Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Best, The Worst

The government irritates the heck out of me.


We arrived last Monday.  Our embassy appointment was last Wednesday.  On this past Monday we found out that our paperwork just sat all last week while someone was out. It was supposed to get sent to Rome and be expedited.  But why would someone actually follow through on that?  Grrr…  And keep in mind this is the US government – not the ET government.  Sigh.


We probably couldn't have left today anyways (no flights) but it would've been one less stress to have the visa in hand.  Tomorrow the embassy is closed for a Muslim holiday.  We were originally told it would be closed Friday as well, but now they are saying no.  So it'll get issued last minute on Friday… hopefully.  I'm just so ancy about it – nothing has gone without a hitch so far – why should this?


But otherwise, things are going well.  Yesterday was a nice day overall. Other than the oatmeal incident in the morning, Abenezer did great.  Hana is finding her way, which has some ups and downs.  But still doing very well overall.  Does anyone know the Amharic word for whiny?   That is driving me nuts.  =)
We met some new friends for lunch at the Hilton.  We ate down by the pool which was lovely.  It was great to finally meet some more people we'd known from support groups and their new baby was just adorable, sweetest baby I've ever seen.


The Hilton is probably one of the most beautiful places in Addis, at least in Western terms.  But lunch was ridiculously expensive.  Nearly 3 times (or more) than we typically pay for a nice meal  (and 5 times as much as the guesthouse).  It wasn't paying the money that was a problem… it is just hard to leave the beautifully manicured grounds of the Hilton and right outside is the hustle and bustle of the city and all that goes with it, including stark poverty.  That is something you never get used to and can't avoid, no matter where you stay.  Today we walked to the orphanage to visit Hana's sister again.  Along the way we were approached by a little boy, maybe 2 – 3 (?) or so.  He's approached us before.  On our way out he approached us again.  Big, sad smile and open hand.  Mark fished out 3 granola bars out of our backpack and he ran off happily.  Further down the road we saw him run to his mother and sister and baby.  It is just heartbreaking.  We found one more granola bar and Grace took it to her with a few birr.  She thanked us again and again. 


I know we can't help everyone. But it helped her today.


Many things about our trip are exactly as I expected.  What I didn't anticpate is how they would make me really FEEL inside.  I guess I really couldn't prepare for those feelings.


It never stops hurting to see hunger like this.


But I don't want to leave this post on that note!  The poverty, the hunger, yes are very hard.  But there are so many great things here.  The sincere smiles of the people.  How they cherish the joy of simple things.  People that have so much less than most of America – and yet are probably happier than the average American.  People that truly appreciate friendship, family, hospitality, a good cup of coffee. 


Yes, there are many things that I miss about home (mostly Ally!) but there are many, many things I will miss about Ethiopia.  I hope that we have all learned a lot while we are here and I hope that we don't forget this place, these feelings, upon our return.


We have much to be thankful for.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cat - Thanks for letting me follow along in your journey to bring home your children. The range of emotions you have been experiencing must be exhausting! At the same time, I cannot wait until it is my turn to live through the drama. I pray that you have a safe trip home.