Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Day One In Africa

YAY!!! It worked! I can read all your wonderful messages but can't publish them yet. Thank you so much. Even when I am on another continent you guys have ALWAYS got my back. It was such a joy to wake up this morning to SOOOO many messages from you. It made me so happy! :0)

 

OK… It's 6am our time. This is the latest I have managed to stay asleep all week. Not because I have set an alarm. About half of us just pop up at random times cause our internal clocks are a little screwy. The first night was HILARIOUS!! My roommate is my blogger buddy that lives in Doha. She is so awesome. So we laughed about our adventures getting here. (24 hours on planes and in airports for me!) I thought is was going to be killer but it wasn't bad at all really. I just watched a couple of movies and read some Mary Higgins Clark. It wasn't too long before we were taxiing into ADDIS ABABA, Africa.

On the way here I felt a combination of thrilled and terrified. What was I doing going to Africa??? I was really nervous about the airport. I expected to be really mobbed with people. It wasn't like that at all. The airport was decent and there was a crowd of people but our guide met us and it wasn't bad at all. Everyone was very polite and kind. I think if I hadn't been to these kinds of countries before it may have been a bit of a shock but with all my Mexico and Guatemala experience it wasn't bad at all. I have seen far crazier airports.

 

When we got here it was dark and we couldn't see much along the way. I could tell that the roads were dirt mostly. There are NOOO street signs and no addresses. You just have to know where things are in proximity to other things. It's funny! Thank goodness we have our great drivers!

 

So anyway… We got here and after some talking and giggling Lynn and I konked out. I had only slept in snatches on the plane so I was TIRED! We had our balcony door open since there is no AC. Don't worry… we are in a guarded and gated guest house. So then MY FAVORITE PART!!! I wish you could HEAR this part… At 5am this NOISE starts up like I have never heard in my life!! Lynn and I both shoot up out of bed and immediately start giggling. We had been warned about this but it was FUNNY! Apparently we are very close to a mosque. Cause the call to prayer at 5am came right through our window LOUD!!! So we could not quit giggling. It was this guy chanting some sort of prayer in a language I could not understand and loudly. It was hilarious… seriously. It's just a really fun new experience. I am going to try to record the call to prayer for you guys so you can hear it. Hey, but this morning the guy is GOOD! Lynn and I both woke up and when he was done we applauded him in our beds. Of course he wasn't DONE. I think he KNOWS he is good cause a half hour later he is STILL going. ;0)

 

So anyway, the first day was really… well… good. It was a REALITY. Some of it was harder than I expected. Some wasn't nearly as hard for me as I thought. The first day everything felt so primitive I just didn't know quite how to handle it. There is dirt everywhere and I was expecting a big city. It just wasn't as big as I expected. There aren't like a lot of big nice building like you would expect in a big city. Most buildings are small and concrete or tin. I could NOT get the internet to work. We could NOT get the phone to work. The shower leaks onto the floor… the sheets give you a nice exfoliating treatment.. there are some bugs exploring the kitchen wall. BUT I just told myself. ANGEL! You are in AFRICA. Embrace it… embrace it…

 

We went to the "transitional house" and met the kids. They are amazing, Nothing short of amazing. There are like 160 something kids I think. OH MY HEART! The tour of the orphanage left me feeling…well sad. There were all these amazing caregivers and children and just well… OK facilities. It's just not what we would expect. It would never fly in the US. Here it is the lap of luxury. It took me time soak it in. There are SOOOO many more older children waiting than I am used to seeing. It seems about half their children are older. It breaks my heart. I know this is because of poverty and disease. I spent the day getting acclimated and watching. Watching the older kids, hugging them, playing with them…. They are precious. Holding babies, giggling with toddlers, feeding hungry little mouths…praying they would all have a mommy one day. It was a lot. As I looked around I slowly began to see things differently than I had earlier in the day. It wasn't a old dark building. It was a building filled with love. These people are nothing short of amazing. The caretakers are precious. The staff is precious. They LOVE these children. The concrete walls aren't what matter. The old creaky bunk beds are OK. The open fire kitchen is not a problem. The million loads of hand washed laundry isn't what matters. This is a place where kids are loved.. where they began to heal. Somehow between day one and two I didn't care as much about it. I didn't feel the conditions as much. The muddy road was amusing. The stray dogs were cute. The smiling beggar was precious. The bugs on the kitchen wall were tiny. The shower wasn't so bad and the sheets felt great cause I was exhausted. Africa isn't changing but I am.

 

Well, I will write more very soon. There is SOOOO much more. SOOO much… I am giggling cause my new buddy Tina just went to take her shower and there is NO water. Noooo not no hot water. NO WATER! It comes and goes apparently. Sharon just announced that this is very common. Ahhhh no problem. NO PROBLEM. We are in Africa after all. Learning to go with it but feeling REALLY glad I took my shower last night. Hee hee hee…

 

Russ and my girls. I love you like CRAZY CAKES! I miss you and think about what you are doing all the time. Wendi and mom and Russ, thanks for letting me be here and taking care of my beautiful babies. Zoe, there is a little girl about your age. She looks a lot like you. Beautiful… precious. You would love her. KK ad Zoe all the children look at your pictures and kiss them. They talk about how beautiful you are. They are right. All my love for you! Thank you for being so brave and strong so mommy can love on these kids. They are so happy that we are here visiting them. When we walk up they glow with happiness. I will be home very soon. Have a LOT of fun and be sweet and safe.

 

Hugs, Mommy/Angel :0)

 


24 comments:

Rachel said...

Yeah! What great news about Kaiya- very exciting! I loved hearing about your trip so far. My sister in law just went to Uganda a few weeks ago with a group from our church. The pastor of the church there has spoken at our church a couple of times. I just got to see some of her pictures yesterday, so I am guessing where you are might look similar to what she has shown me. Luke and I want to go sometime when our church goes again! I am so proud of you, friend. You are awesome and you are making a difference in so many lives! Love you!

Angie said...

Wow, you've brought tears to my eyes this morning and tugged at my heart. Thank you for sharing. Have a safe trip, keeping you in my prayers!
Angie

Melinda said...

I am so excited to hear about your time there Angel. The chanting is somewhat comforting after the first day or two, the water seldom worked when I was there, be happy if you get three showers when you are gone, you will be blessed if that happens, and in Africa everthing is "no problem" We heard that frequently from our driver! Happy to hear you are enjoying yourself.

Natalie C. said...

I have to admit, I am a little jealous. I would have loved to do something like that. Can't wait to see pictures and your videos.

Amy said...

I love this post, as you share your heart, and what the Lord is working on in you, as you reach out to others. Thank you for loving these dear children.

Praying for you and your family as you experience what God has to teach you in Africa!

Nikki said...

Angel- I am so excited for you! It sounds amazing. I want to go soooooo badly. Give the kids a hug for me :) and have an amaaaziiing time.
P.S. I have started Dangerous Surrender and despite my hesitation at the beginning, I am really enjoying it!
Nikki

THE MERRILL FAMILY said...

Angel -- You are truly an inspiration. Reading your post my eyes welled up and I'm so thankful there are people like you in the world. You inspire me to be better than I am.

Hugs,
Beckie

Julie said...

I LOVE that book, CRAZY CAKES! A dear friend bought it for me when we brought our daughter home from Guatemala!

Keep doing what you're doing over there!! Those kids will remember you for a long time!!

DebbieT said...

Oh Angel, I can't believe you are in AFRICA!!! Makes Guatemala seem so close, compared to where you are now, huh? I know you are having an AMAZING experience! Soak it all in! Hugs to you!

Amy said...

Oh my gosh Angel- it was so good to hear from you! I had checked your blog 2 days ago and nothing new and then all of a sudden all this wonderful news! First of all, I have been thinking about you and praying for you NONSTOP! I cannot wait to hear about EVERYTHING! Write girl write- we are clinging to every single word. And then you got approved!!!! I am SO EXCITED! I thought last you said it would be awhile- how awesome is that! Anyway- just wanted you to know I am thinking about you and SO HAPPY for you! I am so going with you next time! Take care, be safe, and CHANGE THE WORLD!!! Love, Amy

The Morgans said...

I was so excited this morning when I checked your blog and saw this post. Can't wait to read more. Thanks for sharing.

Darlene said...

Angel,
What an amazing journey you are on - and not just Africa! I was introduced to your blog through my friend Billie (Passionate Journey to One). It is clear that you have the gift of encouragement! My hubby was even inspired by your blog. We are in prayer about adoption right now, and your story is one that I will continue to follow! My prayers are with you as you travel.
Darlene

Lou said...

Angel,
I love the person you are. You are one amazing chick..... I am living vicariously through you. I am SO drawn to adopting from Ethiopia. I've already told Andrew that if we EVER adopt again it will be a baby boy from Ethiopia!I am so glad God is using you to show us the work there that needs to be done.

Love and prayers headed around the world to you!

Emily said...

Oh I'm so happy that you are there & getting to have this experience. Love, love, love hearing about it. Getting me very excited for my return trip to Guatemala.

Ellie said...

Angel,

Africa sounds amazing - hug a few more kids for me :) I'm so excited about your news about Kaiya! Sounds like you will be in China with Judy - that would be unbelievable.

I'm praying for your trip. If you sense you should do something, give something, say something - DO IT!

Big Hugs from Australia,

Ellie

GDS said...

Oh, Angel, my friend!

My heart is breaking and smiling at the same time. It's so awesome that you are seeing children, people, and healing, and not just tragedy.

I cracked up at your 5AM wake up call. I remember hearing that during our visit to Israel and the West Bank.

Hang tough - the Lord is working through you and those amazing caregivers.
Blessings,
-Greg

melissa said...

What an amazing experience. I have enjoyed reading about your trip and I can't wait to read more. Enjoy every moment - and then tell us about it. :)

Many blessings to you. You are amazing and I truly admire how you live your life.

Brockfamily said...

Angel,
Give that sweet roommate of yours a hug for me. I was so excited to read news from the trip and to hear Lynn was your roommate. You girls have a great time loving and serving the world together.
Lynn's big sis - Joan!

Pattie & Rob said...

Wow Angel - You amaze me. I wish I could be in your shoes right now, it sounds amazing!! Enjoy every minute and I can't wait to read more about Africa and see some pictures. Your in my prayers.
Be Safe
Pattie

Candy said...

CONGRATS CONGRATS On being NEW PARENTS AGAIN!!! I am NC and just got to check my FAV Blogs today...Girl I can't believe it...WE will both have another SWEET CHILD in our HOMES VERY SOON!!!!!

Candy said...

CONGRATS CONGRATS On being NEW PARENTS AGAIN!!! I am NC and just got to check my FAV Blogs today...Girl I can't believe it...WE will both have another SWEET CHILD in our HOMES VERY SOON!!!!!

Princess D said...

Angel, Thanks so much for posting. I have been thinking about you and praying for you and your friends and all of the kids you will be meeting. So excited to hear about your trip and to have an idea of what you are experiencing. I can't wait to see the pics. I'm sure it's alot to take in and I am so impressed by your strength and courage. Hoping you get another shower and the bugs stay FAR away! LOL
D

Carrie said...

Angel,

I hope your trip back was smooth. I miss you already, my sick friend. Thanks for experiencing Ethiopia with me!

My blog is: www.willinghearts.blogspot.com

Enjoy your family!!

Love,
Carrie in Washington

Anonymous said...

Hey Angel, I am made it home and am now enjoying Spring Break with my kiddos and husband. I am trying to hold on to every emotion and every image and every little one we loved on during our trip. It is a lot to process.

I am so glad I finally got to meet you and spend lots of time getting ot know you. Thanks for letting your little light shine!

Guess what time I got up this morning? 5:10...hee hhe

Lynn