Rose and Chuck both slept well last night, despite sliding down to the low point on the bed (Chuck's side) and being sort of smooshed together.  Rose is sweet, though, and reasonably easy to sleep with for a two-year-old.  She stirs, looking for someone in the bed with her, but sleeps well if her fingers are sort of entwined gently in my hair.  I woke up during the night, though.  One couple's baby was sick and they needed to call a doctor.  Our basement room is close to the office (just one flight up) where the phone was and I woke up in the commotion (apparently they broke in to the office but somehow I missed that) and couldn't get back to sleep.  

Finally I fell back to sleep but woke up shortly before the breakfast call.  I got out new clean clothes for Rose, and getting her dressed was way easier than into her PJs, because she approved of the outfit.  She felt even better with her jacket on (which is now varying shades of white and cracker-orange).   When we went to breakfast she left behind the hat she had on since we left the orphanage, though, which is a small step forward.

After breakfast we went shopping to a couple of small boutiques.  We bought quite a lot of stuff – my goal is to get her a small gift for each of her birthdays until she is 18, and then the gift will be to come to Ethiopia as a family again.  Rose got a little impatient with the shopping as she's gotten onto a very rigid schedule and the shopping made her lunch late.

During the shopping trip (and really any time you drive anywhere) there are tons of children begging who run up to your car, I would guess we saw some as young as 4 or 5 years old.  Sometimes they sell candy or packs of tissue, and sometimes they just want money for food.  They come even when our car is stopped for a moment in traffic. 

Today outside one of the stores a little boy was begging at the window of the van while we were waiting for the rest of the group to finish shopping.  An adult came up and hit him in the head, slamming his head into the van (I guess he was a guard or something trying to discourage begging?).  It was very sad.  The boy was bleeding and crying.  

The poverty here is really one of the main reasons I didn't want to bring Dillon with us.  What do you tell a child about that?  How do you explain something you don't understand yourself?  You can't help looking around at the kids in our van and thinking that they've won some sort of terrible lottery.

The people running the adoption program aren't content with just adopting children out of the country.  They are also running a sponsorship program where interested people can spend $300 per year to feed, board, and educate a child.  I don't know about you, but our family spends that much on Culvers in a year.  I think we are definitely going to sponsor someone.  The program is also starting a school to train nurses, which are also sorely needed in Ethiopia.

It's not all bad news here, though.  Everyone is very nice, and it is a really beautiful country that's just had some hard times.  But Ethiopia is the seat of the African Union, and has more embassies than anywhere except New York.  After shopping I wasn't feeling too hot (though I have been ultra-careful about what I've eaten) so I went and laid down for a while which gave Chuck and Rose some much-needed bonding time, during which she apparently said "mommy", "daddy", and "brother".  She hasn't said much else since we've picked her up, she understands a bit and nods yes with a curt upward motion when we ask her if she's hungry or thirsty or has to go potty or whatever.

I went upstairs for dinner, checked out the lego towers Rose and Chuck were building, but didn't feel too much like eating, even though the cook prepared "American" Food: french fries, lasagna with bolognese sauce, and lasagna with bechemel sauce.  They didn't use lasagna noodles, though, they used spaghetti noodles, which was an interesting interpretation.  Also, you could definitely taste Ethiopian spices in the marinara ("bolognese") sauce.  Apparently these dishes are remnants of the brief Italian occupation of Ethiopia from 1936-41.

One of the people in our group said that another remnant of the occupation was the way everyone drives here, which is pretty chaotic, and often results in white-knuckled passengers.  I have to say that our driver, Tesfayae, is a skilled, skilled man and his talents also included talking street vendor's prices down, finding us the hookup on coffee and stuff, and some tour guide duties, but he'd be the first to tell you that he's there to serve the children.  It's clear that they all love him, and he knows each of their names and can tell you what states those that have gone home went to.  

He was a little offended one day that Rose wouldn't go to him when we got out of the car, but then he said, "it's okay.  She has found her family."   And he still shared his croissant with her, which elicited a smile anyway.

I have been a bit surprised at how many of the staff know Rose.  I believe they employ about 100 people, of which we've probably met 30 or so, but the majority we've met all know Rose.  Few of them receive her smiles, and only one has she permitted to hold her (since meeting me) that was the "food nanny", who is the cook at the orphanage.

After our American food dinner we went to bed.  Chuck and Rose passed out right away but I had a fever and the chills, and wound up starting the Cipro that I brought with for just this occasion, took some Tylenol PM, put on another set of clothes over my PJs to get warm, then finally fell asleep in the wee hours of the morning.  I slept like a rock for three or four hours, though, the best sleep I've had since leaving Milwaukee.  

One Response to “Shopping”

  1. […] decision we made not to bring Dillon with us, and I know that was absolutely the right decision for many reasons.  But while we were there, I thought about when I would want to bring the kids back to Ethiopia, […]

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