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)