Monday we tried to finish our souvenir shopping. We wanted to get Sophia Mekdes some traditional Ethiopian dresses, so Beky took us to the big market in town. We bought several dresses, probably more than we should have, but they are precious. We got several different sizes and styles. We really wanted to make sure we got a dress that was the same style dress they wear in Gonder and we found one we both loved. She should be able to wear it in a couple of years.
The market is right by Entoto Mountain, so Beky took us there next. We saw many people walking from the market area to their homes at the top of the mountain. He said they were returning from church and made the climb everyday. It is STEEP. Women carry wood down from the mountain everyday. I can’t imagine how taxing this must be on there bodies. We stopped about half way up, so we could take pictures. We were greeted by four boys. This is how our conversation went:
Me: Thank you.
Boy: What is your country?
Me: America. I like Ethiopia.
Boy: We like America.
Me: This is a long, steep climb. Do you get tired?
Boy: Yes, very. Eucalyptus. (One of the boys handed me a piece of eucalyptus, while the others kicked around a deflated soccer ball).
The boys were precious. When we left Michael gave them each a couple of pieces of candy. They were so excited. I wish we could have done more for them. I am so grateful to have met these boys. As I have been thinking and praying about what God might have in store for us in the future, I have spent a lot of time focusing on the needs of orphans in Ethiopia and in other countries, as well. Being in Ethiopia allowed me to cross paths with children, like these boys, a boy begging to shine my shoes (Tom’s don’t shine!), little girls begging for money and so many others. These kids have families, but they still need so much.
Now, I obviously think adoption is a wonderful and beautiful thing. However, I truly believe more needs to be done to enable parents to raise their children. The ideal situation is for parents to have the resources to care for the children and raise them in a stable environment. This is not always possible and that is where adoption comes in. These children made me think more about what could be done to strengthen family groups and the resources available to them.
I really wanted to visit their facility, so we asked one of the in-country staff if they knew where it was and they gave us a general idea. We drove around and found it. We honked the horn several times, hoping they would let us in and they did! I told them we would love to tour their facility and they let us. I won’t post pictures of the children, but will post a few pics of their happy facility. This orphanage was drastically different from the government run orphanages we had encountered the day before. They had bright murals on the walls, playgrounds, organization and more. When we walked in, many of the children were coloring. It was so nice to see the kids engaged in an activity. AHOPE was a very peaceful, happy place. I am so glad we stopped by!
We had a few more places we wanted to shop, because many of the shops were closed on Monday due to the Easter holiday. We wanted to get an Amharic Bible, which we did. I told Michael it could be Gone With The Wind and we would never know. They did assure us it was a Bible!
We also wanted to get some music from Gonder. Beky took us to a store and we got two CDs and a dance DVD. Thankfully, Travis suggested we test them, because one of them wasn’t working. The CDs are really cheep, so check them before you leave the country. Beky exchanged the blank one later that day.
Tuesday morning we also visited the National Museum of Ethiopia. It was pretty interesting. We found it very sad that they do not have a better facility. Their artifacts were not preserved well at all. Some were in display cases with skylights in them. The paper was starting to bubble inside and the sun was shining down on them.
After the museum we met up with the Knights, another Gladney family, and Travis, Joanna and Belay, Gladney in-country staff. We went to Island Breeze again. Michael couldn’t have been happier. This time we had pizza. It was nice to be able to visit with our new friends one last time.
After lunch we swung over to Tomoca, Michael’s favorite coffee shop. He and Beky had to get coffee one last time! We then went back to the Leprosy Hospital to shop again in their craft shop. We just loved it there and got some new things for our home and for our family.
We went back to the guest house after that and got ready to leave. We were very sad to leave Ethiopia and especially to say goodbye to the staff at Bejoe’s. They became our friends and loved on our daughter more than we could have ever expected them to. They are wonderful ladies and we miss them dearly.
Part of me wanted to stay longer, because I felt like God had more to teach us. There is a common game played at wedding showers that involves yarn. One of the hostesses goes around the room and starts unraveling a spool of yarn and you tell them when to stop. After everyone has their yarn, you go around the room and wrap the yarn around your finger. Each time you wrap it around, you must share something about yourself. The person with the longest piece, obviously has to say the most. While we were in Ethiopia, I felt like God was wrapping yarn around our fingers, slowly teaching us more about Him and about ourselves.
I started feeling nauseous before we left and feared that it would be a long trip home. Luckily it went away a few hours later! Sophie, however, had a fever the entire way home.
We slept a little bit on the plane, but not very much. We were lucky to have an extra seat on our row, so we could lay Sophie down to sleep. She did really well on the plane, but she seemed very lethargic and uncomfortable. I am sure the fever wasn’t helping that too much.
We had a five hour layover in Amsterdam. We ate breakfast and hung out in the very peaceful airport. We boarded the plane for Minneapolis and sat across the aisle from a 2.5 year old boy who screamed a good portion of the flight. Not fun. He did NOT want to buckle his seatbelt and the flight attendant kept telling him, “It’s the law.” Really? Your going to try that logic with a 2.5 year old?
When we landed in Minneapolis we went through customs, got her green card and had to recheck all of our luggage. We only had a two hour layover and we were concerned this would not be enough time. It was, so I am glad we didn’t change our flight! I wasn’t too thrilled to get on another plane, because we had a lot of turbulence when we landed in Minneapolis and I was still feeling a bit queasy! The flight was short and sweet. We could not have been happier to land in OKC and introduce our little darling to her family who had been praying for her and falling in love with her for three months.