Day 3. This was our busiest day yet...
Our second morning with the boys. It was so good to wake up and have ALL my family in one place. I realize these few short days are the only time that may happen in this lifetime.
First thing, the morning starts out with the cook and maid. They both came around 8:00. Weird. Just weird. I never did get used to it. We all say we want a maid, but when you have one, well it's certainly an odd feeling. I'd sit around wondering what I should be doing while they were working.
After breakfast was a visit to the Gladney Foster Care homes. It was wonderful to see the nice clean homes with caring "mom's" for all the babies. And where, I hate to even say this, we had time for a really good conversation with one of the Gladney staff about the work Gladney is doing in Ethiopia. We aren't really baby people - as you might have guessed from our teenagers.
A coffee ceremony followed the Foster Care house tour. We got an abbreviated version instead of the tradtional hours long ceremony. We were told that most often housewives will have a coffee ceremony in their home for the neighbor women. It's a great way to welcome friends to your home. The longer the hostess takes to go through the ceremony the more welcome are the guests. The coffee came with fendisha (popcorn)!! Yum!!
It was really fun to experience this special moment with our travel companions and their children. While the coffee ceremony was going all the little kids in our group who had been at one of the Gladney houses - which was everyone but our boys- were having their "goodbye" with their special mother. These special mothers were the women who had taken care of these children since they arrived at Gladney. The children were brought back to their parents dressed in traditional clothes. It was a great opportunity for the parents to meet the women who had cared for their children before placement.
Next up was lunch at Top View with the group. This is the same restaurant we'd brought the boys to for our lunch outing on the first trip. Always great food, lots of Italian choices. And of course a fabulous view of the city.
Tip - Fun playground but watch out! There are ants (again with the African ants) like you wouldn't believe. They're as thick as the grass. They also bite. And they're climbers, just like the Kolfe ants. Why is it I have so many ant stories??? I never read about ants on other blogs.
Afer lunch was our visit with the Gladney in country rep. to the eye doctor for our Vision Fund project with Gladney....which is an entire upcoming post....we were privileged to see the first group of Kolfe boys get their eyes examined. The doctor and the boys were gracious enough to allow me to get some great photos for our fundraising partners of the procedures and the equipment being used.
Then we headed over to Kolfe for another few hours before we going to the airport that evening. R was going to be on his way home after an amazingly short trip (3 days). We'd hoped to take a trip outside Addis while he was with us, but with the Embassy date reschedule we never had a chance.
On our way to Kolfe it occured to Abel that it was WEDNESDAY. In his excitement (or stress) over everything we'd been doing/experiencing he'd completely forgotten what day of the week it was. According to Ethiopian Orthodox tradition Wednesday and Friday are fasting days, along with about 150 other days during the year. Fasting for this particular day was no meat or animal products. He'd had chicken for lunch. Not a good situation. However, I believe God will understand and give him a pass for that one day. (Please?)
As always, we had a great time visiting with all the Kolfe boys. They are SO smart. They keep you on your toes asking your thoughts about politics and religion. How many languages you speak...and one question you'd better answer correctly. Do you like Kolfe? Hmmm... the pat American answer would be "Oh it's fine". Don't want to hurt any feelings...but you can't really say that when you see the awful conditions these boys live in. Honestly the conditions at Kolfe are terrible....it is awful and no one should have to live like that. But the boys there are like boys anywhere....except maybe smarter. The boys are also so so generous. Ibrahim was part of the boys Kolfe family and he chose this day to give us all gifts. It is beyond special to receive gifts from these boys.
R was able to throw the ball around some more with the older boys. G & H spent the afternoon talking to their friends and of course group pictures never seem to get old. My camera disappeared with them for most of that afternoon. Occasionally reappearing when I was needed to take a photo or be in a photo.
At one point during the day, I saw a new ox standing on a small grassy patch....fortunately I was on my way to somewhere so instead of following through on the thought I had to go over to pet him, I passed him by...phew (the ox will be significant to the story later in the week).
After Kolfe we only had a short time to get to the airport.... but we needed food for Randon. All the flights out of Addis leave quite late in the evening so you really need to eat before getting to the airport. Our driver suggested fast food near the airport. Huh???? What???? Fast food? Not exactly American style fast food. What we got was a tiny open tin shack in a row of restaurant shacks. Verdict - great burgers.