"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day." Habakkuk 2:3

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ethiopia Trip One-Day 3

The third day we woke-up and their was another beautiful sunrise....we were very excited about this day.

Since it was morning for us, back at home it was becoming evening. We skyped home in the morning and then some in the evening, just before the kids went to school. Morning skype worked out better for us because then back home, they weren't in as much of a hurry to get off and head to school.

After skyping, we went down to breakfast and met another wonderful family, the Rapps, that have court the same day as us. Jacob spent a few hours last night blowing up this huge soccer ball to bring to the orphanage. We got some pretty cool looks as we rolled it down into the lobby, waiting for Wass to arrive. He arrives and could barely shove this huge ball into the bus door but we made it.

Now it's off to spend some more time at Hannah's Hope with Seble.

Coming down the road to HH.

HH first black gate into kids courtyard. Second black gate is into the babies courtyard.

Unloading off the bus with the Rapp's

Jacob pushing the ball off and out the bus door.

Wass carrying the ball so it doesn't get dirty.

The kids LOVED the soccer ball and cheered when Wass pushed it through the gate and Jacob rolled it down to the kids courtyard. Jacob played with them for quite awhile and had a blast!

He loved the kids there and actually begged for us to let him stay at HH until we came back to get Seble! He loves loving on the kids and can't wait to go on missions trips in the future he said. While on the subject, I just wanted to let everyone know that is questioning taking their kids to do it if you can at all! It was WELL WORTH the money for his plane ticket to take him-the lessons he learned are priceless and there is no amount of money that wouldn't be worth taking your kids-it's once in a life time. We really hope and pray that the things he saw will be ingrained on his heart and in his mind for the rest of his life and he will always have a heart for orphans and widows. He did GREAT on the trip and loved having his parents to himself on this special adventure. He spoke with the other adults and relished in the time we all had together and the things we saw. He is SO anxious and begging to go back somewhere as soon as we can and help the kids.

As we arrived, the babies were having Sun Time. Sara had Seble who then gave her to me.

I then got to feed Seble her bottle.......

..........and change my first poopy diaper, a gift from her-and I am sure one of many! :-) The Special Mother's supervised me doing it-don't think they realized that I had 5 other kids at home and had AT LEAST changed one or two diapers in my lifetime but it goes to show us that they really want to make sure it is done right. After all, they have been taking care of the kids and have a well invested interest in them and their care taking.

We spent time with the kids at HH and holding Seble and visiting with the family that was there with us, who had just met their daughter for the first time that day. It was awesome to witness their first meeting. After finishing up at the orphanage and putting Seble down for her nap, it was time to go.

We left and headed back to the hotel. Here are some scenery pictures along the way.

Construction projects in the works. There were SO many of these around.

Corner where they would kill and skin your goat for you. That's a pile of goat hides infront of them all.

Goats, donkeys and even huge bulls roaming. Sometimes you could see their herder but sometimes, it sure looked like they were roaming solo.

Laundry hanging outside someones "house" (the tin shacks).

Don't believe we saw one 2x4. It was all poles. It was AMAZING how they used these poles and what they constructed with them. The scaffolding ramps next to this building is an engineering piece of work. Those poles had strength especially when they used as many as they used.

Business that sold scaffolding poles.

Blue taxi car outside of a small shack shop.

Tin sheet metal siding

Someones house. Look at the stove stack sticking out of the roof.

As we got back to the hotel, a homeless lady was still sitting out by the fence. You can see in the picture, Wass, in blue, talking to her.

The story behind her is that the day we arrived, the families already in country were trying to get her to eat and or drink something. The security guards were becoming worried for her. She had arrived about 14 days earlier and they have not seen her eat or drink anything. She won't talk or take anything from them. They contacted Wass who might try and talk her into eating something. He was able to find out her story. She is from a village outside of Addis. She found out that she was pregnant and when her husband found out, he did not believe it was his baby so he kicked her out of the village. With no family to go to, she found herself in Addis at this location. On the second day, Wass and the other families made a break through with her. I was able to witness her accepting some snack food, a bottle of water and an Ethiopian Airlines blanket from one of the families. She knelt down and was thanking Wass and the other family by kissing their feet. Not sure what Wass said or what made her snap and finally accept the gifts but it was a break through. She sat there the rest of the week, only seeing her move a few feet closer to the security post at night and back against the fence for the day. Wass kept us posted and gave her more water which she accepted without arguing.

Kids playing soccer right outside our hotel, across the street in the large field. They play there for hours and have litterally worn a field in place.

Some kids had some pretty sweet foot moves

Once we got back to the hotel, we called a taxi driver named Solomon that other AGCI families have used before and highly recommended. He came and got us and took us around the city for a "city tour". He took us to many of the famous statues, to a couple churches (but they wouldn't let us in because it was afternoon prayer time), to the Addis Ababa Museum-it was interesting to see some of the artifacts and get some of the history of Ethiopia and their culture. Can anyone explain the reasoning for the Ethiopian flag? The Ethiopian flag consists of Green, Yellow, and Red stripes with an blue circle with star in the middle. The Green stripe represents their growth. The Yellow stripe represents Ethiopians Hope. The Red stripe represents the Ethiopian Democratic Republic, their government. The Blue disc with star represents the different languages they have in Ethiopia and it represents how they all can still grow and live together regardless of all their differences. Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa. As other African countries gained independence, they took on the three main flag colors which are known now as the pan-African colors. There are many different variations of the African flag but they all have the same green, yellow, red patterns. It was really neat to hear it explained the way the guide explained it. We also got to learn more about the famous "Lucy" (the supposedly first human being remains that have been found). She was found in Ethiopia, so they are famous for that. We went down so many streets, saw the poverty first hand and it was just overwhelming. There are not words to really describe it-I just wish that each person could see what we saw for even an hour or two-I guarantee that even the hardest heart would be changed. The contrasting thing is that Ethiopians, for the most part, are very happy and helpful people. The kids run around the streets with no parents, no shoes on, and hungry, but they are smiling and will totally reach out to you-all they want are their basic needs met-food, clean water, clothes and a place to call home with a parent. This to them would be a miracle beyond imagination. This is hard for us in America to understand.

One of the biggest memories that I will always have of our first trip-other than meeting our daughter, was having Solomon take us to his "house". I know I wrote about this in a previous blog posting, but just to keep with "what we did each day", I will write some more about that life-changing experience. After going to his house, I will NEVER look at life the same. It changed my heart. His family changed me. So, for those that didn't read that posting, Solomon told us he would like to take us to his house to meet his family and his wife wanted to do a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony for us. He wanted us to "see how real Ethiopians live." We were told a Coffee Ceremony in Ethiopia is one of the highest honors that someone can bestow to another-it is a great form of honoring and welcoming someone. We arrived at his "house" and what it was was really a shack type of thing. It was several "houses" that were all bunched together in one big neighborhood type thing. Solomon said it was their Village. What I mean by this is-many families had put up houses together and paid rent to the lady that lived in the middle shack. It reminded me of a junk yard in sorts in that it was just walls made of stucko like material, mud and tin sheet metal all put together. Here is what I posted earlier about going to his house: We walked into this huge made up area of mud, cardboard, and stucko type walls, with some metal sheet metal were made into make shift houses-about 11 families lived in this ONE area-each "house" had two small rooms-about 12x7 and when I say rooms-even though having not seen it, it is impossible to describe-but stucko, metal, mud walls, with holes and a wire taped to the ceiling with ONE light for the two rooms. Concrete floors, no sink, no bathroom, no toilet, no shower, no heat(and yes, it gets cold here at night)! We stepped into the first out of the two rooms that made up his "house" and there was an old small couch, a wood chair and a tiny tv and small fridge, in the room behind it was where his wife and him slept on one side and he had makeshift metal bunkbeds on the other side where his two boys 13 and 8 slept.It was one of the sadest things I have ever seen and I really felt guilty-why was I born in America and why was he here, why do I complain and he doesn't AT ALL and just has this is what was going through my mind. Each family has to pay a huge sum of rent each month-outrageous-which the landlord continues to raise-so basically they are paying to live in a garbage dump-and even though Solomon is "working class" this is how he has to live because its all they can afford.
His family was so beautiful! He is so giving. He went and walked down the street and got us each a bottle of water (which was probably worth several days wages) and his wife performed the traditional coffee ceremony(roasting whole coffee beans, crushing them up with a bowl and rod and boiling them)this alone probably cost everything he had for the month-that is how special it is to them and they only do in on special occassions.

Stove they use to roast the coffee beans and heat up the coffee pot.

Grinding coffee beans

Smashing the beans until they are POWDER.

Heating up the coffee pot on the stove. (Ethiopian Traditional Coffee Pot)

Burning incense which was strong but smelled good.

They place the incense right on the burning coals.

Solomon handing Jacob his first cup of coffee

Jacob stirring in some sugar to "try" and make it sweeter and not so strong.

So basically he gave us EVERYTHING he had, everything he could offer. They had nothing-nothing and yet they gave all they had.
When he steped into show us where they slept, he put his hands in the air and said, "thanks be to God for all this." This is when I lost it-my eyes welled up and I couldn't believe how spoiled and selfish we as American's including myself are. He was genuinelly SO proud of his home and SO thankful to the God that had "blessed him so".
He told another member of our group that he was so proud that his sons were in school and even though he has to pay $25 a month(which is like SO much money there) he said, they go hungry if they have to, so that the boys can go to school-if they can't eat including the boys, education comes first.
That family gave one of the boys a soccer ball and he was over the moon excited-he slept with it in his arms by his head all night. The boys were in clothes worn through with holes and his wife had just gotten really sick and had to go to the hospital-so, get this, there is no insurance here, and if you can't pay before being treated, you don't get treated at all! But he said, "she is my life, she is everything to me". He loved her so much and her and the boys were so kind, well mannered and amazing people with great hearts.
The other couple that was here went and bought them a pizza...they were so thrilled as they had NEVER had pizza before (can you even imagine this as an American citizen)? But, they don't keep things for themselves, this culture is more sharing than we tend to be, so what did he do, he shared it with the other 11 families that live hooked to his walls by another of the same mud-like compound that is hooked together by stucko!
His wife is in school-but get this, you have to attend 4 years of college to become a hotel receptionist! That is what she is doing and has one year left. He drives a taxi, but doesn't own the car and has to pay to use it! To buy a TINY car in Addis is around $30,000-40,000 US dollars! Because the government takes several thousand on taxes-they basically don't want people to own cars so no one can afford to buy them.
People here make about $1-$2 PER DAY working from everything to loading rock from sun up to sun down to driving a taxi to our orphanage workers....it is incredible!
As we left their "house" kids and people were milling around in the dirt all over the crowded compound-and they were smiling and the little kids broke our hearts....it was all so overwhelming and I just couldn't shake the fact that they have absolutly NOTHING and are so happy and thankful-smiling, and yet, look what we have-everything to be comfortable-and we still are not happy, always wanting more as Americans-it is so hard and sad and I know that if each person went to his house for that coffee ceremony and saw what we saw, the world would be SO different!
Why can't we get less and give more-I will never forget this experience my heart is different and although it is long, I wanted to share it . Solomon said that he would love to get his kids a pair of tennis shoes-this is his wish! Tennis shoes-like the 2-5 pair that many of us have sitting in our closets and never wear-HIS WISH -how can this be?! We were so blown away. Another family that used him has decided along with us to try and help this family-he is so kind, loving and has such a precious family and although- yes we can't "save" Ethiopia-we can save this family!

Adam, Amber, Leul, Ambet, Solomon, Dugum, Jacob

The Solomon Michael Family

I think that seeing Solomon's boys and house was a priceless opportunity and a key moment that really changed how Jacob views things back here-he was fairly quiet on the way home and I think that it was just overwhelming to him to see boys HIS age and the poverty they lived in and yet how thankful and happy they were. He is writing them a letter to take with us and hopefully the boys can be penpals through the next few years. We heard it costs about $70 to send about 10lbs to Ethiopia-so we hope to be able to do this for Solomon's boys a few times a year. If anyone has an interest in Solomon's family and has anything to help them-food, clothes, school supplies, toiletries, etc....let me know and I will get you their shipping address.

After leaving Solomon's house, we went back to the hotel and waiting for Wass, the Hannah's Hope driver, to pick us up and take us out for a traditional Ethiopian cultural dinner and dance show. We went with the other family, the Rapps, and had a great time.

Ethiopian Cultural Dinner Restaurant

Out front of the restaurant


No one uses silverware, so they have a hand-washing ceremony before being served.

We all got to try the famous Ethiopian Honey Wine-I have to say that it wasn't good at all, it is fermented honey and although Mr. Rapp and Wass loved it, we didn't! :-)

The food was good-the main thing they eat is called Injera and is a fermented sour, sponge-like bread. They put it out and then place several things on it such as mixed beans, meats, vegetables that all are seasoned with different spices.

Injera bread being brought to our table

Individual items

Our server preparing the injera for the individual items

Way they keep things hot

Our server forming our dinner plate right in front of us

To eat, you pull a piece of the injera off and use that to pick up pieces of the other items. Everyone shares a plate of all the food and it is a communal plate. It is very different tastes than we are use to, but good.

The final product. Not bad looking, huh - Yum!

We listed to the music being played and watched their dancing and it was pretty neat-even Mr. Rapp and Wass got in on the action! Not too sure if it was the honey wine dancing or what but it was funny!

The Chicken moves

Amazing moves.

Jeff making his attempt at dancing.

Wass made it up on stage too!

We then went back to the hotel and went to bed-sleeping was difficult, off and on as the jet-lag was kind of crazy but not that bad adjusting. The jet-lag thingy didn't hit us until AFTER we got home.

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Our Airport Homecoming for our 2nd Adoption~

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Our Journey up to our Referral

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Seble's Referral Video

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"Although it may not always be obvious to us, there seems to be one distinct moment when God begins a new story in each of our lives. He writes words on our hearts that long to be spoken and strain to be lived out. Then with His own great hand, He begins to write the script. Experience by experience through seemingly ordinary days, He supernaturally orders our lives. Only when we look back and reflect on what appeared to have been the ordinary events of life does it become clear what a miracle the Lord has performed." Jan Beazely

LUCY LANE-AGCI-ADOPTION VIDEO! This inspired us to follow our dream!


What Adoption is About! What a Testimony! Lundy's Adoption

We Love this family and this video is inspiring!