Sunday, December 18, 2011

Trip 1 - Day 2

So sweet to wake up knowing that that we get to go right to Hannah's Hope to play with our girl! We only got to go to Hannah's Hope in the morning this day because we had some other things planned for the afternoon. Like every morning, we found R outside with the babies playing in the sun! She became more and more responsive through the week and it was awesome to watch her become aware of us. Hannah's Hope works like a clock - the kids wake up every morning about 6:30, eat, rest, play inside a little, then they are outside by about 9 to sun. At around 10:30 all the toys and babies are packed up and taken inside to the baby room. I spent a lot of time in the baby room rocking and feeding R. It was pretty intimidating to care for her in the midst of the special mothers who care for her all the time. With the language barrier it is almost impossible to ask questions or talk to them about her. It was interesting to watch the special mother's response to me as well. Their caution of me at first, then becoming more and more comfortable with me as they saw that ,"oh, maybe she does know something about what she is doing!". There were several times toward the end, when Matthew was holding our R (so my arms were free) and another baby was crying that they would point to me and then to the crying baby telling me to go help with that one. They often have a baby in their arms drinking their bottle, one foot bouncing a child in a bouncy seat, and another toddler snuggled into their side. I was more than happy to love on the other kids when I could. So they feed the babies and then lay them down for a nap, the toddlers know to come in, lay down on the rug, they cover up their heads with a blanket, and they go to sleep - amazing! This is a picture of the baby/toddler room:
While the kids are napping, they clean. To go into the the baby house, you take your shoes off and put on a pair of crocs or flip flops - these are scrubbed every day. The toys are cleaned, the blankets washed, the floors are swept and mopped, the courtyard swept - it is very clean.

Typically by around 3:30, all the kids are upstairs, getting baths, playing, having bottles and getting ready for bed which starts around 6:30. R is in the ladybug room with about 6 other kids.
We went back to our hotel for lunch and to rest before our Ethiopian cultural dinner that night. Since this was really the only day that we had a large amount of free time, we decided to see some of the city. Addis is pretty hectic! There are tons of people, and lots of cars and they drive like crazy. There are no stop lights or traffic signs so even at a major intersection, people just sort of bust their way through. Pedestrians have no right of way so there are people running across the road everywhere trying not to get hit, all this coupled with the donkeys, horses, cows, and goats that just walk around or lay in the road, riding in a car in Addis was quiet an experience. So we hired a taxi and went to the National Museum and St. George Orthodox Cathedral.
We got back to the hotel just in time to be picked up by Wass and taken to the Ethiopian Cultural dinner. Wass is the primary driver, tourist guide extraordinaire, and special father at Hannah's Hope. He is a very willing conversationist and we loved asking him questions. Some interesting things we learned from Wass is that Ethiopians love American Country Music, Ethiopian Protestants only listen to spiritual music and they do not drink or dance, to tell a girl you like her you would throw a lemon at her chest and if she like you back she will pick it up and kiss it, and that Beyonce learned how to shake her booty from Ethiopians who are the best booty shakers around! He knows a ton about the different regions of Ethiopia so we also learned a lot about the Afar, which is where R is from.
The cultural dinner was amazing. They bring you warm water and soap before and after you eat to clean your hands and after dinner you have a coffee ceremony. Ethiopian food is yummy - you eat it by tearing off a piece of Injera (a flatbread) and picking up the food so you really need your hands cleaned in the end!

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