21 May 2011

journaling ethiopia: day one.

our first glimpse of addis seemed a study in wild contrasts: gated hotels kissing strings of ramshackle tin, a jerry-built sector boasting hyundai showrooms, goats brushing land cruisers in streets choked with diesel.


front of guest house
[view from our room] [scaffolding across the street] [from the lounge]


i didn’t photograph much. snapping what i’d normally want to capture—the people, the markets, the daily minutiae—felt inappropriate and not a little unwise. i’d left my 5D at home, but even the rebel weighed heavy and ostentatious, so i shot very little outside of the guest house and care center.


we flew from here to boston to amsterdam to addis, with a brief stop in khartoum for kicks. the flights were on time and smooth and more draining that i’d expected. about 10pm saturday, our van bumped along a pocked sideroad and honked at the razor-wired gate to the guest house.


that bed and shower shimmered like a mirage. despite bone-deep exhaustion, sleep was too slippery to hold, and i was sadly awake as the 6am call to prayer tolled through the dusty morning.


courtyard
[guest house courtyard]


jemimah
[slice of our room] [woven art just outside our door]


breakfast sunday was a fragrant parade of kinche, oatmeal, fruit, spicy lentil samosas, and small cakes with lime marmalade. from all reports i should have tried the coffee, but the tea was steamy and perfect.


before those samosas could settle, we were whisked off in a tiny car through the streets of addis to meet our son.


across the street
[view from our decorative balcony]


i was a puddle of nerves as the nanny led us to an airy playroom and called for our littlest. a jumble of footsteps came first, then his face in the doorway, lit with curiosity.


i knelt down and he loped across the room into my arms, then hugged and kissed the mister at the prompting of the nannies. they spoke to him in smiling amharic, shut the door soft so the room held just us three.


he unearthed trucks and foam blocks from a pile of toys, balanced a few in precarious towers, then set to work aligning rows of small toys into a wall-to-wall city.


we played the whole of the morning, left for lunch, then came back to while away the afternoon. i thought he'd grow bored with these two biggish people who couldn't speak right, but he was perfectly happy to deflate the beach ball (so as to be able to blow it up once more) and page through his photo book over and again.


view/stairwell
[from our room] [guest house stairway and what i called the tiger picasso]


from the balcony
[from our window nearing twilight]


when 5 o'clock hit and the car returned to ferry us back across town, he slipped his small hand easy into the mister's and walked us out. we waved long and called ciao! and sank back into those seats damp with relief. he's real. he likes us.


and while i know we have miles to go in this journey to trust and family, this day seemed an awfully fine place to start.

29 comments:

Rachel said...

beautiful to hear about your journey and the beginning of a new step for your family.

Kendal said...

i want more, i want more! lovely photos and even more beautiful story.

Bless by Tone said...

you write so beautifully, it's almost like I'm there in the room with you,spotting your son for the very first time. Tone

Joybird said...

even (wisely) without pictures of piggies 61-70 I am sitting here dripping joy on my keyboard. He likes you! He took the mister's hand! Clinging to the pictures that let him know there is a whole family longing for him! Please Lord, by July and let the time fly!

Jessica Flores said...

thank you for visiting my blog. Just came over to say hello. This post is so poetic and profound and stunningly beautiful. God bless you and your little boy!

lulu and family said...

so moving, nic. seeing the people in some of those shots of the outdoors, it's hard to believe those structures could be homes!? this first day with your boy sounded like a very good start indeed!=)

Folly said...

Wow. It would have taken such courage to start this journey, and you tell your story so beautifully. Your new son sounds like a sweet little boy. He made me smile.
Thank-you for coming by my blog, you made my day!
Michelle

Courtney said...

I can't wait to read more! I really can't wait to meet this littlest...sounds like such a perfect fit for your family. So excited for all of you!

Jorth! said...

I am so so so so so very happy for you all. Big hugs all around!

Heather said...

Wonderful. So wonderful.
Can't wait to hear more.

Ostriches Look Funny said...

I'm so excited! what an interesting place.

Fledgling said...

A need-to-know:

http://www.howtosayiloveyou.net/?page_id=36

Your trip is not at an end, but at the beginning of a beginning.

-Nancy

Christa said...

What a beautiful glimpse. And I just noticed the updated "and counting"-- love it!

Kimberly said...

I can't wait to see how your little one's story unfolds. The Lord must have big plans for him:)

Jessica said...

I'm so glad that first visit went well!! Can't wait to hear more and see his sweet face when the time comes!

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

A flood of memories...I love that in a small way, you're taking me back.

Raechel said...

Thank you for sharing these precious moments with us. What a journey this life is!

emily wierenga said...

oh, nic... this post, it's so, so beautiful. it reads like a book. i didn't want to put the book down. do tell us more, when you have time. and such lovely photos...

TheUnSoccerMom said...

wonderful, beautiful and everything that goes well w/ those words. :o)

happygirl said...

Such a wonderful, hopeful story. I can see God blessing this union. I never pray for time to pass quickly, but Lord, hear our prayer.

Jennifer Shults said...

Oh Nic. I'm not sure I have the words to say right now. You are a beautiful story teller but your photos... they speak things words can not. I can't wait to see this beautiful boy of yours.

elizabeth said...

I am loving seeing your photos of Addis, where my brother began his missions work in Africa and where my husband visited. My brother went from there to Rwanda and now Uganda. I am anticipating with you when your little one is with your family.

Rebekah said...

hooray! so happy for you, that you finally visited him and all went well :)

laura@lifeoverseas.com said...

i loved reading about your journey. the photos, the words, and ultimately the story. praying for you and yours tonight.

laura@lifeoverseas.com said...

i loved reading about your journey. the photos, the words, and ultimately the story. praying for you and yours tonight.

Jennifer Shults said...

Oh Nic. I'm not sure I have the words to say right now. You are a beautiful story teller but your photos... they speak things words can not. I can't wait to see this beautiful boy of yours.

TheUnSoccerMom said...

wonderful, beautiful and everything that goes well w/ those words. :o)

Jessica Flores said...

thank you for visiting my blog. Just came over to say hello. This post is so poetic and profound and stunningly beautiful. God bless you and your little boy!

Kendal said...

i want more, i want more! lovely photos and even more beautiful story.