Live...laugh...love Life with 4 kids 6 and under. Our trip to pick up Tonito in China is: mid-March 2008 through April 12. Our trips to pick up Ricky in Ethiopia are in June and August of 2010.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
My Last Day without Engida
The families that use WACAP generally stay at the TDS Guesthouse or the TDS Hotel (really just a block away from each other). It is literally 5-10 minutes down the road from Bole Int'l Airport and Cameroon Street (where the hotel is) is filled with cafes, restaurants, shops, supermarkets, and lots of taxis. It is a convenient neighborhood that is also safe enough for me to walk around by myself to get where I need to go. We stayed in the hotel for our first trip, but this time (with a child!) the Guesthouse was more appropriate- there is room to run around, there is an common living room, a kitchen we can use, and an outdoor area to kick around the soccer ball. Most importantly, the hotel and guesthouse are staffed by really genuinely nice people who go out of their way to help us feel comfortable and at home, and also to learn about beautiful Ethiopian culture during our stay. The perfect example is Zufan (I am so sorry I do not know how to correctly spell her name- please if anyone knows leave me a comment!). Her cell phone plays a certain religious chant/song that the little babies really like- so she offered to take us to a shop nearby that sells such songs! We walked with her to the Medhane Alem Cathedral, a huge, domed church on Cameroon Street (down the street from TDS Hotel). Although we were not allowed inside this day (because we had not brought the proper head covering- a traditional shamma or netella), we were able to admire this massive Ethiopian Orthodox Church from the outside.
The picture on the above left is the little music shop across the street from the church where we got some music.
In the ET Orthodox Church there are different entries for men and women, and all must remove their shoes when entering the church. Women wear beautiful white shammas- and I saw some men as well wrapping themselves up in the white gauze-y shawls. Ethiopian Christians follow some traditions (covering the hair in church) and dietary restrictions that are similar to Orthodox Jews (such as no pork, slaughtering the animal in a certain way, keeping the milk and meat separate in cooking). Zufan left us at a souvenir shop (where I got an ADORABLE outfit for Engida!) and we headed back towards the hotel. Right outside TDS Hotel (if you walk out the door, go to the right) 1/2 block away is a small little eatery called 17-17. Apparently there is some sort of religious festival right now where the Ethiopian Christians fast for the next 2 weeks- which means... FASTING MENU!!! My favorite!!!! :) I cannot tell you how much I enjoy these huge vegetarian plates ($2!) of tumeric, onion, garlic, and chile flavored legumes and veggies, piled in neat and colorful little hills that drip into the craters of the sour injera. My mouth is watering as I type this. After lunch we stopped at a supermarket, and I never saw so much boxed pasta in my life. The store was a medium-sized grocery store when compared to those in the US, but by far the 2 largest sections were the pasta section and the hair cream section. It's always fun to go to supermarkets in other countries!
After our shopping and lunch, Mary and I had our taxista friend take us to the Ethnological Museum and then to the Sheremena Market (which I am 100% sure I am spelling wrong). The market is several blocks long of open stalls and closed stores of mainly traditional Ethiopian clothes. If you'd like to go (I highly recommend it!!!) you need to tell the taxi driver that you want to see the traditional clothes market that is just north of the US Embassy on Entoto Rd, kind-of going up towards the mountains. Our taxi driver gave us this description and said any other taxi driver would know exactly what you are talking about:). When we do excursions like these, it is easier to just pay the taxi driver to stay with you while you shop (plus he can help to negotiate and tell you if it is not a good deal), so that you know you have a ride home. Just pay him at the end when you are back at the hotel:).
Look at beautiful mommy Leah and her gorgeous son Tamire!
We have been so lucky regarding weather- supposedly the rainy season is June-July-August (and it is confusing when Ethiopians call this their winter, even though they are technically north of the equator). We were able to walk around in the morning, and most of the afternoon with no rain! In the evening we went to Habesha 2000: awesome dancing and singing as "usual"... haha, my third time there. The picture on the above right is one of our adoptive dads getting interviewed by the local news! Too bad we couldn't see the original broadcast!
Random fact of the day we learned at the Ethnological Museum: teff is an Amharic word, coming from "tefa" which means "lost," because the grain is so small that if it's dropped it will be lost.