Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Our Trip To Ethiopia Day 3 Part 1 - Monday

Just when we fell into a deep sleep the wake up call rangat 6AM. We were dragging out of bed then realized what our task was for the Annsleigh!!!! Adrenaline kicked in! The airport shuttle scooted us over to the airport in no time. We were there in no time, at 7:15AM. One thing to know about the Dubai is humungous.....very very wide open the walk to the gate was very very long. When we got to the gate we saw Rachel and David again and also met Jorja and Clint who are also adopting thru our agency. Their little baby girl who is 10 months old needs to head to surgery day after they return, and I always thought our agency should have/could have expedited their case more than they did. They also have had lots of horrendous issues getting this far as they were caught up in the abandonement issue months ago. Anyway, we talked with them until boarding time. It was great to meet them. The flight quickly boarded & it was a quick 3 1/2 hour flight that felt like no time at all(any flight seemed short compared to the 14 hour one the day before). We landed in Addis Ababa at about 11:05. I teared up, got emotional already.....we were in our baby's country....being this close to our precious baby. God has brought us on this amazing adventure that we never thought would/could do. I did not experience my first impression out of the airport as others horrendous traffic, diesel smell, pollution, shortness of breath due to altitude...what I experienced was beauty. As soon as we exited the customs area, the Melkam Guest House owner Zeyedeh and his 12 year old son held my name up looking for us with friendly smiling faces. Actually, everyone this entire trip so far has been very polite & friendly. As soon as we walked outside, there is a mountain range. Beautiful! Birds chirping. No smog. Fresh air. It felt good out. 68 degrees partly sunny skies. It was a quick van ride to the Melkam Guest House only about 4 miles away. When we got there Brad napped while I freshened up and unpacked a little bit. There was less than 2 hours left til we get picked up to be taken to the House of Hope (HOH) where Annsleigh has been living for the last 6 months. They picked us up at about 2:30PM at the Melkam. From here on, I have a very very different impression of Addis Ababa now. We drive along & I see masses & masses of people what we would call "loitering" in every square foot of space along the roads in what should be sidewalks. Some laying down as if to sleep amongst the chaos. Piles and mounds of trash everywhere. Some children and adults digging thru it. Thousands of people with mats laid out on the ground with their produce lined up and displayed on it. Sometimes its fruit/veggies sometimes metal trinket odds and ends. Thousands of people with shoe shine mats set up everywhere. Shoe shine? They are wearing sandals! They are washing shoes/sandals amongst the filth. And there are women everywhere carrying extremely heavy loads on their backs...straw/bundles of sticks/ water bottles full. Mobs of people walking everywhere as if everyone is very busy.....Doing what? Loitering and hanging out while the women work....Hanging around...and the masses & masses of people cross the street whereever and anywhere they please. There is alot of hand holding/arm holding amongst men. Is this to be safe to cross the street? Or just good friendship? Or is it something else? Crossing the street is next to impossible, but they do it anyway. Let me try and describe the streets. The streets are packed with about 4-5 cars or vans wide in each direction, with motorcycles squeezing in between. I would say bumper to bumper, but that is not accurate. That would be too orderly. Its all cock-eyed traffic cutting off and squeezing in. Horns beeping like crazy....smell of smog is all the mayhem....there is no one giving anyone else "the finger", or pulling a gun or knife out. They are courtiously random in their driving and pedestrian crossing. Pedestrians just walk out in from the the moving vehicles and look right at the driver and just continue to slowly swanter across in no hurry and come literally within inches of being splattered. They just look at the van like, my own time. They are not afraid of being hit. Poverty is obvious. Beggars up to the van made me just cry. Boys my sons age in beautiful young girl with her hair braided beautifully begging at the van. 3 more arms come in the crack of the window. One blind man, one man with him. A couple other men. A young woman with her baby wrapped around her, both thin looking in rags...begging at the window. Brad was handing out $1 birr left and right and bubble gum to the kids. I cried....Its very easy for these people to pick out the vans full of white folks. They know we have the handouts....Its hard not to give....The crippled has no down on the ground, with shoes on his hands to walk along....1 man sitting on his shirt on the ground amongst the heap of chaos 1/2 of him burned almost in a straight line down his hair and face. 1/2 hair missing. 1 man with football sized tumors all over his back which was shirtless. 1 armed men, 1 legged men....crutches.....wheelchairs.....GOD!!!!! I see now why it is so hard for someone to describe this! One little boy about 2 sat in between adults asleep on the sidewalk......he was just watching traffic go by. All in rags....I cant help but wonder how long before they realize they cannot take care of him and put him in an orphanage? .....2 children walk down the street. The boy was wearing a hat made out of a cardboard box. Then, amongst all this are clean and well dressed folks & children adorably dressed & well groomed, some of them with backpacks like they were coming or going to school. .....