go through security again and then after that stand in line to AGAIN show our passports and tickets to the flight attendant before finally boarding the airplane. Ugg! Once on the plan we experienced what we were thankfully partly prepared for. Let’s just say that children in Ethiopia have no experience with seatbelts so when we strapped her in we experienced the full array of extreme toddler behavior which included screaming, crying, hitting, kicking, pinching, and finally biting Tony. Thank goodness, she eventually cried her exhausted and confused self to sleep and slept for the next 7 hours. At around that point we refueled in Rome (nope we did not get to get off the airplane) and then spent the 9 hours with an awake and not happy toddler on a crammed airplane. Thank goodness there were at least 10 other adoptive families on the same plane so we were not the only exhausted looking parents with a unhappy and noisy kid. A word on Ethiopian airlines the food is great, they feed you three large meals plus snack and drinks but the entertainment system is less then desirable. There are only a few t.v.’s hooked to the roof of the airplane in the aisles and they literally put in VHS tapes to watch so there is no selection. In addition, after 16 hours the bathroom was last place you want to go. I was extremely impressed that our resilient little girl did not have one single wetting accident on the entire plane ride. We were able to keep her somewhat busy with coloring books, sticker books, listening to music on the headphones, and small toys like her toy cell phone.