Sunday, February 10, 2008
Friday, February 8, 2008
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
One more video for now. I think this was yesterday, but not really
sure what time zone I'm in right now. This is Travis, one of
Gladney's in-country staff AND a monkey we met on the sidewalk in the
middle of the city.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
we have to pack but I wanted to post some pictures of the Kolfe feast.
It was awesome. We got there at 9am and talk a bit with the boys,
then we met the 5 sheep, then we... ehh umm "dressed" the sheep and
prepared the meal. All of the boys helped with the meal and I got
some great photos of the Kolfe Mommas cooking. These boys are the
most wonderful kids you can imagine and we really enjoyed spending so
much time with them. We finally at at about 1:30pm and had some
fantastic fellowship with them. At one point a man cam around with
the "special dish" and all the boys pointed to a spot near me for him
to scoop some out on. They said "try it try it", and had a very
mischievous look on their faces. I told them to try it first and
they hesitated before finnaly trying it and putting on a fake "yummy"
face. I asked Belay what it was.... stomach. I didn't try it.
Funny boys. Emily ended up eating it with out knowing (she was at
a different table).
Last pic was at another orphanage, we gave them a 24ft parachute.
They had a blast with it.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
- the first few Nevaeh was really posing for the camera
- the a few from crater lake
- the last one was from the Hilton. There was a big wedding there
and they had 2 of these "hanging raw meat stations". We took the
picture from the other side of the glass. People would walk up and a
server would slice off a big hunk of meat. Chalk that up as the last
time we will probably see big hunks of raw meat hanging in a Hilton.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
intense Day 4. Emily woke up at 8:30 feeling very disorientated. We
think she had a mild case of altitude sickness. She really didn't
start feeling better until after lunch. Our driver picked us up at
around 9:45 to do some souvenir shopping. We did very well at the
shopping. It was difficult because every little shop had really neat
stuff. We only got halfway down the row of shops before we ran out of
local money and Emily started really feeling bad. The shops were
maybe 3' x 5' with 3 walls. We will probably return to get some more
stuff, but are really pleased with all that we bought so far. It is common
to bargain at these shops but not easy to do. Most things are very
well priced to begin with, so it's difficult to start bargaining down the
shopkeepers when we have so much, even though they expect the bargaining...
It is tough. We did make the mistake of going into a shop that sold a lot of necklaces and Emily
tried a bunch on before we asked the prices. After she had picked
out her favorite three pieces and we had all commented how much we liked
them, we then asked the price. I would not recommend that method,
but the price was still fair to American prices.
After shopping, we went to a fantastic pizza place call Aztica (Ethiopia was once occupied by Italy), and then back to he hotel for naps and resting up.
At 4pm, we headed off to Dreamland, which is a resort about 90min
away from Addis. We drove through an industrial part outside of
Addis and then eventually made our way to the resort. Dreamland
overlooks this crater lake and was absolutely beautiful. We had a
fantastic meal outside on the patio overlooking the lake (Ethiopian
traditional food) with all the families, drivers and Belay. The sun
was setting behind us. The setting was really quite amazing. This
resort is located in a small town outside of Addis. It is really
strange to be in such luxury amidst such poverty 10 feet outside
the wall of the resort. Belay said that one of the most popular jobs
is the waitering job for the restaurant on Saturday night (when the
Gladney families come to eat).
While driving around in the afternoon, we also had the chance to stop
by a photo shop and printed out a bunch of pictures that we took
at the Kolfe boys orphanage. We will hand the pictures out to the
guys when we see them on Monday... which reminds me. I wanted to do
a big feast for the boys at Kolfe, and a business friend of mine that
has been following our blog has bought 4 lambs/goats for the feast.
We are going to have it on Monday, which is my birthday. Emily and
I are going to get there at 9am and I am going to help the boys
prepare the lambs/goats. Hopefully they will let us help prepare and
cook the meal as well. We are incredibly excited about filling the
tummies of those fantastic boys and just spending some time and
fellowship with them. I can't imagine a better birthday present.
Picture is the Kolfe boys, will post more pics later
Friday, February 1, 2008
2 things to add and a picture.
1) Yes super emotional, super draining day.
2) At the 2nd orphanage, all the kids loved to have their picture taken and then loved it even more when you show them their picture on the screen. So much so, that they were pushing each other to see my 2" screen, so I decided to just take pictures. The kept shouting EH NAY EH NAY! (spelling? - ene?) and our driver said that means "me". After about 30 pictures without an end in site (taking one picture didn't satisfy the thirst), i just put the camera in my pocket and started saying EH NAY EH NAY over and over and turning in circles. They thought this was quite funny. Luckily the head lady rang the bell and most them ran inside for some school work before I had to come up with a new brilliant plan.
We ordered traditional ethiopian food for room service tonight. Nevaeh loves that Injera.
We then headed off to Kolfe Boys Orphanage. I had seen pictures, so I felt as prepared as possible. The boys all crowded the cars as we entered the compound. I was overwhelmed by their genuine friendliness. Despite all of their hardships, they were incredibly warm and extremely inviting. One of the boys immediately took Nevaeh from me and held her the rest of the visit. Scott went off to play soccer (get schooled in soccer) while I went to play ping pong. (Soccer and the ping pong table (which is outside) are the two things they have.) Three of the boys were so excited for me to see where they stayed. Each had one bed with a blanket, all neatly made, but that was it. None of the boys have any possessions at all. One of them did show me a letter from a visitor that he had received a few years ago, but that was all he had. I didn't even see any spare clothes for any of the boys. They were extremely proud of their vegetable garden, of which they only grow lettuce. Scott and I plan to head back there on Monday. We didn't have time to see the whole compound since we had to leave to meet our birth mom.
Our meeting was very emotional, but very beneficial to all parties. We're very glad that we decided to meet at a restaurant. This made it much easier, instead of being like a formal interview. The only thing that we'll share is that our birth mom had actually named Lulu, Yabesra, which means "work of God". The name "Lulu" was given to her by an American caregiver. Apparently, there were several non-Ethiopian caregivers where they were staying and none of them could pronounce Yabesra, thus the name Lulu. The rest we're going to keep private to ourselves and Nevaeh, so don't even bother asking.
If that wasn't enough of an emotional day, Nevaeh felt like she was coming down with a fever (#2 down) and we were still scheduled to visit two more government-run orphanages. We went to the Kebe (something or other) orphanage where they have the youngest kids. There we found out the husband of the other couple wasn't feeling so well either, so they had to go back (#3 down). By now one of each family is down. Hopefully not for long though. I was so not prepared for this orphanage. All of the kids came running out to see us, but not with any enthusiasm like the older boys, but more of curiosity. At this young age, they had all already had too much of life and it was clearly visible on their faces. Since there aren't enough caregivers, money, etc, all of the kids wore tattered, dirty clothes... The older boys at Kolfe were really a family and were tightly bonded. These young kids were barely holding onto any hope. We visited with them a fair bit (a few spoke some English), then we headed into the infant room. I could barely hold myself together. It was so bad, that Scott didn't even want to take pictures. They had about 20 cribs in a small room, some of which had some that looked to be just a week or two old. There were so many kids that the caregivers didn't have any time to really pay attention to any one child. They just moved from one crib to another, adjusting bottles, changing a diaper, etc. but no real interaction with them. There was one boy, just over one, who was sitting in his crib (of which he was too big for) and started to cry when I began petting his head. They were just the silent kind of tears, streaming down his face. It was like he knew that crying out loud wasn't going to do anything for him. The caregiver said we couldn't pick him up because then he wouldn't let us put him down. It was more than heartbreaking. I had to leave the building. At this point (I hate to say thankfully) Nevaeh really wasn't feeling well, so we headed back to the hotel. I don't think I could have handled the last orphanage after the other two and meeting our birth mom. We're going to try to visit it either Monday or Tuesday.
Nevaeh is now sleeping in the hotel crib with a dose of Tylenol to make her feel a bit better. Today was a very sobering day, one that I will never forget. Tomorrow should be much ligher, emotionally. We're going shopping, assuming Nevaeh is feeling better.