Saturday, March 17, 2007

Activities from the Third Day in Ethiopia

Unpacking the Trip – Part 5

On the third day of our trip to Ethiopia we set off mid morning to go to the Hilton to swim. Entering the grounds of the Hilton was like entering an oasis with the lush vegetation, stonework, staff, shops, etc. The kids had a grand time swimming. We are not sure if they had ever swam before since there was a little initial hesitation. Once they got started, however, the splashing and laughing were almost non-stop.

Above is our friend and his little guy jumping into the pool with K.D. in the background.

When we left the Hilton, we told our driver that we would like to get lunch. He said OK and we were off to who knows where. He took us to "The Cottage". We were a little nervous when we walked in about whether our kids' behaviour would mesh well with the linen tables clothes, nice dishes, and flower vases on the tables. It ended up being a great place to eat and the Ethiopian waiters were kind and accommodating (even down to removing the vase of flowers before it ended up falling over again). It was fantastic to have such a great driver who would just choose for us a restaurant that he knew would be appropriate. The meal was excellent, but it was a little more expensive. The bill for the four of us was $13.

We did a little more shopping before returning to the guest house and had a chance to sit down and have some machiato (coffee) and shai (tea) for about 15 cents a cup.

When we returned to the guest house, our friend watched our kids and my wife and I went to AHOPE. AHOPE (AFRICAN HIV ORPHANS: PROJECT EMBRACE ) is an orphanage for HIV positive children who have no family or friend options for their care. Starting in 2004, AHOPE has been able to have access to ARV medications for the children that they have in their care. Having heard so much about this place, it was a real blessing to be able to actually visit and to deliver some over the counter medications and other supplies that we had brought from America. I will post more about this visit later.

Bedtime on the third night was heart warming. The kids thrived on knowing the "routine" we had been establishing the previous two nights. They took a lot of pride in knowing where to put their dirty clothes, how to brush their teeth and the like without us having to show them. It was obvious to us from the quiet dreamy smiles on their faces as we tucked them in that deeper bonds were already beginning to grow.

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