Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day One, Addis Ababa

We arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Monday afternoon to a very different atmosphere than the one in Dubai. The simply decorated airport was full with women greeting each other in their high-pitched sweet voices, crying as they embraced loved ones. Immediately I was reminded that I am in the homeland of my children, and couldn’t help myself from searching the faces of these people picking out features that seemed similar to my children in the few pictures I have seen of them. My heart seemed to be skipping beats as I mentally checked off the days, hours, and minutes that I might finally meet them. We quickly arranged our visas and paperwork with immigration and were soon driving the streets of the capital toward our hotel. River initially was skeptical and a bit nervous after what felt like a dangerous cab ride- weaving in and out of the many people who were shopping at the street markets along the way at high speeds. The atmosphere was a bit of a shock for us all as well- the initial visuals of people in a country where poverty is such a real issue is definitely a hard thing to process. Despite any hesitant feelings we may have had, we quickly headed out the door and were exploring the city by foot. Wow, talk about feeling like we were under a microscope! It was great to be able to experience what I am guessing many foreigners experience back in the rural areas of the States- a constant stare of ‘who are you, what are you doing here and where are you from?’!! I decided to make the most of the attention, and soon was greeting people with the typical smile and ‘selamno!’ (hello!), and ‘indemenalek?’ (how are you?). This went well, and soon we were feeling the warmth of the Ethiopian culture.

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