Tuesday, May 22, 2007

One year ago- memories

Well, I was on a role there, posting a measly two days worth of pics and stories of our trip last year this time to Ethiopia. What happened? Life I guess. And a trip to NYC. Then Elias got sick. And Lulo is here. I actually spent quite a while describing our last several days in Ethiopia when I hit a wrong button and erased the entire thing. I was so frustrated about it that I just couldn't muster up the steam to write it all again. So... here are just the highlights of our trip, my strongest memories that linger in my mind today...

- We brought several toys with us to give to Elias. I really fretted over what he would most like to have. What was the winner? Bottle caps! We carried bottled water with us everywhere so we always had these great little magic toys on hand. He LOVED them and had at least 3-4 with him at all times in his fist and pockets.
- After that first day of crying, Elias woke up and smiled and then even laughed a little! It was the most wonderful feeling to finally see him happy and to think that maybe we hadn't just wrecked his whole little world. (Which obviously wasn't true but I was starting to think that way with how sad he was at first).
- Elias' first haircut was in Ethiopia at a hair salon, done by women (a team of 5) whom I suspect had never cut hair before. The scissors were duller than a plastic knife so they had to really hack at his hair. After it was all over (and we drew quite a crowd) we gathered around the grass strewn on top of the tiled floor and drank coffee together.
- Vomit. Lots of it, everytime Elias ate something.
- Diarrhea. Lots of it, all day long.
- Our day at AHOPE, an orphanage for children with HIV was life-changing, eye-opening. I'll never forget those sweet voices that gathered around us to sing their little hearts out. We had a great time at an amusement park with the youngest children, and we packed into a van with 22 of the kids and rode over an hour in a small van to get there, singing all the way.
- A trip to Sodere hot springs that I am SO glad we did. We saw a completely different way of life outside of the city. And best of all, Elias laughed and smiled for over an hour in the pool. He had gotten pretty weak by this point (lots of lingering illnesses, stress from this sudden new family and life, and he wasn't eating anything anymore). It was an exhausting and exhilirating trip.
- The old woman on her knees at the edge of the road in the middle of nowhere, dust blowing all around. Only after we drove by did I realize that she was begging for money. It took a long time to forgive myself for not asking the driver to stop and turn around.
- Raw meat hanging in the open windows of shops along the road. The Ethiopians eat it just like that- raw. Ugh.
- Meeting Elias' biological grandmother, uncle and aunt who cared for him for the first 11 months of his life. Their love for him was so tender and sweet. I honor the selfless, sacrificial love they have for him.

The memories of our experiences in Ethiopia have nestled into a special little spot in my mind. I love to visit there. Some days I make just a quick visit and smile warmly. Other days I stay a little longer and leave with tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart. Ethiopia is a place like no other. I have a constant feeling of unfinished business and pray often that God would show us what else He has for us there.


5KidMom said...

Thank you for sharing your precious memories with all of us. They really are amazing!!!

Chuck and Jenny said...

I just found your blog and went through and read it all. Simply amazing the way God works! I'm a member of the CAFE kids group, but just lurking...it's too hard to keep up with blogging and groups!


Shana said...

We also made the trip to Sodere, and saw the old women begging on the road. I also didn't realize what they were doing until we had passed them, and I still regret not giving them anything. We are going back in a couple of months, and if we can, I would love to go back and bless those women.