We had planned on being at Korah early for the bead making/training but then life in Ethiopia happened and our "plans" changed. The driver did not come until close to 11 am and since we cannot go anywhere w/o him, we were stuck at the house till he showed up. It was no big deal as we spent the time going to a couple of small stands across the street to buy bread and some necessary odds and ends. The bread here at the bakery stand is SO good-it is fresh and cost me one birr, or about 6 cents. Not sure if I can eat at Panera again, on principle, haha. We gathered up some supplies to take to the twins as were going to go visit them again today (yay!) and then just hung out until the driver came. We were off soon enough and made a stop at the bank for Cherrie to change money, only the bank was out of receipts so we could not do it. This meant we had to go to another bank so off we went to another bank - the whole process for poor Cherrie to simply exchange money took over an hour. Nothing is really simple or quick here, it is just a fact of life. It can be extremely frustrating to have to go all over the place, taking hours for what would be a 15 minute errand back home, but it is also just the way it is so you just have to roll with it. Danielle and I enjoyed rockin' out in the van with Surafael listening to Usher and Bob Marley full blast (always the way S plays music) while we waited for Cherrie in the second bank. We were visited here and there by beggars coming to the windows seeking a birr or 2, and we also learned about the woman going around writing what we thought were parking tickets. They are actually papers that tell what time you park there and then she will charge you 1 birr per hour and you take your paper to her and pay when you leave. She is like a human parking meter.
We finally arrived in Korah at about 12 noon and went to the twins' house to make another visit and bring some supplies. When we got there, they were again covered all up in the rag/blanket pile which the mom pulled back for us to see their faces. One was slurping at a bottle in his sleep and the other was trying to lick the side of the bottle, hoping for some, too so I asked if I could feed her. I was told yes and I went to unwrap her and was surprised to find her scrawny little bottom half completely devoid of clothing or diaper and her shirt was wet from laying on wet blankets. The last diaper had been used the day before so they were just lying on blankets, although the mom was very resourceful and had split a discarded diaper package wrapper and laid it under the blankets to sort of keep the bed underneath dry-ish (unsuccessfully). She came over to get the baby properly wrapped to hand to me and then I received a wet bundle, and promptly realized the little one was not wet just from urine when I put my hand right in a blob of, um, well, you know... Thank goodness we had brought diapers and wipes with us! I got her out of her soiled outfit and was amazed at the absolute tiny-ness of this human being in my hands - she was the length of my forearm and I could hold her body in one hand. She absolutely swam in the diaper I put on her, wrapping the velcro tapes completely criss-crossed across one another. Pastor (who is the sweetest, gentlest, quietest man in the world with a heart of gold) was with us from the church and he helped me get the little lady into some new clothes and I fed her a bottle. The babies still have not been named and I said I liked the name Sarah (they say "say-RAH" here) for her and Judah (they say "YOO-duh"), like a strong Lion, for the boy. Pastor and Berhanu began talking to the mother about naming them those names (which by the way, I was not at all trying to get her to name them that, just that is who they will be in my mind) and in the process got to talk about the meaning of the Lion of Judah and the story of Abraham and Sarah with the mother, who is Ethiopian Orthodox. What an unexpected blessing! We stayed a bit longer snuggling those sweet babies then it was time to say ciao and we headed out.
Danielle and I went with Pastor and Murad to visit and take pictures of the families of the kids at boarding school to send to them. We walked along the rocky, trash-strewn road literally right alongside a large herd of donkeys and I was surprised when the guys told me we were going to Netsanet's house! I had never been there, although I had met her grandmother this summer. We wound down through some alleys and across some rocks and back along a narrow path that went between some mud and tin homes and arrived at a doorway of a mud walled home and went inside. Sure enough, there was N's grandmother! We hugged and did the traditional kisses on alternating cheeks 3 or 4 times-they told her I was N's sponsor and she looked again and all the sudden recognition showed in her face and she got back up and came and hugged and kissed me multiple times again, talking Amharic a mile a minute. They told me she didn't recognize me at first b/c I was wearing different clothes from the last time she saw me and she was very excited to see me again. We talked with her for some time, I showed her photos on my camera of N that I had taken on Friday when we visited the school and then took her picture to send to N, along with a note that Pastor wrote as she dictated. We finished with Pastor praying as we all prayed along in our own language and then said multiple goodbyes that of course included lots of cheek kissing and hugging. We left but shortly past her house she caught up with me and walked up to the road with me holding my hand :)
We next went to the home of one of Danielle's sponsored boys and were treated there to a coffee ceremony! Yummmmmm. There is seriously nothing else like it. They too had photos shared and taken and wrote notes to their children at the school and then Danielle was asked to pray before we left. This mother was so smiley and jolly, really liked her. Soon enough we were on our way again, this time down another rocky path to Danielle's other sponsored child's home. Danielle was surprised to see that they had thankfully been moved out of the horrible, minscule living area they had been in before to a mud walled home with a dirt floor covered in the signature ragged old vinyl, painted white inside with furniture and even a tv! Murad explained that a humanitarian group had built her the home, kind of like ET version of Habitat for Humanity. We talked, shared photos and then Murad said it was a good opportunity to share the gospel if we wanted to! Heck yeah, we wanted to! I got to share with her that b/c Jesus died on the cross in our place, we now can come to God freely, with nothing between us and Him and that He loves her so very very much. She nodded and said (via Murad) "these are good words that you are saying" and then Pastor asked me if I would pray this time. What an amazing time in that house! God's unexpected blessings are always the best ones. We reluctantly left her home and headed to take a "taxi" (aka toyota van) to the coffee shop which is their standard meeting place (think "Friends" only with cows out in front and big comfy couches traded for small aluminum tables crammed close together). Here is a riddle for you: how many Ethiopians and Firengis (white people) can you fit in a taxi? NINETEEN. At least that is how many were in ours-and did I mention they have different philosophies about deodorant than Americans? It was pretty funny, and absolutely against about 15 laws in the US.
We spent the next hour at the coffee shop (me, D, Murad, Pastor, and Yiesmachew showed up at some point) just talking about our home visits, ET culture vs. American culture, language differences, politics and how they relate to the Bible, and several other minor topics :) It was such an interesting conversation and we laughed till our sides hurt and also learned a lot about each others' cultures. Eventually the driver with the rest of the group showed up by the sidewalk in the van, right next to the absolutely adorable little girl who was the "face" for her mother begging on the sidewalk. Parents will often have their children do the begging since people are more likely to give to children in need, which absolutely breaks my heart. I took some birr over to the mother rather than give it to the little girl, b/c I did not want her to think that she was only worth helping b/c she had a child nor reinforce the practice. I hate to see the children begging and it is so dangerous and so common here- yuck. The young mother partly hid her face shyly behind her shawl but I put my hand on her cheek and told her "beautiful" anyway, b/c she was and she needed to know it.
We left the coffee shop and went back to the house to get Cherrie and Sammy back for a meeting and we all got cleaned up from the day and made some plans for dinner at a pizza place. There was another 2 hour drive around the city while all 9 of us tagged along on a search for lithium batteries (did I mention simple errands don't exist here??) and were treated to the same Usher song from earlier about 6 times b/c the driver knew D and I liked to sing and dance to it and so he kept playing it for us, a lot. I maybe like to sing and dance to it a little less now ;) We went to an Italian place for dinner (ET was briefly occupied by Italy) and I ordered ravioli with marinara sauce and the server brought me a bowl of spaghetti with some sort of a meat sauce which caused a big ruckus when I asked about it - all the church guys were trying to straighten it out and then the poor manager got involved - ugh, my worst nightmare. I hate making an issue about food at restaurants, ask my hubby - finally Mr. Manager came over and asked me from the menu "did you order this?" pointing to the dish I ordered. I answered yes and he said "oh, ok, Yes. We do not have ravioli today. And we only have this kind of sauce. So, it's ok." Hahaha, I just love it here, how they just thought "yeah, this isn't at all what was ordered, but that's ok, I will just give them this anyway." Didn't bother me, the spaghetti was great :)
Anyway, I am home at last and ready for a good night's rest before a very busy day tomorrow-hopefully the clay will be delivered and we can do the bead-making. If for some reason it is put off until Wednesday, then tomorrow will be more home visits and a few other activities in Korah.
Can't wait to see what the Lord has in store on this Great Adventure!