Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day 3 (September 14th) Part 1

Day 3 (September 14th) Part I

The Hokey Pokey

After a restless night of sleep I awake to the strangest sound. It was very loud since the slider in our room was open due to the warm, humid air. I laid in bed for quite a few minutes with my eyes closed trying to orient myself and figure out if I was dreaming or was I really hearing the “Hokey Pokey” being sung. I open my eyes to a somewhat stark and simple room. The walls are a very light cream color with only one large picture hanging above our bed. It is of a man’s hand cradling a toddler’s hand. Our bed is plain and flanked by two wing back chairs fashioned out of wicker. There is a bunk bed across from us where my mom is still quietly snoring. How can she sleep with the Hokey Pokey being sung so loud?

As I slowly pull myself out of the very hard bed, every ounce of my body screams with disapproval. Looking out our slider I am surprised to find that across from our Guest House is a private school. Inside the fenced walls there are children lined up singing the Hokey Pokey. Our gravel/dirt road is littered with cars dropping children off at the entrance gate to the school. One more unexpected surprise brought to me by Ethiopia. I never expected to see a private school singing a very American song in English. This would be a prelude to the stark contrasts that comes when visiting Ethiopia.

7:00 am

It is now a little after 7 and we don’t leave to get our sweet peas until 10 am. There is plenty of time to get ready, eat breakfast and to wonder about our first meeting. Will they be scared? Will they cry and be inconsolable? How will we ever get them to understand that we are their parents and we love them so much? Please God, prepare their little hearts and minds for our meeting today. You have ordained this day from the beginning of time. I put my trust in you Lord. I ask for your peace to guard my heart and my mind.

10:00 am

It is a few minutes after 10 am now. We have been waiting in the living room of the Guest House for more than 20 minutes. My question to Charlie and mom: “Do you think they forgot us?” My Hubby gently squeezes my hand and tells me not to worry. He reminds me that they don’t worry about being on time as much as we do. Several minutes go by and we hear the honk at the gate. It is Hanok our driver for the week. He is very kind and somewhat shy. He helps us load our things in the van and the journey to our sweet peas begins.

The Journey

One of the first things I notice as we travel the roads is the unmistakable smell of diesel. The majority of vehicles are diesel and the nauseating smell is clearly identifiable in the humid air. I believe the level of air pollution here would make LA’s air seem clear.

As we meander through the maze of roads (more on the driving later), I am awe struck by the beauty of the people. The skin tones vary from very dark to a light chocolate brown. Their features tend more towards high cheek bones with large eyes that seem to speak volumes as they gaze back at me. The scarves the women wear are absolutely amazing. They are draped in an array of styles according to ones religious beliefs, customs or preference. The colors are vivid or simple. Some have intricate patterns while others are uncomplicated. The scarves for me signify their rich culture and obvious heritage. I can’t wait to buy some for Jocelyn and me.

As we continue to travel, I begin to recognize some of the shapes that baffled me the night before. The spiky like pyramids are dozens of wood poles piled in a triangular shape about 10 – 12 feet high. The sporadic patterns of tall lines I had seen happens to be the wooden poles tied together being used as scaffolding! Some of the wooden pole scaffolding reaches 6-8 stories tall on the newly constructed buildings. I am utterly amazed. My only thought was…that wouldn’t pass inspection in Washington State.

The trip seems to be taking forever. How far could the orphanage be? How big is this city? Wait…we’re finally slowing down. Is this the wall and gate that will take us to our babies? One honk of the horn…no answer. The second honk produces the sound of the gate being unlatched. I ask our driver Hanock, “is this the orphanage?” He answers with a nod and a quiet “yes.”

As we enter the orphanage, Charlie begins to tap my leg excitedly saying “there they are, there they are!” He didn’t need to say a thing. I had already spotted them. I was afraid that maybe I wouldn’t recognize them but one glimpse was all it took. There were our babies standing nervously next to a nanny on the front steps of the orphanage.

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