Today was pretty uneventful for us, but it was still a great day. We got GREAT sleep last night. In Ethiopia, sleeping through the night has been impossible for us and our friends during both trips. You have cars honking their horns, roosters crowing, dogs barking, and Islamic church broadcasting prayers through a PA all day and night. At home, one Tylenol PM will usually knock me out. Here, I take two and I’m lucky to sleep a few hours. I normally fall asleep before 11 and at 1 in the morning it feels like 7 and I sleep off and on from 1-5. I’m lucky to stay in bed past 5 in the morning. The same I true for Adam. Last night, I went to sleep before 11 p.m. and I didn’t wake up again until Allie woke up a little after 7 a.m. It was wonderful!
This morning Alemitu and I hung around the guest house while Adam and Tekabe shot video and photographs nearby. They went down a huge hill – which meant that they had to walk back up. Tekabe, who has lived here his entire life, was struggling and sweating on the way back up. So you can only imagine what a difficult time Adam had. I can’t stress enough how much this altitude gets to you. The altitude and the smog are pretty bad. Adam was wiped out when he got back.
For lunch, we were invited to a traditional lunch at CHI’s guest house. We declined. Then Brian was called by Tsegay and told that no one has EVER declined. So we went, a little frustrated. The food was very, very authentic and Adam and I really struggled to eat some of the stuff on our plate. It was really hard, but we tried. Adam had a huge headache still from being wiped out and it looked like he hardly touched his food. After that, we all had to drink some more coffee. It was a pretty rough lunch for us Fischers.
One of the reasons we declined lunch was because Hollie and Brian needed to make it to embassy by 1. Lunch and coffee ceremony was at 12 and it takes 30 minutes to get to embassy. Do the math – it wasn’t going to work out. Tsegay promised them they would be there on time. It didn’t work out. So as we were rushing to get there, Adam and I offered to go to embassy with them because their ride was planning on driving back to the guest house to drop us off before heading to embassy. We had nothing to do so we tagged along back to embassy. Because we were late, we were at the embassy for 2 ½ hours. Allie was great and it didn’t feel that long to me . . . but Adam’s luck had run out and he started getting sick at the embassy. Between walking in the high altitude and then eating a traditional meal we weren’t sure about – it hit him hard. I am glad to say that after some medication, he is feeling much better tonight. (Although as I was typing this, he did come up the stairs panting and struggling to breathe as we normally do and he fell on the bed saying “this building has gotten taller”) One of the people we met on this trip and stayed at our guest house was not so lucky. She is heading to the airport right now and is as white as a ghost. She has been sick all day. So we are very thankful that Adam is feeling better and we are NOT risking anything tomorrow when it comes to food.
After embassy we went to the Hilton Hotel to work out some details with our flight home. Ethiopian Airlines has an office there. We had learned that we wouldn’t get a bassinet and so we paid for a ticket for Alemitu last night. OUCH! But our flight here was pretty bad and there is no way that we can be crammed again like we were for a 17 ½ hour flight – with an infant in our lap. So we were going to the office today to get seats all three seats next to each other. That was a fiasco that we are still trying to work out but we were there for over an hour.
By the time we all got back to the guest house we were so tired. The kids did wonderfully. We ate some dinner and had another coffee ceremony. I think we may turn in a little early tonight. Tomorrow is our last night here. Hollie and Brian are going to do some shopping in the morning, but my wallet is still screaming at me for purchasing Allie’s ticket so we have done enough shopping this trip. We are really happy with the things we have purchased so far so we are just going to hang around the guest house and pack up in the morning. It will be our last day here.
Our trip this time was very different and I’m so grateful for that. We chose not to participate in the itinerary that CHI does for its families. Instead we wanted to get around the town and really experience Ethiopia. I am so thankful that we did this. I feel like the things we did and saw during our first trip made me a little naïve. Everything was butterflies and roses except for the poverty. This time, I once again witnessed the love and respect that most Ethiopians have for each other. Even in these hard times, they display so much happiness. However, I also witnessed some very scary and disturbing things. Things I will never forget for the rest of my life. I went back home last time thinking I found the beauty in Ethiopia – it’s the people. I will go back home with that same belief, only with the addition that I am grateful for the disturbing things I witnessed and learned because I now know that these people need our prayer. I understand Allie’s grandfather’s love for her so much more now. It is hard to put my thoughts into words but I can say my eyes are open. Hollie said it perfectly that we didn’t just see these things this trip to be disturbed by them, we saw them for a reason. I don’t know what that reason is, but I am praying that God will show me why I saw them. How am I to help? Maybe it is sponsoring a child from Korah to go to boarding school. Maybe it is to do some mission work. Maybe it is simply to pray for these people. I don’t know what it is but there is a reason we witnessed the things we did. There is a reason that the rose colored glasses were removed and we began to understand a little better. I hope that in time I am able to understand what that reason is.