May 14, 2010

Saturday, April 24 – Care Center visit and “shopping”

I woke up this morning to the sound of prayers over a loud speaker.  The sound is broadcast all over the city.  A travel mate said it was Orthodox Christian prayers.  It is a very calming sound. 

I took my shower right away.  Right after that, the power went out.  Garland took a bath with Charmin wet wipes, since there was no hot water.  At breakfast, they had bread to toast, but there was no power.  The cooks had also prepared a loaf of bread which tasted somewhat like banana bread, but not quite as sweet as what we are used to here and more like yeast bread than a sweet bread. 

After breakfast, we left to go to the care center. 


This is the driveway that goes from the guest house entrance to the main road to the care center.  Every time we came back to the guest house, the driver would back all the way down this rough road and back in through the opened gate at the guest house entrance.


This was the road from the guest house to the care center.


Another picture of the road to the care center.

The driver dropped me off, and then Garland went on with Ato Girma to the airport to get his luggage.  I changed into a pair of “crocs” and headed upstairs to get Noah.  He was wide awake just laying in his crib looking around.  He had the same outfit on that he was wearing the previous day, but with the addition of white and blue sneakers (which seemed way too big on him, but oh so cute!).  As soon as he saw me, he smiled a big smile and started waving his arms around and kicking his legs.  I picked him up and took him downstairs.

We all sat around on the floor and played with our babies.  I came more prepared this time with a blanket and a burp rag.  He was very inquisitive.  He was looking around and watching what everyone was doing.  He was also giving me lost of kisses and would get  the biggest smile when I would kiss on him. 

After playing for a little bit, his nanny came down and had his cereal for him.  She took him and he gave her a huge smile.  She kissed him and I could that she really loved and cared for him as if he were her own.  She fed him half his cereal and then gave him back to me to see if I could feed him.  I did a much better job this time and managed to shovel it in fast enough for him.  He ate almost the whole bowl of it…and it was a BIG bowl!

Garland finally arrived back from the airport, but without his luggage.  The airport staff told him it should be there tomorrow.  He didn’t seem to mind too much that he only had two outfits and two pair of underwear.  He was  just happy to be here with Noah. 

After Noah had a full belly, he started to get fussy.  I knew that was probably a sign that he was getting tired.  He really fights sleep.  I think he was so afraid he would miss out on something.  I rocked him to sleep once, but it didn’t last.  The care center is very noisy, so we just played a little more.  We eventually went outside with him where it was a little more quite.  I walked around with him until he gave up and went to sleep.  It felt so good to hold him as he slept.  It felt like he was just melting into me; so very relaxed and comfortable.  Another “heaven” moment. 

Soon enough, it was time to leave for the day.  I took Noah back upstairs and laid him in his crib.  He woke up as soon as I laid him down.  We kissed him goodbye and walked out.  He began to cry as we left.  It nearly broke my heart to have to leave with him crying.  It seemed as though he was already beginning to bond with us.  At least the crying seemed like a good sign even if it was heartbreaking.

Back at the guest house, we had a traditional Ethiopian lunch.  It was too spicy for several in our group.  I tried a few things, though I wouldn’t say I would ever crave any of them.  At 2:00, we left to go shopping. 

There is no easy way to describe the shopping experience.  To say it was overwhelming or intimidating would be an understatement.  There are people everywhere on the streets.  Hundreds of beggars.  Many people trying to sell maps, socks, jewelry, gum, and many other things.  The shops were not what I expected.  Most of the shops were the size of a closet.  A narrow doorway to get into them, then a path about two feet wide and six feet deep.  You basically walk in and walk back out.  Nothing had prices on it. You just have to ask how much something is.  The prices are all negotiable.  Most of the vendors were very pushy.  We were in such a state of culture shock. 


After shopping for about 30 minutes, we went back to the bus.  Even sitting on the bus, people would come up to the windows and beg.  We had been told by our agency to not give anything to beggars.  Even when we told them no, they would not leave.  They continued to stare at us and ask for money.  Beggars varied in age.  There were old men, young girls and boys, children as young as three or four, and we even had a woman with a baby on her back that was about 18 months old.  The baby put his hand to his mouth and motioned for money for food.  It was heartbreaking.  There were several people with deformities, missing eyes, and major disabilities that would beg as well. 

After everyone was back on the bus, we drove to the “merkato”.  This was a large area of town with street vendors and shops.  We thought the first area of shops was overwhelming, but it paled in comparison to the merkato.  I felt very intimidated at times.  There were hundreds of people sitting on sidewalks.  Many shacks made of tin or cardboard.  We didn’t stop to shop as it was probably not the safest area of town.  We drove through the streets and saw goats, cows, and donkeys.  We even saw goats tied to the tops of cars.  merkato

When we got back to the guest house, I jokingly said to Garland that I wished we would have hamburgers and french fries for supper.  When we got down to the dining room, we had burgers and fries waiting for us!  They weren’t exactly like our version though.  I tried the hamburger, but couldn’t eat it.  We had drove by too many meat shops that day that had grossed me out. 


This is what the meat shops look like there.  I’m not certain there was any refrigeration!

The fries were good though.  The Ethiopian ketchup was really good….a little sweeter than ours.


Tomorrow we are going to Hossana.  We won’t get to see Noah again until Monday!  I already miss him, but I know I should probably try to enjoy these last few days before official motherhood begins. 


Anonymous said...

I think you are pulling our leg. I saw the guy with the Wisconsin River Falls shirt on in the picture! You went to Wisconsin!