Monday, March 22, 2010

day 6

Woke up early and had a breakfast at the hotel. The hotel was nice and clean. We drank coffee and then piled into the van and headed for a local resort just being built. It was an attraction to tour this because it was right on the lake and similar to a luxury resort in the Caribbean. Some of the parents were impressed but I felt like if you come to Ethiopia you should not hide out in a resort!

Then Alemu knew I wanted fresh coffee so we went to a crowded open air market and I purchased some fresh unroasted coffee beans. It was very muddy and there were many people and animals in the market. I am not sure how many people have seen what an open air market looks like, but just for fun google “Ethiopia market” and see what comes up. I am sure it will not look like the local Meijers!
We headed now to the lake. One of the Ethiopian men riding in the van with us (he was not a staff member, but just someone that needed a ride) spoke pretty good English. He read the Amharic translation of the letter we wrote to the mother of Tara. I wanted to see if once the letter had been translated if it still had the same meaning. It did. I was happy that nothing got lost in translation.

We stopped at another lake along the way back to Addis. This one has very large cliffs that plummeted in to the water like you might see along the lake shore of Lake Superior. Except 10 times higher. Here I picked up some pods off a tree that were along the ground. They were really cool. Rich and Rachel discover an old paddle boat left along the shore. They were excited and surprised that they have both worked on the design of that old boat. Rich at custom profile and Rachel for leisure life.

We had lunch at a restaurant and rich got a Hamburg. I got a traditional bean dish with Ingra bread. It was spicy and filled with hot peppers. It was wonderful. Along the side walk I spotted brightly colored bird with a long curly skinny beak. He was sticking his beak in long necked lilies. There were also weaver birds weaving these large nests that looked like big baskets shaped like a massive bee hive. Then I noticed that the leaves on the side walk were really dead roaches. Ick!

We headed back on the long road to Addis. Rachel and talked about gojos (small round huts made of stick and mud with a grass roof. It was odd that they were being built so close to the road. I did not imagine them being in the thousands and Rachael was surprised they were not more grouped in a “village” style.  It is very shocking to see how young the people working here are. I would say that 4 to 5 year olds were working in the fields and carrying supplies. Watching young siblings and combing the landscape for items. They would often be shepherding a group of animals or waling the street with a cow or donkey on a leash. The farmers and venders along the road were often in suit coats or nicer wardrobe and the women in long skirts with a t-shirt style shirt. Often it was accented by a head scarf or body wrap. We occasionally played the “what is it game” with Alemu’s brother translating for us the answers. I won once when I identified antifreeze style plastic bottles covered in twine. I said it was an Ethiopian coolie cup and I was right. They dip the container in water and the grassy twine keeps the contents (normally river water) cool for drinking.
The poor children in Ethiopia seem to share a common wardrobe style. This would consist of a long adult t-shirt acting as a dress. The color was all the same…mud brown. We believe they started white at some point but were washed in the river with minerals so many times that they had a permanent dye color to them. Often they had American writing on them (like pistons 1980 finals). A few holes reveal the latte colored skin. They would commonly walk arm in arm or with a sibling bound to their back. Always smiling, when they spot us they always call out, wave and run to catch a glimpse of the rare spotting of a white person. You so badly wanted to hand them a pencil, toy or a bite to eat. The dilemma quickly was apparent when I pass a small ball out the window early in the trip. The children would come flooding out of the landscape and of the put themselves in danger by diving into traffic for anything they could get. So sadly we passed by many need children with a van full of toys and food and could do nothing.

We arrived in Addis, checked into our guest house and unpacked. We walked to the lime tree cafĂ© for some lasagna and dessert. It was  in the dark.  Addis has a whole different feel at night. I think in the future we will stick to the daylight walks. We also found that the beggars were thicker at night. Small babies lay in papers on the street edge with mothers crying for money. Hard to see. Made me think of my kids.

More on Tuesday! Any comments on the Tara photo we emailed? Yes I know I missed blogging day 4 but I need to sort out what to say about that day. It was a hard day meeting the birth mother of Tara.

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