Day 4- Sick Mekonen and Poor Area of Addis

August 23, 2009

I woke up exhausted today because last night was a really, really loooong night! It was our first night with Mekonen staying overnight with us. But it wasn't a long night because he didn't sleep, it was because I didn't sleep! When we first met Mekonen we noticed horrible green goop running out of his ear with a nasty odor to it, and he also had a horrible raspy cough and wheezy breathing. It had us very concerned. We were unable to see the orphanage doctor until Monday morning. I was up most of the night while he slept, making sure he was still breathing. His breathing was very raspy, loud, and almost labored. Anytime I couldn't hear his breathing I would race over and put my hand on his back to make sure he was still breathing. Sometimes I was extra paranoid and even though I could feel his back rising, I would kind of annoy him by poking or moving him, just to get him to react and make sure he was okay. (I'm laughing now as I write this, but it was scary at the time).

During the morning hours, Jon went and saw some very poor sections of Addis Ababa with Bisrat and Yemamu, some Ethiopian friends we met via a friend here in Indy. I stayed back at the guest house with Mekonen as he was not feeling well with his ear and cough. He and I hid away in our room together, away from the other families for a few hours, to get some alone time with mama. It was so sweet and so good to just be with him. We read books, played with his toys, and snuggled. I was almost in tears over the fact that now I am the one who gets to comfort him when he is not feeling well. (Again, despite being sick, my boy is still happy).Here is what Jon wrote about his experience today.
While in Ethiopia I had the privilege of going "off the beaten path." Two Ethiopian friends, Bisrat and Yemamu, picked me up unannounced Sunday morning. For them our destination was normal, for me it was quasi-normal from former world travels. Without any way to contact me whatsoever Rachael said, "Please don't get kidnapped or killed." I guess that means I'm either really stupid or extremely courageous. I'll go with the latter! So we went to the poorest area of Addis near the city dump. Have you ever shaken the hand of somebody without one? This day excursion was my first experience. Maybe you've looked deeply into the eyes of a middle-aged woman dying of a preventable disease. This was my first time. Have you ever rightly wondered if the child you were holding was HIV+? The thought had never crossed my mind until my Ethiopian friend said something. These words are not to exploit Ethiopia. In fact, I think much is wrong in our thinking about Africa in general, Ethiopia specifically. However, this area was eye-opening as to how much people like you and me can actually help. My friends made it rather simple for me. They literally picked me up and took me to where the live. And we walked around. Yemamu took me to his sister's house. It wasn't a house or even a shed by American standards. She has a son and daughter. They are happy children. They did not want simple charity from me. They weren't looking for handouts. They wanted me to visit the truly "poor" people. What!? That barely computes. Who are the poorest of the poor? Lepers. Women with children and no husbands. Prostitutes. Sick. These people are not without hope because of a group of 20 men under the age of 30 who are trusting in Jesus for their daily needs. And Jesus is meeting their requests. They are ambitious and selfless - two world-changing characteristics. They are touching lepers. They are hugging HIV+ children. They are literally carrying people to the clinic and paying for their medication. And doing all of this for why? Why are they doing all of this? Do you know why?

I do not feel guilty for living in America. I do miss the environment that demands faith in action. We pray that our children will know how life goes for some people. If we ever get to a point of not seeing others deeply, not touching the sick, not hearing pain, not growing in the love that is Jesus, then we have missed life.
After Jon, Bisrat, and Yemamu returned we went to lunch at the Caribou. I had to wake our sick little baby in order to take him. I felt so bad because he cried and cried and so did I! He sounded so sick and looked awful. I felt terrible for waking him up when he didn't feel good. But he did perk up and rode in the Beco carrier with Yemamu. It was so cute.

I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with the older kids at the orphanage. A 13 year old girl, Kalkidan, who was being adopted by a family who was also there that week, helped me out with my photo list and telling me who was who. It was so fun to hang out for awhile. I had quite the crew of girlies following me around. They loved showing me their newly braided hair, their rooms, etc. They were all so sweet.

Some pictures from our evening hanging out at the guest house. The second pictures is one of my favorites! And yes, Jon is one of those daddy's who wakes up in the middle of the night too!


Megan said...

Rachael(and Jon), I am loving your travel diaries! I wish I had sat down and done this right when we came home, but it was chaos. I'm still hoping to do it...
I love reading all of this because it brings back memories from when we went. I also just love hearing the conclusion(and also the beginning!) of your long adoption journey. I'm so glad to have "met" you!

doddyj said...

oh yeah Jon! BIG kudos for you for waking up in the middle of the night - you are a rockin' husband. Phil did the same for me with Natalie, and I couldn't boast enough about it (and in due process made several other wives disgusted...) :D