Aidan Birhanu Miller Robinson

Friday, March 11, 2011

Our first trip to Ethiopia (day 2)...

As I mentioned previously, Liam and I got very little sleep the first night (maybe 3 hours). Part of it was getting used to a new bed, which is quite a bit harder than what we're used to in America, but mainly due to the excitement that we felt at meeting Aidan for the first time.

I had tried to get on the computer when I first arrived at the guesthouse, but it wasn't working. This, as I quickly became aware of, is quite common in Ethiopia. The internet only works about half the time and only for a few moments each time.

Around 3:45 in the morning, Liam and I made our way to the lounge/family area, which is on the second floor (see previous post for photograph), to once again see if we might be able to get the computer to work so that we could notify family that we had made it to Ethiopia safely. This time it worked! We sent out a couple of quick messages on Facebook and then returned to our room to get ready for the early departure to Durame.

At 6:30 we joined both of the families that we met at the airport the night before in the dining room for breakfast. Margaret's husband is serving in Afghanistan, so her mother-in-law accompanied her on this trip. After breakfast, we collected our bags since we knew that we would not be returning to Jemimah House that night and waited for the representative from Holt to arrive.

Mulu (I know I'm not anywhere near to spelling this correctly), one of the social workers, arrived with Tsegaw (0ur driver). We all boarded the van and made our way out of Addis towards Durame. In all, the trip took about 7 hours. Below are a few pictures of the city as we left:

Can you see the excitement pouring out of us?

The next picture is a pretty common sight in Addis. Most of the city is under construction and the scaffolding is just a series of sticks criss-crossing each other. There is no way that I would ever get up there, but it seems to work pretty well for them. The little car in front is a three-wheeled taxi. They're all over.

There are several mosques throughout the cities, as well as in the countryside. Ethiopia is about 40% Muslim and 60% Christian.

So, once we left the city, the landscape changed drastically. Gone were the big buildings and traffic congestion. The scenery that followed was beautiful with rolling hills, tall trees and small thatch houses (huts). The most interesting thing were the people. Since it was a Sunday and most people were out and about enjoying the beautiful 70 degree weather, thousands of them lined the sides of the road. Some were walking towards their family's homes, many others were going to church or mosque. Our van weaved in and out of the throngs of people and animals (mostly donkeys, cows and goats, but we saw some camels too) that accompanied them. As one adoptive father said, "the road was built for the people's use, and not the cars."

This is a pretty common sight. Ethiopians use donkeys to carry water (the yellow containers). Most people walk SEVERAL miles to the nearest water source and then back again to their homes.

A typical thatch house. A whole family will live in one hut (sometimes as many as 10 or 11 people). When a boy grows up and marries, the community often builds him a hut next to his family's so that he can help work the land.

Isn't this picture amazing? It's as if God is shining through the clouds, blessing our journey to Aidan.

Any time that our van slowed down, a group of children (usually boys) would congregate around us. Some asked for a treat or our empty water bottles (I think it must be a prestigious thing to have your own water bottle), but most just wanted to touch our hands or have us wave to them. Their smiles were endearing. One little boy in particular I'll never forget. We were coming around a bend and had slowed down enough so that he could really look at me. When the realization hit that I was white, he started to shout and jump up and down, running after our van. I laughed hysterically.

We stopped twice for a rest and coffee break. Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and even though I'm not a coffee drinker, I have to admit it smelled amazing. Liam, whose not a coffee drinker either, loved it.
On our second stop of the trip, Liam took this picture of the surrounding area. Little did we know at the time that this photo is taken very close to the village where Aidan is from.

As we neared Durame, we pulled off to the side of the road, to allow the other couples to switch vehicles so that they could travel onto Wolyta (another region in southern Ethiopia) where their children are at. Mulu, Tsegaw, Liam and I continued onto Durame. From this point the road went from being paved to dirt and was VERY bumpy. We drove for about another 30-45 minutes.

Mulu was amazing the entire trip at answering any questions that we had and pointing out various crops that are prevalent in Ethiopia. We discussed Holt's involvment in Ethiopia and how they are working tirelessly at helping to preserve birth families and providing programs for mothers and their children, as well as education for school aged children. He pointed out several towns that Holt is working in. All of this new information just helped to solidify our reasons for adopting with Holt. Adoption is vital for helping the nearly 5 million orphans throughout Ethiopia, but it's a last resort. When possible, birth families should be kept together and the children of Ethiopia should remain in Ethiopia. Holt is working to ensure that this happens.

We stopped around 12:45pm for lunch at a hotel near Durame. The Buckley's (another family adopting with Holt) were already there. Since it was their second trip to Ethiopia (they adopted their son two years ago), they had spent the week previously traveling around the southern region. Heather is such a sweet person. Her experience with adoption and Ethiopia was invaluable. When I left to use the bathroom at the hotel, she quietly asked me if I had brought any tissue and when I replied "no", she lent me hers. Like Korea, where we lived for two years, Ethiopians bring their own toilet paper to the bathrooms. So, unless you are in a hotel that caters mainly to westerners, plan on bringing lots of tissue.

I tried my first bit of Ethiopian food, shiro and tibs with injera. Shiro is a spicy bean sauce, while tibs is cut-up meat. Injera is the main staple in Ethiopia, a sour sort of large pancake.

When we were finished, we loaded into two seperate vans and traveled the short distance to the orphanage where we would meet Aidan.

(Photo borrowed from another blog)

I need a whole blog entry to describe the moment that we first met our son, so not to let the suspense build, but...

To Be Continued...

No comments:

Post a Comment