Ethiopia: Pictures, Part 1

Now, what you’ve been waiting for: A chronicle of our time via the photograph. Just a few.

We checked in 4 totes of diapers, clothes, etc. from "an anonymous donor," 1 tote for a family living there (which was mailed to us...the same way you will send us treats next year), and the giant red bag full of essentials like boxed cookie mix, mini Reese's cups and Cadburry eggs for the Americans there.

Sierra, a.k.a. Mary Poppins, happened to be going to work...obviously as a very cute flight attendant...about the same time we departed, so we met up for a little farewell party. Just the three of us. I love her.

Pillow Pets!!! Battle of the unicorn and Fox hoodie. One is, without debate, far superior to the other.

The breathtaking view from our room.

On our first day of real exposure, we visited a family who helps run a free daycare for moms who must bring home the bacon. This is the view from the top of that building.

Even though most of it is a view of a disgusting and smelly dump, it was really beautiful up there. Like, if I lived close enough to them, I'd sneak up there to relax with a book, a chair, and of course an enormous hat.
More of that dump...the smoke you see is from the slow and steady burn of the garbage. That smell is not only waste, but burning waste. Mmm. It wasn't too terrible. Ethiopia is quite efficient. Much of what gets thrown in there also gets dug out and sold to those with a lower standard regarding what determines an item as being trash or the next meal. Look closely at the horizon in the picture below. Those are people waiting to dig for that next meal or, even better, items to sell.

Speaking of enormous hats. Here's why Keith was embarrassed to be seen with me. I tell him I wear it so that he doesn't "accidentally" lose me. Can you find me in the picture below?

We visited a boarding school to which about 60 kids are sent from the dump. (220 kids from the same dump have been sent to a larger boarding school.) Their tuition, clothing, school supplies are all funded by sponsoring families. Although the kids wanted their pictures taken with us as if we were famous...it was either celebrity status or my fabulous hat, I'm not sure the sponsoring families would want me posting their sweet faces, so I purposely selected the only shot that does not show them too well. If you'd like to sponsor a child who lives in the dump so that he can live at and attend a boarding school, i.e. he gets to eat good that wasn't pulled from a heap of rotting garbage, visit www.p61.org. (You'll have to copy and paste the address. Sorry, I can't get links to work on here right now.)

These sisters were in our guest house with their new family, waiting on their Visas so they could leave. The older sis is attempting to braid my hair. The two of us had clicked and she seemed a little bored, so I "let" her do my hair. Really, I was just being my usual self...selfish. I believe my exact words to her were, "Hey, you wanna braid my hair?" And she took the bait. I love having my hair played with. Doesn't matter whose hands are doing it. Despite the painful look on my face, I enjoyed most of the experience.

Well, our make-shift salon was preceded by a coffee ceremony, which is always served with a giant basket of popcorn. Sugary popcorn. Have I failed to mention that additional ingredient? Just kinda sprinkled over the top. I had completely forgotten about it. Then, after picking out gross granules of some sort for 3 days in a row following this particular evening, assuming it was just dirt from being outside so much, I finally looked at what I had picked off my scalp. The sugar. So, I did what any gal would do. I turned my head upside down and scrubbed my sugary scalp like the basket case in "The Breakfast Club."

A Lutheran church, or "temple" as Keith jokes with his Lutheran buddy (who calls ours a "bar church" and pokes fun of the fact that we can morph any building into a church...guess he has a point).

Keith thinks this will be his mode of transportation. He must have been unconscious while we were on the road. Next to me, a fearful passenger in an enclosed vehicle behind the protection of bars separating the back from the front seat, which keep human bodies from flying through the windshield. Yes, must have been unconscious.

This is one of the American families we had the privilege of spending a day with. They run that free daycare I mentioned. Their daughters, ages 4 and 6, kept up with my pace on our half-hour walk back from lunch at a local restaurant. Avery is going to love them. The 6-year old kept picking rocks (not flowers) for me to take back to Avery. I think I smell a BFF.

I've covered pics of the first 2 days of our stay. More will come. Lots more to tell. I'd like to promise by the end of the week.