August 28, 2009
Today was the day I started to get sick. Blah. We were leaving to go home the next day and I jumped the gun thinking I got through the trip unscathed! In Ethiopia, we couldn't drink any of the water and had to use bottled water for everything. So even in the shower we had to consciously remember to keep our mouths closed. I have no idea what made me sick because Jon ate everything I did. I woke up feeling bad and it just got worse. Jon walked quite a distance to get to a bank to exchange some money before our trip home. My stomach felt horrible. I pretty much laid in our room the entire morning writhing in pain. Mekonen took a good, long nap which was helpful. I was so afraid that it was going to get worse and I would have to travel the loooong flight home feeling horrible.
When Jon got back we all got ready to go to the Layla House for the going away party. At the orphanage whenever children are going home with their families they have a big party. They bring out drums and sing and cheer. It is the most amazing thing. I just loooove hearing all those little voices singing in Amharic. It's priceless. We have some awesome video of this but cannot post it online since there are children in it who are not adopted yet, and it's against the rules. The two times we have seen this party I just cried. I can't believe how amazing these kids are and I can't believe how many of them are longing and waiting for a family. It breaks my heart. Our view of older child adoption has totally changed. It was nothing like we imagined. All these kids are deeply loved and wanted by their birth families, and they know it. Their reasons for being placed for adoption are due to economic struggles, sickness, and death. I cannot even comprehend the losses that these children have faced. I can't even imagine the last visits with their birth families to say goodbye before heading to the U.S. with their new families. I am convinced, that after being in Ethiopia, and seeing the tremendous loss that these children have faced, that Jesus is with the orphan in a very special way. We always knew this, but the reality of it, the stark reality of their circumstances, opened our eyes in a bigger way. Don't be surprised if in the future, we are back to Ethiopia to bring an older child into our family. I get goosebumps thinking about it.
After the party, we hung at the Layla playground for awhile before heading back to the guest house. Jon & I, Donovan & Julie, and another adoptive parent Zach and his mom all went to an authentic Ethiopian restaurant with traditional Ethiopian dancing. It was sooo fun. The only bad part was that I felt awful the whole time we were there and could barely eat anything. I was so bummed because the food was great and I was looking forward to it all week.
Here is the Ethiopian lady who waited on us. There is a whole sytematic process they go through to set up the plate. But, first someone comes around with a whole fancy tray of handwashing stuff. Check it out.
Everybody eats off the same plate with their hands. We all chose a bunch of items from the menu and they were brought out and placed on injera. The best way to describe injera is like a sour spongy bread. I know that sounds gross, but it's actually really good. You rip off pieces of injera and scoop up the food with it, so the injera acts like your fork. Ethiopians like their food very spicy! We got a mix of spicy and mild, vegetarian and meat. It was soooo good! Check it out.
A popular drink in Ethiopia is honey wine. It's probably the nastiest thing I have ever tasted, but I'm probably not a good judge seeing as though I'm not a fan of most alcoholic beverages unless they are fruity tasting. You would think the honey wine was sweet. Nope. It wasn't. I don't even know what it tasted like, but it was gross. They did serve it in pretty cool glasses though. They looked like science beakers.
Another part of the Ethiopian restaurant experience was seeing traditional Ethiopian dances and costumes. It was pretty neat. Their costumes were very colorful and bright. Here is a short clip of one of the many dances they performed. In one of the dances there were a bunch of guys and we all said one of them looked like Mekonen in about 20 years. Haha.
I can't believe that our trip to this amazing country is coming to an end. We are eager to get home and see our families, but a part of us wants to stay forever. We will be coming back...