Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reflecting on our Court Trip

We have been home from Ethiopia for four sleepy days. I still have to pinch myself to believe I have a four year old daughter. Is this my life, or am I dreaming?
I have been dreaming at night of Ethiopia. The sounds and smells and Merhawit and Soli. It has crept into my soul, this place and her people.
It is hard to describe the assault on the senses. There are people everywhere in Addis. I mean everywhere. A sweet burning scent hangs in the air, as does the harsh smell of sewage. And it is not quiet . . . honking, constant honking. 5.5 Million people live in this city. The roads are shared with goats, cows and donkeys.  Poverty is every. where. you. look. The whole city feels like a shanty town. And in comparison to where I live, it is. But, here is the deal . . . the beautiful people of Ethiopia have different priorities, it seems. People mean more than things, relationships more than being on time for appointments, deep caring more than looking professional, and pleasing someone means more than making sure you are paid the exact amount for the time you put in. I saw it all in action. And to be honest it was . . . humbling.

There are so many pictures, so many stories
Our amazing driver (now friend) Solomon (the one who cleaned up my kids throw up) showed us nothing but pure love. His words stick in my head, "As you like" "We are family, no need for thank you" When Aidan was sick he deeply cared for him, driving us from pharmacy to pharmacy to find the right medication. He told Aidan to sit by him when I wanted him to sit by the window in case he needed to throw up. Soli said he would just catch his throw up and toss it out the window because he wanted to sit by him and comfort him. He called our room late that night to check on him. He told us to call him in the night if we needed him and he would be right there.
Solomon translated for Merhawit's birth mom, Soli held our little girl and told her in her language (that no one else knew) that we would be back for her. Soli was our advocate. He made our trip. I know the Lord provided Solomon. And what sweet provision. He made us laugh. I will never hear Johnny Cash again without thinking of Soli. Eight straight days. It was my husbands dream come true.

On our last night in Addis, Solomon took us all to the outskirts of Addis and we sat in his car from 9:00pm-11:00pm waiting and watching for Hyenas. Who does that?? I know for a fact that wasn't part of what we paid for, but that wasn't why he did it. He did it because he cares for us and he wanted more than anything for my kids to see Hyenas. Ahhh, the sweet heart of sacrifice . . . I know he would say wasn't a sacrifice at all. "For me, I swear, it is no problem." And when we said goodbye at the airport there were tears in his eyes. (And ours as well)
Soli and Josiah

The receptionist at the hotel called the night Aidan was sick, too. Just to check on him. I waited for her to say something about our room, or a bill we owed or anything, but nothing came . . . just concern for our son.

When the housekeeper saw that one of my children was sleeping on the couch, she immediately ordered an extra bed to our room at no extra charge. When I objected she said, "This couch is not comfortable for your baby to sleep on." That settled it.

Greg gave one of the housekeepers the equivalent of $5 and she literally bowed to him in gratitude.

The waiters in the hotel restaurant, the housekeeper, the doormen were all sad for us to leave. It was like they were saying goodbye to family. Hugs, blowing kisses, genuine sadness.  

It was all so odd, in such a beautiful way. I know their culture is different than ours. And I know we have it good here in America. But I can't help feeling that something is missing here and something is found there . . . and money can't by it, and things don't provide it. It is way deeper than that. I think Soli said it best when the beggars came to the window, "God will provide for you."  Do we have to know that here in America? I wonder if these sweet people have to know that and believe it? And is this why they can so freely give of themselves? 

I don't know the answer.

The view from the back of our hotel

Greg gave snacks to the kids who lived around our hotel. 

As often as they could Josiah and Aidan would go to the back of  the hotel and play soccer. 

The view from a window in our hotel

More reflections coming.

1 comment:

  1. Lydia, your vivid descriptions take me right back there. How I love that city, that country, her people.

    Hopefully we'll both be back soon to bring our children home.