Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Day 6: Thank Goodness for Public Changing Stations

Yesterday's historical tour of Addis Ababba was supposed to wrap up with some shopping - but one thing we are quickly learning is that our big adult-sized bodies don't tire out nearly as fast as Meron's little 17.2 pound body. So we pushed the shopping out until today and got an early start on it.

We had heard about a Leprosy Hospital located nearby where the patients hand-craft all types of products and the proceeds from the sales go to support the hospital. This sounded like something right up our alley. Our driver had not heard of it so after a phone call to get some directions we were on our way.

What a ride. First off - we hit some traffic that made Atlanta rush hour look appealing. And let me add that there are very few rules or regulations to adhere to when driving here. And don't find yourself as a pedestrian trying to cross a street. If you do - your life is in very serious danger. I have only crossed one street on foot since being here and I was afraid - I was very afraid.

Anyways - the traffic was the first issue - once we got past it we hit some seriously bumpy dirt roads. Then we got lost. After asking around for how to get there we finally found an isolated dirt road and headed up it. After a few "hit your head on the ceiling of the car" bumps and a couple of turns we ended up at the Hospital. What an amazing place. The patients all have leprosy and just like in the biblical times are pretty much ostracized and cast aside. But they are talented. They make all types of handcrafted goods - rugs, clothes, carvings, etc. They sell them there in a shop to raise funds for the hospital. It was pretty impressive and moving. We bought several items and then after getting permission we took some great pictures with some of the patients. Meron somehow managed to sleep the entire way there (bumpy roads and all) and the whole time we were there. She is a trooper.

After leaving there we headed to a local shopping mall to look around - and wouldn't ya know it Meron decided to bless us with a very dirty diaper. She always seems to know the best times to hit us with these to keep us on our toes. Thanks Meron.

Around 6:00 PM Tenaye showed up with a special delivery for us - Meron's passport and visa! Very exciting. We were also handed a sealed manilla envelope that we are not allowed to open and must present to an immigrations officer upon our entry in to the United States. Kinda weird and kooky in a Jack Bauer kind of way - but we'll do what they say!

Shortly thereafter Emebet showed up to pick us up. She was taking us out for a traditional Ethiopian dinner with cultural music and dancing. We got to the restaurant about 30 minutes before it opened so we decided to drive down to a nearby mall to kill some time. We all piled back in Emebet's car when - wait - what's that smell? Did someone empty their septic tank in my lap? Oh no
- that's just Meron doing what she does best. Emebet says "No problem there is a restroom at the mall." So we track it down - and oh my. This is where the title of this one comes from. We haven't used a public changing station yet in the USA but we are fairly sure they are gifts sent directly from above. The restroom at this mall was about 2x2. No lights. Meron was precariously balanced on a closed toilet (on top of her changing pad - thank you Perrys!) and to make matters worse - Laura had 2 others crowding in to the room to make sure she was doing it right.

The local Ethiopians here love their children so much that they have no problem telling you when they believe you might ought to do something a little different. But Laura passed with flying colors. Me? I was running as far and as fast as I could in the other direction.

Afterwards we headed back to the restaurant - we enjoyed a traditional dinner of Njera and tons of vegetables - no meat as Emebet and Tenaye are in the midst of one of their many annual fasts. The food was incredible - Laura and I were chowing down. And the dancing and music - it was incredible. An overall wonderful and amazing night.

As the young girls were dancing and singing and serving people food - I couldn't help but stare at them wondering what Meron was going to look like when she got older.

Thanks again for reading and traveling along this journey with us. It means a lot to us to have all this support for our girl!


Anonymous said...

What terrific experiences to share with Meron when she's older. (the culture, not the diapers : )

I love following along with you. Thanks for posting.

Gwen Oatsvall said...

love love love the pictures ... i am enjoying the blessing of your journey each day ... you put a huge smile on my face and i know God is rejoicing that you are finally together !!!!

thanks so much for sharing !!!

Amber said...

Great Pictures!It's my fist time on your blog. I'm a fellow red letter campaign blogger so I wanted to say Hi!

emily said...

Great 24 reference!! Tell Laura I have the same (RED) long sleeve green t as well. I continue to appreciate the effort to keep us informed. I soak in every detail.

Praying for the rest of your trip!!

Sara said...

Thanks so much for sharing so soon after your return! I love checking your blog and seeing a new post. Btw, Meron has such beautiful eyes! I feel for you with the diaper blow outs, no fun, especially when you're out.

Chris said...

So happy that you have your little one.
And she is BEAUTIFUL

Maria and Family said...

I am lovin following your journey! Your pictures and descriptions are wonderful. You guys are making the most of your time in Ethiopia :) Gotta love the yucky diapers :)

Anonymous said...

I am so happy for you guys!!!!!!

Awesome. And she is adorable!!!

Unknown said...

Its so nice to see a picture of Emebet!

Donna said...

OK guys where are you at. You have access to that beautiful baby girl everyday so where are OUR pics of her!!! Please post some soon as I need a Meron fix :)

Anonymous said...

I thank God for the wonderful journey you both have taken and am so happy for both of you - and Meron of course! Wow!


Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

What amazing experiences and adventures... I am like you... I would prefer to go to somewhere like the hospital where there were handcraft things made instead of all that mass produced stuff... never tire of reading what you are all doing... take care

Mary said...

What an amazing journey! Your posts about your trip and Meron brought tears to my eyes. So happy for you and thanks again for sending us the pictures of our girls.