Thursday, March 29, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
Sunday – Day 11
Pretty quiet day. I wasn't feeling so great – so Mike went to church with Charlie and Charlotte. Kata Taxi picked them up!!!! I had a great nap and was feeling much better by the time they got home. We took it easy and then Jessa and Doug came over. We hung out here for a while and then we walked to the “roadrunner' for pizza. Had a really nice night.
Monday – Day 12
We got up and walked to the Kidslink Office. We had a good chat with Martha who explained a bit more our paperwork issue. Then we walked to the Orphanage – had a very short visit with Bedi – he screamed almost the whole time. They took us to a different room so we could feed him some breakfast... but that did not go very well at all... We didn't stay too long. We started to walk back and stoped at Kaldi's for coffee. This is a Starbucks knock off... Good choc dessert with our Machiatos!!!! Then to the bank and then back to the guesthouse. Then we had an hour until we got picked up by Marcos. He drove us to the Ethnological Museum. It was pretty good. We hung around the university till he picked us up again. Then he took us for some more shopping. It was a good day. Hard to believe it was our 'last supper' at the guesthouse. Eyob came by and told us about his trip to Soddo. He also explained a bit more as to what our paperwork issue intails. Its more of a 'misunderstanding' than anything else and hopefully it can be fixed up real soon.
Tuesday - Day 13
Tuesday was our last day. We had a really good breakfast and just hung around the guesthouse all day. We got packed up and ready to go. After lunch Chris and Christine returned from Lalibela. Doug also came for our coffee ceremony. Jessa was sick. We had a nice time catching up before our flight. With just 15 minutes to spare Germachew came to let us know that our paperwork was well underway. MOWA signed the letter and he presented it to the judge's secretary. What great news before getting on the plane. Eyob and Germachew then drove us to the airport – they said we were diplomats!!!! What a great end to a wonderful trip. It was a long flight to Dubai – didn't get to the hotel till 3 and were up at 5 to get going again.... and that is that. We arrived home on Wednesday evening. My parents picked us up and delivered us safely home. We were ready for bed by the time we got home!!
Thursday – Day 8
We were off early in the morning. Emnet had a busy agenda for us. We had breakfast on the go – fetera – so good. An arabic breakfast – fried flatbread with egg and honey drizzled on top! It was very good.
Our first stop was in Awassa at a bird sanctuary. We saw some crazy huge birds and lots of monkeys. I even feed on out of my hand – reluctantly. The boys were feeding the big birds fish and wanted me to feed them.... not my kind of thing. You can see in the pictures that i wasn't exactly a willing participant. We also visited Halle Resort in Awassa for a machiatto. Its a beautiful place and i could sure spend some time there – on Lake Awassa – amazing place. We were on the road again and then stopped at Lake Lanagno – another amazing resort i could spend some serious time at. It was so beautiful. The restaurant was a big hut with bamboo roof and a hole in the middle. There were gardens then in the middle – cactus and other plants – so pretty. Also a very nice breeze coming in off the lake. It was very hot while we were there!!!! We walked down to the beach and enjoyed some time by the water. Too bad we didn't have our swim suits with us!!!
Back to the van and then on to Deibra Zeit. We stopped there at the “Officers Club” - there is an airforce base close by. Another really nice place on a lake. It was an enjoyable but long day. We got back to the guesthouse by about 7 that night and there was a coffee ceremony waiting for us – i guess they missed us!!! The idea of having 3 cups of coffee so close to be scared me a bit... but the coffee is so amazing :) Eyob wanted a report of our trip and we were pretty happy to fill him in on all of our adventures! Eyob is from the town near where Bedi was born. I sure slept good that night!!!
Friday – Day 9
We were off to Adama. KVI has an orphanage there and the other 2 couples were having thier post court visit so we tagged along for the ride. The main purpose for us to go was to take the donations to the kids and for the other couples to have a visit with their kids. When Germachew picked us up – he told us we would be bringing the kids back to Addis – surprise – you have to be flexible and go with the flow. When we got there the kids had been napping and so were not so happy. They were actually pretty upset and not so willing to visit. In the end they went back to bed and we went off to have lunch.
Germachew dropped us off at The Safari Lodge. Again it would have been nice to have our swim suits!! We ate lunch by the pool and hung out for a few hours. Germachew had some other business to attend to. He then took us back to the Orphange. The kids were home from school by then and doing homework. We came in and spent some time with them. Its so hard when they don't know much english! The Sister then brought in the new shoes and bags and distributed tehm. It was like Christmas!! The little guy next to me could hardly sit still until she called his name!!! They were very polite and waited thier turn. We spent some time tying up laces and back pack straps. They were pretty happy kids! All too soon we were off in the van again with the 2 nannies and babies as well. It didnt take long for them to settle in and the moms got to hold them for quite a while. It was such a great thing to see 2 moms holding thier sons for the first time. Another long day for sure but a really great one.
Saturday – Day 10
Today we were on our own. We called up Marcos – a well known driver/tour guide. Today was shopping day!!!!! Finally :) We first went to the Former Wood Carrier Workshop. They do weaving and make scarves. Its a good mission and they make nice things. We got to see them weaving and then shopping... so hard to decide!!!
Then we found some traditional clothing and some embroidered pillows and things. Such beautiful work done on these pieces! We were creating a bit of stir on the street. I didn't notice because i was busy shopping... Mike was getting more of it as he was the one holding the wallet.. Marcos did all the bargaining for us... We left one shop without getting what i wanted...but we trusted him and moved on. The next shop owner told us 'he is dangerous'!!! I am sure the shop owners weren't too happy with him!!! We then headed off to the silver market. I got some amazing jewellery – a special piece to commerate this amazing trip -and a piece for Bedi for when he is older. I could have shopped there all day!!! Silver is charged by the weight - 34birr per milligram. This was a fixed price but you get a discount with Marco :) We also went to a coffee place and got some coffee to bring home – also a coffee pot and shiro (stew) pot. By then we were getting pretty hot and ready for lunch. Marcos took us to Ghion Hotel. We looked around the park which was very nice – amazing calla lilies there!! Then we had some lunch there. It was a pretty fancy place! It was a set 3 course menu which was very nice. By then we were pretty hot and ready to be done. We got back to the guesthouse by 2 and showed everyone our treasures – then off to a short nap. We have a nice balcony and so we read out there for a bit – good day!
Wednesday – Day 7
This was the day we were off to Soddo. It was an amazing adventure into the country side. Bedilu was born near this place and spent some time in the orphanage there before going to the city. Emnet picked us up and we left for Soddo by 6:30am. It was amazing to get on the road and out of the city. It is a huge city and it did take quite a while to get into the countryside. We picked up Sirfrehiutwot Kerhlase along the way. She is the project manager for KVI. It was quite a drive!! It took us 5 hours – no stopping!! Such amazing and beautiful countryside! We saw desert and mountains, fence made from cactus and beautiful flowering shrubs. Round huts with amazing painting, cattle and oxen and horses and donkeys and goats and sheep and camels and one hyena hit on the road. Animals are everywhere and the donkeys work very hard!!! It seems that gathering water is a big job here and we see many people spending their days getting water. Donkeys with water jug harness or carts full of water jugs.
We saw 2 different times, friends carrying a sick person on a stretcher to the nearest clinic.... This seemed rather futile as there didn't seem to be towns anywhere near. The second group were mourning – crying and tearing at their hair... It was so sad to see knowing that they probably were too late. We also saw a funeral procession when we got into town.
We got into town, found our hotel - $18/night and had some lunch. Soddo is a very nice city. Very clean and not as crazy as Addis. After lunch we headed to the orphanage. We were welcomed there and had a tour. So many young babies there – some a month or so -just tiny babies! I think there were at least 15 or so babies there. I would have loved to hold them but they are pretty shy of strangers. We saw the bedrooms and the kitchen – cooking over charcoal fire and small burners. They are doing an amazing job. The older kids were at school. There were 2 boys that we there and not in school. They were new to the orphanage and didn't know the local language. We got out our bubbles and played with them while things got arranged. We were waiting for the social worker to come and speak with us as well as a shopping list. The sister went with us to shop.
Chris and Christine gave a donation and so we were off to shop. We got 100kg of Teff and of flour and some formula. Everywhere we went people were calling 'ferengi' – but unlike the big city they weren't asking for money – just wanted to touch us or have their picture taken. We caused quite a stir at the market!!! When we got back to the orphanage we got everything unloaded.
We had an amazing adventure meeting so many people who were involved with Bedilu's early days. They were all so welcoming and humble and I was overcome with how many folks have cared for our son and have been involved in his story. This is his story and so we will not be sharing the details of this day. Some day he may choose to share but until then we will guard his experience and be grateful for the way God has protected him and has used others to bring him to us.
By the end of the day we were all done in. We had a nice dinner and then we were in bed. I did not sleep much that night – very hard bed and noisy place!!!!! I did have a nice shower though – which has been kind of rare :)
Day 4 - Sunday
So we didn't sleep much better last night – we were both wide away by about 3:30am... so we ended up getting up and getting ready for the day. Its funny cause i am never that wide awake at home. Eyob took us to church today. It was Beza International Church and it was very good. I think there were about 500+ at the english service we went to. It was great to meet Eyob for the first time – he is the director of KVI. He came back and had lunch with us and we had a good chat. Chris and Christine and Jessa and Doug went to Adama for the day to see their kids. It was great to hear all about their adventures and meeting their boys. Its funny that Chris and Christine's boy is named Molaign Bedilu and it seems like they got some pictures of Bedilu over the months in error... pretty funny. We did give in and have a short nap this afternoon – hopefully this won't come back to bite us... Overall it was a pretty quiet day. Mike is ready for more adventure and i am slowly warming up to the idea. Tomorrow is court!
Day 5 – Monday
We slept much better last night! Our first full night of sleep!!! We were pretty excited to get up and get going to court. Germatchew picked us up and already had Jessa and Doug in the van. So nice to finally meet them. We then picked up Martha from the Kidslink office. It was a short drive to the court house. Martha led us inside and up the stairs. At the time it felt like we were climbing 10 flights... It was a busy building with lots of people there. We finally got to our destination. It was a large waiting room with chairs on the outside of the room. There were probably about 40+ people waiting there to see the judge. We were only there for about 15 minutes until we were all called in. All three couples and Martha went in together. We were all quite nervous! We entered a little room and the judge had her desk at the end. In front of her were a couple of desks full of paper work and files. We sat in chairs at the other end of the room. She took our passports and then asked us a number of questions. They were all 'yes and no' type things but she did speak to us about our responsibility to teach our sons ethiopian culture and have a support system of other adoptive families. Then she said the magic words to the other couples – 'they are yours'. She then explained to us that there was a letter missing for our file. We had conditionally passed based on when the letter comes. It was very disappointing and i was fighting back the tears. I knew if i started i wouldn't be able to stop. Martha and Germatchew reassured us that we would probably have the letter before we leave to go home.
Once we got back to the guesthouse we could then plan out most of the remaining trips we are making. Then we got a taxi and headed off to Afroland Lodge to meet up with Jessa and Doug. We had quite a taxi ride!!! Our driver first had to change the water in the rad... Mike could explain it better... It was quite something. I am sure mike will write about our trip!! He charged us a bit more but i think that the comedy show we had was included in the price! He was quite a character!!! So, we went out for lunch with Jessa and Doug and Chris and Christine. It was a great lunch and then we met another couple at the restaurant from Alberta with their little guy! We walked around for a bit and then came back to the guesthouse. This was the first time that we had people really begging around us. One girl with a baby on her back followed us for quite a while asking for money. 'Please my baby'.... it was hard to ignore but we just kept walking. Then on the taxi ride on the way home a guy came up to the car and wanted money... It is so hard – but we found out that is actually illegal to give money to beggars... We spent the rest of the evening planning out our donations and shopping trips for tomorrow.
Day 6 - Tuesday
Today was shopping day!!! We had collected quite a bit of money from friends and family. It was to make donations to 3 orphanages. Emnet picked us up and we went to KVI Addis to look at their washing machine. Then we were off to shop. We went to about 5 different stores to see what was out there. Then we had a machiatto :) and decided to go with one we had seen in the second shop. Back we went and to the store. It took a while to figure things out. Another lady was looking at the same one when we got there and she said it was a good one. So, we did the paper work – the receipt had my name on it and loaded it up into the Landcruiser and headed to the orphanage. What a reception we got!!!! All the workers came out and the laundry lady had a big huge smile on her face! We took lots of pictures with the machine. They had 3 other machines there but only 1 was working and there was a huge mountain of laundry to be done! We got to poke our head into Bedi's room and say hi. He was standing in a crib bouncing up and down with another boy – they looked like they were full of mischief!!! We came back to the guesthouse and had lunch. Then we meet the head nurse from the Adama Orphanage and went to the merkato. What a trip!!! This is the largest market in Africa. We drove in and stayed in the car as Sister did all the negotiating. As soon as the vendors see 'ferengi' the price goes up. It didn't take long to find 18 back packs and 12 pair of shoes.
When we got back to the guesthouse, we had a coffee ceremony for Bob and Ceclie. Amazing coffee that is roasted, ground and brewed in front of us and then served. Must have 3 cups!!! Popcorn with sugar is also served. They had spread a mat with lots of lovely flowers from the garden, very special. The rest of the day we rested to get ready for our big trip.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Didn't sleep so great last night. Wanted to go to bed early – but it was so noisy!!! It was a national holiday yesterday and so i am not sure if that had something to do with the noise level or if it is just normal. We are very close to a busy street and also close to a highway and so there is street noise all the time. Also fairly close to the airport with lots of planes overhead. Throw in barking dogs, the calls to prayer at the local mosque, roosters and there you have it. I think i was up by 4:00. We did watch the sun come up over the mountains.
We had a nice breakfast and met Chris and Christine who arrived late last night. They live in Ayton. They also have court on Monday. At 10:00 we were to have a driver pick us up to take us to the Orphanage. As the time came closer i got more and more nervous!! Finally Germachew came and we were off. Remember how yesterday i thought that because it was a holiday that there were lots of people out and about.. well i guess that is just everyday. There are people everywhere - all the time. Its a bit intimidating for me – Mike is ready to get out and explore and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything!!!
Anyway, back to the story. In about 10 minutes we were sitting in front of the KVI Addis Orphanage honking our horn and waiting to be let in. Just like that the gate opened. It is a pleasant compound. It has palm trees and flowering bushes and some grassy areas. Being Saturday there is no school so there were kids around. Mainly older ones hanging around. The younger ones must have been busy doing something but we didn't really see them. We waited a few minutes and then were taken to the back of the house – the last room. There were 8 babies/toddlers on a grass mat playing with toys. I spotted Bedi right away. He was in his red striped t-shirt. He took one look at us and burst into tears. It took a while for the nannies to make him happy again and soon he was smiling. We sat down and started to play with the kids. Some were walking and most including Bedi were crawling. We started playing with the other kids and slowly with Bedi. He will need to take some time getting used to us! The other kids though were quite happy to play with us. I held one little girl and all of a sudden she was sleeping... Older kids and some of the other workers would come from time to time to the open window to find out who we were there for. Bedi liked to play with a car and some blocks and was playing peek-a-boo with both of us. At one point all the nannies left the room and there we were with 8 babies!!! Bedi came crawling towards me. I was already holding a little girl and he wanted me to pick him up.... i did and then soon the nannies came back and that was that. He is so small! I would say he looks about 9 months. And he has had a hair cut. His curls are much shorter than in the photos! He has good eye/hand coordination – was putting the rings on a tupperware ring stacker thing. He also was building block towers with me and knocking them down. He sits well on his own and can move pretty quickly – we will have to watch him for sure! I have a feeling that after a few visits he will be good to come with us. He has four teeth that we could see – the front two on the top and 2 on the bottom. Mike reminded me that we saw him stick his whole hand in his mouth. At one point the nannies had him laughing so much he would do a head dive straight forward.
The nannies have a strict schedule and we could see that play time was over. The toys went away and a stack of potties came out of the cupboard. Each kid had their diaper taken off and then was plunked on a potty. It was pretty funny cause some of them would use their legs to scoot around the room in their potty. One little girl managed to back herself under a crib and then escape. Not sure that the potties were getting any action though. It would have been a cute picture though to see them all lined up! Looked like it was soon going to be lunch time and then nap time. There were 6 cribs in the room and we saw Bedi's name tag and photo taped to the wall over top of his crib. Not sure who was sharing as there were 6 cribs and 8 babies. I think over all we were there for 1 hour. It seems like a longer time to me. It was fun and yet to hard to not want to just scoop him up!!! It was hard to play with the other kids and not just him... So, that was the end of the visit, Germachew brought us back to the guesthouse.
We had a bit of a rest and then it was lunch time. Since then we have been taking it easy, reading on our balcony and having a nap. Hopefully we will start sleeping better at night. Across the street from our guesthouse is some shanty houses. Some kids there saw us on the balcony and it seems that they know white people means money or candy. They were shouting up to us 'give us some chocolate'. They got braver and braver and came to the door at the gate which was open a bit and were still trying to get some chocolate... sorry kids we don't have any... They are obviously used to having people that stay here bring them treats.
After our rest, the girls at the guesthouse had prepared a coffee ceremony for the couple who are leaving tomorrow. It was beautiful with flowers and burning incense. The coffee – roasted and brewed right in front of us was AMAZING!!!!! So good!!! I think the caffeine helped to pick me up as i was dragging abit by then.
Chris and Christine invited us to go for dinner tonight. This included a walk - you know – out on the street... which has been freaking me out abit. Mike would love nothing more than to be out exploring and i am hesitating quite a bit. But when they asked i figured why not... they knew where we were going and it really was a short walk. It was a nice little restaurant (The Roadrunner) and we ate outside under tents they had set up in the courtyard. We had pizza that was very nice. We are soon going to watch a movie on our laptop and hope to get good and tired before we go to bed tonight. Already its much quieter than last night – hopefully we sleep a full night tonight!!
It was a long day waiting for the time to come to go to the airport! Mike woke me up that morning and i would have thought it was Christmas! He would have been jumping on the bed if i hadn't been in it. So, we got ourselves packed up – lots of space and under weight so that we can bring lots of stuff home! My parents came and picked us up and took us to the airport. It rained all the way there and hopefully it didn't freeze on them on the way home. There had been freezing rain earlier in the day. We did stop for supper on the way and had a good 'last' Canadian supper. Then we were off to the airport.
It was smooth sailing all the way through check in and security and before we knew it we were waiting at the gate for our flight. What a huge plane!!!! An airbus 380-800!!! The plane wasn't full and we had an empty seat beside us which was nice. Our flight took off at 9:45pm. We flew with Emirates and so our 13 hour flight went to Dubai. We added about another hour onto that flight for de-icing and other airport delays. It was a pretty good flight. Neither of us has anything to compare it to though. Emirates has a nice inflight entertainment system that included live cameras from the outside of the plane. I don't think either of us slept more than 20 minutes at a time.... We arrived in Dubai the next day at 7:30pm (local time).
Arriving in Dubai was interesting. Once we figured out 'which line to be in' it went smoother. It only took 2 hours to get our visa, get through customs and find our shuttle to the hotel. I thought that was pretty good. The Dubai airport is something else!! It is massive and very glitzy! Lots of lights and shiny things :) You aren't allowed to take pictures in the airport – too bad! As part of our flight we had a layover with a hotel and food vouchers included in our flight. The hotel was filled with other travellers such as ourselves and it felt like the United Nations!!!! We had quick showers – so NICE!!! and then off to the dining room for a buffet supper. It was very busy and lots of unfamiliar food (get used to it!!) At this point we weren't too hungry anyway. I think both of us slept pretty well that night. We were up by 5:00 and enjoyed a really nice buffet breakfast in the dining room and then off to find the shuttle to the airport. It was just starting to get light out as we were leaving for the airport. The hotel was very close to the airport so we saw very little of Dubai. It was a very busy place – lots of traffic.
Our flight from Dubai to Addis was 4 hours long. Getting through the airport took longer than i anticipated as it is so huge!! It seemed that we just got to the gate and suddenly we were boarding. We took a bus from the terminal to the tarmac and the ride was about 5 or more minutes. It is a huge airport!!!! It suddenly started to feel very real to me when we started circling Addis to land. Here we were about to land in the country of our son! Wow. I did manage to keep it together. Once we got our visas, getting through the airport was no problem. We were very happy to see all of our bags !!!! Unfortunately there was a mix up with our driver and he had come in the morning to pick us up... A nice young lady at the airport helped us out and called the guesthouse and soon our driver came and got us.
What a feeling to step out of the airport! How beautiful! There are mountains surrounding the city on all sides. Lots of palm trees and flowering bushes. It was 20 but to me it felt hot. What a crazy ride to the guesthouse. It is a national holiday today and so I am not sure if it was more busy than normal but there were people everywhere!!! Lots of horns beeping and cars and trucks going everywhere! I do have to say that they deal with roundabouts better than we do in KW :) We were greeted very warmly by the guest house staff and shown our room. It is quite comfortable and has a balcony that we have already enjoyed. We spent some time getting settled in and then having a nap. All along i had a feeling that we were forgetting something... And guess what it was? Toothpaste... We each have the little travel size toothpaste from our carryon's and that is it. Its funny because i have been lecturing Mike on travel safety including not to use tap water to brush teeth. Well, we had just discovered the lack of toothpaste when i need to brush my teeth. So, using a small amount so as to ration what we have, i proceeded to put the tooth brush and paste under the tap water... I rinsed it off with bottled water and am hoping for the best. So far so good. Tonight we had dinner here which was very good. We have met a couple that are from Woodstock that are staying here! Their daughter adopted a little girl a year ago. They came back to do more travelling. We had dinner with them tonight. There is also a young lady named Charlotte who is staying here from the UK. She is volunteering at the orphanage. She was able to tell us a bit about Bedi. She is teaching english to the older children. It feels like a family atmosphere here which is really nice.
Its just after 8:00pm and we are ready for bed! Its been a long few days! We will go tomorrow at 10:00am to see Bedi for the first time. I still can't believe it is happening!!!! Tomorrow we will see our son for the very first time. Then Sunday we will head out to church and Monday is court.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Saturday, March 10, 2012
The rest of the week has been busy with trips to Soddo and to Adama. Some long and busy days there! But what an amazing experience! It has been wonderful to get out of the city and see some of the countryside. I am keeping a journal that i will post when we get home - we only have dial up here at the guesthouse - so no photos till we get home... Its all been amazing and overwhelming. We are so in love with Ethiopia!!! There has been so much to take in and digest -some very easy and more very difficult. The people are so amazing and we feel like we have family here now.
Today we did some shopping and it was hard to stop :) So many beautiful things! We visited the Former Wood Carrier shop this morning. They weave amazing scarves!! Took lots of pictures and will put them up when we are home. We had Marcos - some might know that name :) take us shopping and he got some good deals for us. One shop keeper told us 'he is dangerous'!!! He got some good prices!! Marcos toured us around and also took us the Ghion Hotel where we enjoyed the park and some lunch.
We managed to sneak a peak at Bedi yesterday. We were at the orphanage just for a few seconds. Germachew told us that the nannies think he will be a scientist - he examines things very carefully. It is so evident how much they love him! He cried again... but he is warming up just a little bit.
Its so hard to believe that we have to leave in just a few days!! The good news is that we will be coming back soon - its going to be hard to leave that second time!!!!
Monday, March 5, 2012
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Friday, March 2, 2012
We arrived this afternoon, have settled in to our room and had a bit of a rest. Our flights went well and all of our luggage arrived in one piece. Right now we can't access email or facebook...hopefully we can figure it out. We are going to keep it short for now. Tomorrow at 10:00 am we will go to the orphanage and meet Bedi for a short visit! It is still so surreal - tomorrow we will see our son for the first time!!!!
That is all we know for now - will tell more when the jet lag fog clears.
Mike and Brenda