Our first real day in Ethiopia was mostly reuniting with great friends. After a good night sleep for me (not even the dogs or chickens woke me up!) and an o.k. night for Jill (lots of nose blowing) and really bad for Julie (no sleep at all, but she is an insomniac so she is used to it)we enjoyed a breakfast of fresh mango, some kind of amazing french toast and tang.
We got up and took a walk around the neighborhood, in which we received much attention from children and teen age boys. The children wanted candy and pictures, the teenage boys wanted money… which we did not give them : ) We saw many goats, a few dogs and cats and peeked into a few gates of the homes in the neighborhood. I will post pictures when I get home, but It is large lovely homes surrounded by cement walls covered in flowers, or tiny tin shacks, surrounded by tin walls, with dirt floors, outdoor kitchens and no water or electricity.
We then headed off to the Bethany office (and got to see their new digs which are so so nice!) and the YZM office. So many hugs and kisses to our co-workers. We feel so welcome, every one is so glad to have us back and remembered us mostly for our gifts of chocolate and laughter : )
And of course Danny! What an amazing reunion with our brother. We did a lot of work details, shopped the Post Office district for a bit and ate lots of yummy (Italian) food.
Danny bought all three of us an Orthadox cross necklaces. He is already drilling us with our Amharic. Any time we say something in English, he says it in Amharic and then makes us say it over and over. Jill seems to be the best at remembering. I hope I get better, but my head is just so confused right now between jet lag and cultural overload. In a few days I hope to be sharp as a tack again (Belinda, I totally get you now!)
It is just amazing to be back. The sounds, the sights, the smells, the BUNNA! We feel like such a part of a greater family here. Everyone is curious about “White Americans” You either get smiles and “hi’s” or a mean looks and “no photographs!” Which of course we respect.
It is hard with photos. We want to capture everything and everyone to remember, to share, but do not want to appear to invasive or too American…
It is the rainy season now and we did not believe it this morning on our sunny walk, but at lunch it started to rain like never before and did not stop until dinner. Restaurants and offices have people waiting to escort you in with umbrellas.
We saw a few beggers today which we chose to ignore. The hardest was a girl (not woman, GIRL) who was breast feeding her baby. If I had to pick an age I would she is say 10 years old. It think of my almost 9 year old daughter and the life she leads and of this child, who is begging, and has a baby! There is no place in my brain for this.
I will admit I was nervous coming back… Last time was so great and we felt so connected. Would this time be different? Would it lose some of the honeymoon feel? It is a bit different, but it is still wonderful. There is enough familiarity not to be overwhelmed, and despite some of the changes, it is still the people that I love, the culture of total community, family, love and connections. This is why I love Ethiopia.
Caio for now!
(ps, the internet is very slow and spotty here, I hope to update every day since I encouraged you all to follow so I apologize in advance if I can not!)