Monday, April 28, 2014

Western things

Some things are scary and/or weird:
Escalators (very scary)
Cars that stop and let you cross the road
Processed food
Sidewalks that are generally empty
Not taking naps every day

Things that are cool and fun:
Any game or activity with other kids
Water Gun fights!!
Air conditioning!
Soccer games

All is well back at the homefront (this will likely be our last update until our next trip to Ethiopia (to VISIT only ;) ).

Monday, April 21, 2014


5 hour layover at Dubai. Yuk.

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Day 7 - Last day

Day 7 - last day
Wow. What a week. The cumulative effect of the week has started to catch up on everyone. Eating out everyday. All sleeping in the same room. Sharing one bathroom. It has been a wonderful trip. I can imagine that Hermella has very mixed emotions right now as she will soon leave familiarity and enter a whole new world. Good and bad. Easy and hard.

We had one last lunch at our favorite place (I think this was our 4th lunch their). They have a good mix of traditional Ethiopian food as well as some int'l dishes like pizza and chicken cutlets. The place was called Samet Restaurant and we usually got out of there for about $20 - $25 depending on what we ordered (including our driver's food). The service was more attentive than normal and it was never very busy.

We also had to make a quick stop at the Gladney office to pick up Hermella's shot records since we will need them for her to start school.

Finally, Oscar has been craving Sambusa (fried pockets of meat) ever since we left Ethiopia two years ago. We grabbed some for the airport at the Ethiopian equivalent to Starbucks called "Kaldis". Everything except for the name has a starbucks feel. Our driver had said that they tried to sue Kaldis but really didn't have any jurisdiction in Ethiopia. Also, someone from the Ethiopian side had argued that since Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, Starbucks should be very careful when trying to argue about naming and branding.

Finally, off to the airport with 4 bags to check and 6 to carry on. Versus 14 checked and 7 carry-on luggage before.

We feel a strong calling to return in the next year or so for Hermella to be able to show us the city she is from, Gondor. It is about 10-12 hour car trip, so our next journey to Ethiopia will have to be closer to two weeks. Fortunately, Emily and I can confidently say that we will be able to be in charge of the timing of that trip and we will have the same number of outgoing passengers as those coming home. Our family feels complete after a long 8 year journey.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Scenes from church

Even though we were 5 min late the rest of the congregation was on Ethiopian time. The place was packed about 20 min past "start time"

Fun at Yoftahe's parents house

Our friend Temesgen

Day 6: Easter (Fasika)

Day 6 - Easter (Fasika)

I woke to a light tapping at our door. I had asked the manager to wake me up to help with the sheep. This was my 3rd time to be a part of helping to prepare an animal for a feast in Ethiopia. I am always amazed how efficient the process is but I learned today that this efficiency is really dominated by the lower class here. Meat is so sacred and seldom, that it truly is a gift and celebration. The killing was very quick and was proceeded by a prayer and Thanksgiving for the animal's sacrifice.

After things had been cleaned up a bit, I invited the kids to visit the scene. The reaction was very limited and met more with curiosity than disgust. Most of them found it really cool to see the different body parts (heart, liver, stomach). It was quite a non-event, although I'm not sure what I expected.

We got dressed and headed to church. It was an international church that was in Amharic but always translated into English. There was a rock band and lights very similar to our praise services. The service was 2.5 hours long with about 2/3 of that singing. A sermon and communion concluded the service. The energy was very high and it was quite an amazing experience. The Lord was moving in the congregation in a very strong way. I will try to post some videos when I get home. The kids got pretty exhausted by the end since we were standing most of the time.

Streets are filled with stacks of hides. Roughly 2/3 hides and 1/3 live animals now...

We immediately headed to our driver's inlaws for a "pre-feast". The hospitality was amazing although they kept trying to feed us as if we had been fasting with them over the past 40+ days. We kept having to graciously deny 2nds and 3rds since we had been eating heavy all week long!

On to Yoftahe's parent's house... Again, our hosts were amazing and the tables were filled with food and drink. We hung out until the evening as we still had to pack and prepare for our journey home. Our hosts graciously understood our need to depart early... I think they were in the early innings of the celebration when we left.

Back to the guest house to pack. The kids wrestled, played hide and seek and jumped on the trampoline some more.

Laughter is truly a universal language. While in some of the slower moments without activity, there have been some small quiet language barriers; overall, our time together as a family has been universally filled with smiles, play, laughter and love.

Oh yeah.... getting 6 riled up kids to go to sleep in one room is HARD.

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A lesson in Anatomy

I should hold a caption contest for these pictures.

Neveah is not so sure about the whole deal, while I think Hermella was counting teeth?

I am really tempted to make the last picture a Christmas card but I might have to crop it a bit......

Temesgen jumping on Trampoline

Sheep: Before, during, after.....

As I said before, the animals in the streets for sale reached a crescendo Saturday night. The last picture is of the hides on the street Sunday. Hides are collected and sold to the leather shops.

Although, the sheep behind the hides think they got lucky, our driver told us that people will continue to feast for two weeks or so.