[traditional hut built on the grounds of the guest house]
in the clutches of jetlag, i spent most of the night wide-eyed and wired. fortunately, i wasn’t the only insomniac in the neighborhood: a nocturnal rooster crowed every few minutes to keep me company.
spring draws the belg rains (short rains) to addis ababa, but monday morning broke warm and cloudless. after another ambrosial breakfast (seriously, those dishes inspire poetry), we climbed into the tiny car with our new friends lynn and angelia to drop off paperwork at holt’s office and visit the closet-sized shops on churchill road.
[back doorway and stairs leading to the hut]
the streets of addis were bright and pulsing with blue ladas, donkeys, humanity. our driver, john, is nothing short of a miracle: hyper-aware of traffic/bodies approaching from all angles, and so comfortable with the dimensions of our vehicle that he could eek that steel frame through openings with just centimeters between us and a collision.
john also walked us from shop to shop, bantering with smiling boys and keeping these ferengi safe from our own naïveté. i’m not much of a shopper (i’m all about functional and necessary), but we do want to have a few things that evoke comfort and familiarity for our littlest, so we left with a woven blanket and embroidered tunic in cream and green.
lunch was pizza at the guest house with lynn and angelia (the brief italian occupation in the 1930’s left noticeable marks on language and cuisine). we’d known l&a a mere twenty four hours at this point, but they were compassionate and articulate and genuine and felt so much like home.
a short while later, our court buddies and a group of families on their second trip returned from a two-day stint in the southern country. (we’d remained in the city since our child had been moved to addis a couple years back.) we scurried down two flights of stairs to the lounge and met lisa and andy and mike and erika and carin and chris and landon and mindy and mindy and greg and jill, and it took me a while to figure out who went with whom but they were funny, warm, colorful. for me, it was love at first sight. :)
at four, we left for our care center with mindy and landon. our mission was to say goodbye to our son and to meet with his physician; mindy and landon were headed for a farewell ceremony to bring their little girl home. since our visits coincided, we had the rare privilege of attending their farewell ceremony, one of the most poignant hours of the trip.
the care center staff asked landon to pray on the spot, and about one phrase into his prayer we were all undone. thanks, guys, for allowing us to be present for that precious experience.
i felt numb leaving our boy, but seeing little t with her parents on the van ride home was a balm to this mama's heart, proof that this story ends (and a new one begins) with together.
we enjoyed dinner of injera, mesir (lentil) wat, and steamed greens back at the guest house with friends from our amsterdam flight, jeff and meica. these guys are all manner of awesome, and when the region lost power we couldn't have drummed up two better people with whom to share a meal by candlelight. we talked family and faith and got to hear of their day spent with a local church and compassion project.
[coffee ceremony complete with popcorn in the guest house lobby]
the electricity flicked on and off throughout the evening as i attempted to pack by flashlight for our next day's departure. (when it first dropped off in our room, we stood there in the gloom with me saying, so the thing about bringing a flashlight in case we lose power is that it might be nice to not have to dig blindly through a suitcase to find the flashlight when we lose power. duly noted.)
mostly packed, i settled onto that extra-firm mattress for another night of wide-awake. :)