Saturday – The Final Full Day

One love! one heart!

Lets get together and feel all right.

Hear the children cryin (one love!);

Hear the children cryin (one heart!),

Sayin: give thanks and praise to the lord and I will feel all right;

Sayin: lets get together and feel all right. wo wo-wo wo-wo!

Let them all pass all their dirty remarks (one love!);

There is one question Id really love to ask (one heart!):

Is there a place for the hopeless sinner,

Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own beliefs?

One love! what about the one heart? one heart!

What about – ? lets get together and feel all right

As it was in the beginning (one love!);

So shall it be in the end (one heart!),

All right!

Give thanks and praise to the lord and I will feel all right;

Lets get together and feel all right.

One more thing!

Lets get together to fight this holy armagiddyon (one love!),

So when the man comes there will be no, no doom (one song!).

Have pity on those whose chances grows tinner;

There aint no hiding place from the father of creation.

Sayin: one love! what about the one heart? (one heart!)

What about the – ? lets get together and feel all right.

Im pleadin to mankind! (one love!);

Oh, lord! (one heart) wo-ooh!

Give thanks and praise to the lord and I will feel all right;

Lets get together and feel all right.

Give thanks and praise to the lord and I will feel all right;

Lets get together and feel all right.

Bob Marley – “One Love”

One more day of that blasted horn!

Now mind you I get up at 7am every day to go to work, but I never imagined how much I would appreciate that small one hour of extra sleep. It’s not so much the chanting that wakes me up, it’s the schoffars. Uhgg.

Today is my last full day with my kids. But I will not let myself think about that. I’ll go insane if I do. Now mind you most people say they go to bed at 7 or 8pm while they are here, but the earliest I have even made it to my room so far is 10pm. (or so) I think I got to sleep around 10:30 one night, but I know I’ve been up past midnight on several nights. Quite honestly I don’t know how I am still moving.

My wife tells me my e-mails are quite random, sometime incoherent. I have reached the point of mental confusion and thinking actually hurts. I just “do” at this point. Now don’t get me wrong, I am loving this trip, I wouldn’t change a thing about it, but not only am I cramming Ethiopia into my head, I am obtaining my son’s life, my daughter’s life and the lives of a whole slew of other kids as well. All of this is being compacted into a small week long pill and I’m trying my best to swallow it.

I’ve done none of the “touristy” stuff while I was here. But I’ve exposed myself to the real lives of real Ethiopians who are really poor. I think back to home and I look at the “normal church” and their budget and see that if the American church were to only give 2% of their income into the 3rd world, what a difference it would make. And I’m not talking missionaries or new church buildings, I’m talking clean water, food supplies, shelter, and jobs, the stuff they really need.
China has forgiven Ethiopia’s debt, as they agreed to do in the G-8 summit. It was a small drop in the bucket, but it provides so much freedom for the economy. Of course the senate decided to NOT accept Bush’s proposal to do the same. But America hasn’t really cared about Africa for the last few hundred years. Find oil in Ethiopia, and America will send in the troops to “liberate you” though. I was actually shocked by how little coverage the Chinese received when they forgave the debt. It was on E-TV, they filmed the signing of the document, France began to talk about what percentage they were going to forgive, and they switched over to the Arsenal game. No, they didn’t change the channel, E-TV stopped covering the ceremony and started showing a replay of last nights game.

I have also discovered that the numbers I got from the web were too high. A yearly salary of $300 US would be 3 times what many of the people here in Addis make. Yes, it is cheaper here, but not by that percentage. The poverty is unbelievable. It’s incomprehensible unless you’ve actually seen it. And for me, so much of it is unphotographable. I would see scenes that mad the worst photos I’ve ever scene in any magazine, look like glamour art, I would have my camera, but I couldn’t do it. To take photos wouldn’t be right, nor would it capture the true reality of the situation. You would be removed, the person is thousands of miles away, not 10 feet in front of you. It would be a photo, not a living human right in front of you that needs your help to survive. Giving them money isn’t the answer. I did, and it bought them a meal. But they are hungry again today. Relief aid isn’t the answer, welfare states do not work. We have to invest into the community, we have to “teach them to fish.” We have to develop infrastructure to support and economy that is anorexic. Ethiopia has all of the food they could ever need, right inside of Ethiopia. But there is no way to get the food from the north to the south where it is needed.
My heart is broken. My soul weeps. My brothers are dying and I am impotent to help. I rejoice with the creation of the ONE campaign. Now if only those with the resources would join hands to battle extreme poverty on a global scale. Not to eradicate poverty, the poor will always be with us. But there is no cause for any person in any country to have the inability to have clean water to drink, food to eat, or a shelter for sleep. The homeless psychopath in America is so very much richer than the man selling roasted corn on the side of the road in Addis.

My favorite hotel employee was working this morning. She speaks very good English, and I’ve had many conversations with her about, well everything. So I asked here where I could find a buna set, and she told me to go across the road and walk up to the light. And I should find a shop before I get to the light. If I get to the light, I have gone too far. Well I think she thought I meant a place to buy buna, as I passed several Cafés but no sets. So I crossed the road and headed back to the hotel, to find a store, labeled in English, called “TOURISM GIFTS” and they had a buna set in the window. Yes, directly next to the hotel. The walls of this building are the alley walls next to the hotel.

I saw 3 different sets and decided to buy the “pretty” one. I also picked up a bunch of large ornate wooden crosses for our friends at home, and a horse hair whip. I probably spent more money than I had to, but it was still dirt cheep.

When I took it into the motel the desk clerk (I don’t really know what you call those people at the hotel, this is the same friend that gave me directions though) asked to see the set and I showed it to her. She complimented me on my taste and told me it really was very, very pretty and she told me I wasn’t ripped off too bad for the quality of work. It the color of Ethiopia in the rainy season, if you’ve been there you understand. It has the black glaze on the inside of the cups and the “kettle” and the outside is all rough and red brown with lots of little black grooves. It is now the central eye piece in our living room, sitting on top of my wife piano on the blue tye-dyed shawl I bought yesterday.

It was hard to remain chipper today with the kids. It was my last full day here, and the reality that I was leaving was really hammering down on me.

I kept a brave face on, and just played with the kids like I was going to be here forever. I didn’t push them for more time, or pull away and distance myself. I kept letting them set the pace and enjoyed my final day with my children.

During nap time I excused myself and returned to the market. I bought 2 more crosses and found the shirts I had been looking for. It took a lot of hunting but I even managed to find a shirt that fits me!!!! I bought an outfit for Kaitlyn and one for Lucas and a shirt for my wife. I got the size right, but the shoulder are cut wrong so she can’t wear it for a long time, but she already had a beautiful dress from Ethiopia from a very dear friend and this shirt will look good on my Ethiopian son once he comes home. And my next journey will be with my wife so she will be able to try stuff on for herself.

On the way back I did meet a ferenj from the motel on the street walking around. I got to talking with him and found he was from Australia, and was from an NGO that was building a hospital in Awassa. They had raised enough money to build it and stock it, but not enough to man it. He has here to film a documentary of the area as a fundraiser to get enough funds to hire local Ethiopians and send them to nursing school while the Hospital was being built. Unfortunately he had been stranded here for 5 days, and he had gotten tired of the taxis and the “commercial tourist areas” so he was out exploring the area. I showed him the market and a few other little spots and was on my way. It was nice to finally meet another foreigner who didn’t have a chip on his shoulder (go back and read about the Italians if you missed it).

My son wrote letters to Heather and me. He put them in my notebook and drew a large Timket flower on both of them. This is a is a way to demonstrate someone’s deep love when they are included in the letters. Of course I didn’t know this until I returned to the states, but it’s so awesome to have these little nuggets of gold.

Today I was hoping to video a little more of my kids, and some of the other kids as well, but I was needing the Director of the orphanage to be there to translate my questions into Amharic. I had tried videoing them and asking them questions in English, but the language barrier was blocking that route. Unfortunately the director got caught in some business elsewhere and was unable to make it to the orphanage today. I knew she would be at church tomorrow so I wrote her a long letter thanking her for all she had done for me through the week and left it on her desk. I was also sad that I was going to leave and be unable to give a small gift to the nannies that work at the home, but without the director there I was lost as to what would be appropriate. I will return though, and will have the opportunity then to show my gratitude for what they do and have done for my children.

Leaving the compound was hard tonight. I stayed late, sitting and watching television with the older kids, the younger kids are put in bed then the older kids come in and watch television for an hour or so. I had bought a VCD for my son at the cyber café today, it was the first 100 goals from Henry from the Arsenal. The kids a ll loved it, and my son was so excited to watch it. He kept jumping up and down and cheering on the video, and he told me he had seen several of the games on TV. It was a fun way to end the evening.

No chatting with the wife tonight, she was en route from her family to our home.

But as I was sitting checking my e-mail, the owner walked in and handed me an ear of roasted corn. Now by roasted I mean they husk the corn, and lie it directly on the coals and burn it till there is no difference between the coal it’s lying on, and the corn itself. It’s eating charcoal. I made it through this entire week and never had anything give me any problems, until now, as I was trying to eat this ear of corn that I absolutely hated! It was worsened by the fact that I had no water, and had to eat this thing as to no be rude, but had nothing to wash it down with. My question is why do people choose to eat this stuff?

And at the hotel I decided to try the spaghetti with cheese. Another mistake. It wasn’t that it was bad, unless you expect there to be a tomato sauce on your spaghetti.

Tonight was not my night for good food.

And if the person who just checked in across the hall is unable to silence their screaming baby, not will it be the night for good sleep.

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2 Responses to “Saturday – The Final Full Day”

  1. Avery!! That is so cool. I just read your whole travel journal. I loved how well you described the experience.

    I missed most of it because we were out of town ADOPTING A BABY!!! Yes, it was a very fast thing….so Ethiopia is on hold for us right now…but not for long.

    I can’t wait until you bring your kiddo’s home…

  2. I’ve enjoyed reading your journal- thank you for sharing this personal experience……My husband and I have made the decision to adopt our daughter from Ethiopia and we begin next month. I am excited and nervous- but mostly want her home. Good Luck and God Speed in bringing those two precious children home.

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