Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Day 2

Day 2
Oh my gosh, we are total zombies. Jet lag, plus the 2am (Ethiopian time) feeding are about to do us in!!!! Both David and I didn’t sleep well the first four hours of the night because Pickles has a head cold and is having a difficult time breathing. We both woke up repeatedly just to check her breathing. When she finally woke up for her bottle, we were ALL up for at least two hours. We slept in late, and are going to go for coffee as soon as I wake up Squeeker.
Today is going to be a low-key, uneventful kind of day. We just came back from lunch at a Pizzeria and are going back to the Guest House for a long nap. We are very, very tired.
Pickles, on the other hand, is a trooper! She sleeps good when she has a full tummy and a fresh diaper!!!! She’s really adjusted well to us.
After lunch, we went to the Sheraton is a very plush hotel, to say the least. It is so out of place here in Addis -- it just does not look like it belongs. We visit the Sheraton because they have high speed internet access there and that is where I update the blog, send emails home. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to update the blog again today, but am working on finding a solution!!!
As we were on our way back down the stairs (the Sheraton is a minumum of $300/night in US$) and an Ethiopian woman dressed in formal wedding attire came up to me saying “you have your baby.” I didn’t recognize her as the woman who sat diagonally across from me in the plane. David didn’t recognize her either. Ethiopian woman are beautiful -- I am constantly overwhelmed with just how beautiful they are. I just love the Ethiopian people -- they are warm, sincere and love their children.
I am falling in love with this country…………..

Fast forward a few hours:
Our intention was to return to the Guest House and take a nap. The neighborhood we are in is in the outskirts of Addis and has gates surrounding each of the houses. The three bedroom, two bath house we are staying at is considered very upscale for Ethiopia. Upon our return, the landlord, Mekoten, who is an older gentleman (yes, older than us!!!) greeted us to unlock the gate. He had visitors, including a 9 year old girl. Squeeker and this girl played very well, in spite of the language barrier. What happened next humbled me beyond my years……
Mekoten speaks broken English, like most of Ethiopians. In the 7th grade, all children must begin speaking English in school. Many use both Amharic and English interspersed in one sentence. Although his English is difficult to understand, we were able to communicate. He showed us his beautiful yard, plush green grass, which is an anomaly here in Ethiopia, his pepper plants, etc. I was amazed at how graceful he was in showing us around his home. We found out he has a housekeeper who lives in one room in the building behind the Guest House. He lives in another, and they share a bathroom, which all have outside doors in the courthouse between the Guest House and the living quarters. They do use the refrigerator in the Guest House to store eggs, vegetables, etc, but do laundry and dishes in the outside tiled sink area. I’m still a little shocked that even in this upscale area of Addis, laundry is still done by hand. Mekoten told us his housekeeper would do laundry for us, but would appreciate it if we tipped her. After hearing and seeing a demonstration on how it was done, I was overwhelmed with guilt about asking her to wash the pair of jeans Edilawit got sick on last night. I think I can do without them for the week.
Mekoten asked me if I liked coffee. If you don’t like coffee, you learn to while you are here!!!!
Coffee in Ethiopia is a big deal. After every meal, locals congregate at the numerous coffee shops throughout the city as a means of socializing. Many coffee shops also have WiFi services, but the one we tried was having connection problems. Mekoten’s housekeeper graciously made us coffee, including roasting the green coffee beans, hand grinding in a mortar & pestle and steaming the coffee in a pottery coffee pot. To be asked, as a foreigner, to participate in a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony was very humbling. The housekeeper makes less than $55.00 per month. I can’t even begin to explain her graciousness and how in awe I am of being able to share this amazing experience with one of the locals.

So much for our nap!!! Yet the feelings and experience will stay with me forever. In just a few short days here in Ethiopia, I am forever changed.

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