Finally, we got up to dress and prepare for our day! On a humorous note, Pat thought she would investigate the Ethiopian-style bidet. Just as she was saying, "How does this thing work?" she squeezed the handle and sprayed herself in the face! I was rolling on floor laughing!
There were three Ethiopians with us, Mulu, our host and a social worker with Holt, Ciyun, our driver, and another gentleman who also worked with Holt and just needed to travel down to the South care centers. Then there were the three families: Me and Pat representing our family, Emily and Steve, and Liam and Melanie. The van was large enough that we had room between us and felt quite comfortable. Heading out of town on the main road, we saw people already out, sweeping and cleaning the road or just walking to their place of work.
|Sunrise over Addis Ababa|
|Herding cattle along the road|
|Local residents on their way to church|
|Our group having our first rest stop|
Finally, it was time to go. We all piled back into the van and then...the driver couldn't get it to start! Soooo, we all piled out again and started walking up the street. Apparently seeing white people is still unusual enough that most everyone stared at us as we walked by, friendly though with some offering a greeting or a welcoming gesture. We crossed a deep ditch and turned on a narrow dirt road with shacks lining it. A pair of mothers with their children saw us and smiled. One little girl, brightly dressed in a yellow African dress, came up to Pat and said "salem", the word for hello (meaning "peace") and shook her hand in the Ethiopian tradition with the left hand at the right elbow and right hand extended. As we crossed the ditch and began the uphill climb to the Care Center, she fell in beside me and offered me her hand to hold. It was so endearing, but frankly, all I wanted at that moment was to see my Joseph and hold him.
We turned right one more time and a few yards up and on the left was the Care Center compound. As the gate swung open and we stepped inside, we were greeted by a whirlwind of a boy hopping from foot to foot and calling out something in Wolayita language, who was unmistakably Joseph! His smile was radiant and his expression clearly said he was thrilled to see us. I couldn't have imagined a better reception!
We took off our shoes and were given some "indoor shoes" to put on and then we were ushered inside and joined Joseph on the floor, where the doctor and a nanny introduced me to him as his mommy. I pulled out my bag of toys and let him discover them while I peppered the doctor with questions. Joseph kept trying to stow everything in a small box and couldn't make it all fit, so finally I gave him my little backpack so he could keep it all in one place. His nanny kept teasing him that she wanted to have his toys but he was clearly insisting they were his. I asked, through an interpreter, if he would sing me a song. He didn't want to sing but he offered to pray. He stood up, folded his hands, closed his eyes and prayed. The doctor told me afterward that he had asked the Lord to bless the guests and the time there. Wow!
As I showed him his photo album of our family back home, I said Jack and Beth's names and he repeated them so quickly and his pronunciation was excellent! I think he will pick up English very quickly.