Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Day 4-care center and culture dinner
Day 4 we headed out to the care center. Makaria was actually only at the care center for about 1 month. She was born in Northern Ethiopia and so was under the care of our agency's other care center. IAG was our agency and we would highly recommend them. Our process was wonderful and our trip to Addis was great. So we headed out to the Addis care center in the morning and visited the kids waiting to be picked up by their families. On our way, you see more than a few goats and cows mingling with traffic. We had a massive traffic hang-up one day because we were competing with a RUNNING herd of cows on the highway. I've got pictures, but will post them later. It was really funny.
This is the view as we approach the care center. It was about a 30 minute drive from our guest house-depending on the amount of animals you have to encounter. These goats would be herded right through the city, around parking lots and weave through traffic. I realize I'm a little obsessed with the goats. It was just so funny to imagine a capital city, ie. Washington DC or Beijing with herds of goats all over the place.
We finally got to the care center where Makaria was immediately wisked up by her primary nanny-Tsige. Her nanny cried the second Makaria was put in her arms. The care center was amazing. There was 1 nanny for every 2/3 kids. The kids were wonderfully taken care of and loved. I am forever grateful to the care Makaria received. They taught her to play, to smile and to love. Makaria is so healthy and happy. She's walking already and eats a ton. I'm telling you, it's nothing like the nightmare orphanage stories you might have heard. All of the kids looked really happy and loved.
It was so much fun to get to hold babies and dance with kids. Every hold and tickle helps those kids get ready to meet their forever families. I was an honor to get to help out the process of discovering how to love for these kids. I could have stayed there all day. I can't post most of my pictures because it's illegal to post kids that have yet to be adopted. I don't want to mess it up for others.
This is a play/dance room. It explains why the rhythm of the dryer, the running of the faucets, the patter of footsteps all cause Makaria to break out in spontaneous dance. There's a tv in the corner that plays Ethiopian music. They kids all dance in a circle. The dancing is this sharp thrusting of your shoulders and neck. I tried. I failed. But I did provide some entertainment for the kids there. Saving face can be overrated.
That night we went to a traditional Ethiopian food and dance restaraunt. It was fantastic. The above picture is the coffee ceremony. The roast fresh beans and brew it right there. On the bottome picture, is a friend who got "randomly" picked to dance up on the stage with the dancers. I say "randomly" because we were the only group of whities in the place. We were sitting ducks for being volunteered.
This was the crazy-spin-your-head-around-and-convulse dance. It was wild.
A guy came around with a cistern and platter and had all of us wash our hands before eating. Ethiopian food is eaten with only your hands. This is our group. The man and the woman aren't adopting, but are friends with some of the people in our group. They work for the World Food Program in Tanzania. We weren't totally sure what we were ordering. But we did some pointing at other people's tables and some guess work. The food was incredible. The bread part is called injera. It's sour and takes some getting used to. But by the end of my trip, I ordered it on my own and grew to really like it. Sidenote: I've now had TWO seperate people tell me that I look Ethiopian. So that's probably why I liked the food a lot, it's just in my blood.
Here's all the stews put on the injera. You then break off pieces of injera and scoop up some of the stews with it. The whole night was a blast. Makaria slept through the whole deal, but Brad and I had a blast.