Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ethiopia: Day 6

I feel amazing! Got in bed at 8:30 last night and didn't get up until 7:30 this morning. No wild dogs fighting outside my window (hotel is on a cliff out on the edge of town) and no Monica snoring, so slept pretty well. REALLY needed that! Finally feel rested. 

Still no internet, but got a really nice shower! Finally some good water pressure!!  Just incredible view from our balcony!

Breakfast at 8:30.  Ordered "oat porridge" which was oatmeal.  Loaded it up with sugar and it was soooo good!  Oh, and I've given up on the pepto. I brought some with me but haven't taken any. I never have done anything like that on any other trip and I've been fine! Karen kind of freaked me out because numerous people got sick last year. I'm chancing it from here on out I think. I'm pretty sure I have enough pepto in my system for the next few weeks anyways!

I just can't get over how beautiful this place is. Never seen anything like it and pictures or even video wont even come close to doing it justice.  Its a perfect cool morning. Loving the fresh air and sunshine!  Weather has just been incredible the whole trip. 

Julie and I in the lobby - waiting to leave
Left hotel at 9:30 to head back to airport. Noticed a building with windows (one of the only ones I've seen) and there were big white X's painted on the windows. Mario said they were to keep the birds from flying in to them and breaking them.

Saw soooo many young girls hunched over carrying heavy water jugs or crates of coke bottles, etc. walking on the miles and miles of hilly roads out in the middle of no where -  little boys working fields or herding sheep.  Just breaks my heart because then you see a super old lady barely able to walk but still doing the same thing...and you realize that in 50 years, that beautiful little kid with so much potential is going to look just like that - doing the same thing day after day just to get  by.  They shouldn't be working. They need to get an education so they can break this awful cycle!!

Pulled up to airport and there was a rope blocking the road with a little sign that said "stop" on it.  An army guy got on our bus and checked all of our passports and flight tickets.   

 Security check was nothing once we got inside. I hate to buy stuff at an airport, but I've learned that it's the same stuff you buy off the streets, only nicer. They send all of the nice things to the nice shops.  The stuff there was in better shape than what was in town last night. I got another awesome scarf (cheaper than I did yesterday) and then talked him in to a bracelet for free because I convinced several other girls to buy from his shop, too. (Oh, and the workers jacket said abibas instead of adidas - had to get a pic of that!) Also got my mom some fancy silver hoop earrings I think she is going to love! They're (supposedly) made out of real local Lalibela silver.  She always ends up with the coolest (and most expensive) gifts - as she should for putting up with a crazy daughter!  A couple girls asked me to barter for them, so I did a little, but didn't want to make him mad.   I kind of felt bad because they paid more for not as nice scarves...  Pretty sure no one else had ever done that (bartered for anything).  I think it's kind of fun! And I'm usually pretty good at it - lots of practice in China!!

We gave all of our tickets to Mario and he came back with our "boarding pass." Wait until you see the picture of that. It literally was a green piece of paper with our flight number written on it and the rest was blank. I guess we fill it out ourselves?? So weird...

Went through another security check to get to our gate.  Walked outside to board flight just  before noon.  Open seating and plane looked pretty full so I just sat down  next to an Ethiopian guy, but he didn't speak any English - and he was asleep in about 5 minutes.  Older couple a few rows in front of me were from Wisconsin! 

We were all boarded and did the whole safety speel about seatbelts and exits, and were sitting on the runway about to take off when all of a sudden the brakes just SLAMMED hard. Everyone went flying forward and then the propellers turned off. Without an announcement or anything, we went back to the airport and stopped and they turned the plane off. They eventually came on and said there was a "slight mechanical problem" and they didn't know how long it would be. Just what you want to hear on a little prop plane in Africa! And the mechanics that came out to look at the airplane...well, let's just say they didn't look too professional! We sat on the plane - not running, so no air - for maybe 10 minutes and then went out to the runway again. I think we were all a little curious what the problem was and how they fixed it, but of course they didn't say anything. Not in English anyways! Finally took off a little after 12:30 for 40 minute flight back to Addis...most of which I slept through.  When we landed, I was just praying the brakes were going to work! They did. :)

Another bus to airport and then we had to wait in a long line where there was one lady to check everyone's security cards or passports. Super cute baby in front of me.  She just glanced at my visa and that was it. Apparently this is a high terrorism area since Somalia and Sudan are so close - and they just check everyone coming in to the country. Good to know. 

Happy baby at the airport!
Back in dirty city that smells like diesel. My lungs are going to be permanently damaged after this trip!  A lot of construction going on here.  Use long pieces of wood as scaffolding. Driver said Ethiopians have no concept of saving or planning, so they start these projects and then can't finish them. So Addis always looks like its under construction.  Adele playing on radio.  Only American song I've heard over here and I've heard it twice now.  Goes right back to Ethiopian music right away after that one song.

Two vans next to us waving flags and hollering at each other - going to soccer game and bantering back and forth. Got pic of fans for Somali team. Drove right by little stadium they were going to. 

Stopped off the street to meet rest of team. They were buying fruit and bread to take to Kechene.  Three little girls were begging at our windows for food for a long time. We figured it was just for show and they weren't really hungry. We all still felt bad though, and our translator finally gave them the three (how convenient) pieces of cake we had leftover from the plane. And they WERE hungry! They ate it so fast! It killed all of us to see those beautiful little girls eating what we were going to throw away... And begging on the streets instead of going to school.  When the rest of the team showed up with bananas, they got those, too.  Just so sad... 

No time for lunch for us. Good thing I had enough snacks to tide Julie and I over. Arrived at Kechene around 2:30. It is a school / drop-in center similar to Kind Hearts, only it's in the middle of the city in a walled-in compound. Turned off main road and had to get out and walk - van couldn't make it. Smelled awful. Like feces the whole walk. Very very poor area - probably the worst I've seen in Addis.  

Went through a tin gate and in a cement building. 130 kids (only 65 sponsored!)  sitting in a tiny room clapping and just SO excited to see us! Too cute.  They're all just so beautiful - smelly and filthy or not, they're beautiful! Its so hard not to just snap picture after picture off their little faces, but my camera battery is almost dead!  

They sang songs for us. Two in English - Father Abraham and 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed.  Had to record that!!  Almost all of the kids wear either a regular cross or the orthodox cross around their necks. So well behaved. All sit there with arms crossed and mouths shut when they're told to. Pretty impressive. (Snapped picture of little guy named Henock!)

Father Abraham:
5 Little Monkeys:


Henock (Matt has a good friend from Ethiopia named Henock)

I think he could use some new pants...

Went to bathroom. No worse or better than any others I guess. There was at least a toilet over the hole in the ground for the girls. I guess I didn't realize there was something wet (probably pee, but I'm telling myself water) all over the ground around it. When I pulled my pants down, the bottoms of them got soaked in it. Ugh - so yea, I had some wet pants for awhile. Not cool! I'll be more careful next time!

Karen asked me to help pass out care packages to the kids. Henock gave me a big old kiss on the cheek when I was giving him his stuff from his sponsor family!  Super cute picture.  While the new kids waited to receive their things, they got measured for a new school uniform!  And I played some hand games with the girls... They're good at them!

YouTube Link:

Only about half of these kids are sponsored and got packages from their families in the states, but everyone who wasn't sponsored received a blanket and a little blue tshirt with underwear, a pencil, a fruit roll-up and a toothbrush inside of it. Oooohhh my were they excited!! It was so awesome to be a part of this!! It's like Christmas for them! I've never seen so many happy and grateful kids in my life! I mean they would just run up and grab you and kiss was just awesome. 





Once everyone had received their packages, the kids sang the Ethiopian National Anthem for us (recorded it), and then we passed out a banana and a bread roll to each kid.  They snarffed it down faster than I could snap pictures!  These children live in deep, deep poverty.  It's hard to even comprehend... And it really has been such a blessing to US to be able to serve THEM.


When we left, there were kids (and adults!) outside the compound trying to grab us - just begging for food. It was really hard to not give them anything. The Kechene area is so, so poor. 

Just got back to the guest houses and WIFI IS WORKING! So pumped for some communication, ha! It's 6:15 here now. Dinner here at 7 (I'm starving) and that's it for the night. I'm thinking another 8:30 bedtime is sounding okay!

Sent from my iPhone

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