From Sweet Pea: I just received this email from my parents in Ethiopia, and wanted to share it with you!
It is Sunday afternoon and we are at Dr. Ruth’s house on the Soddo Christian Hospital compound. Our time in Soddo has been filled with so many incredible experiences that we can hardly take it all in. This morning we tried to write down all that we could remember from our travels yesterday,but the details slip away so quickly. We left our computer in Addis,so we were writing by hand and we are not used to that anymore, so it felt slow!
We traveled to Soddo on Friday and checked into the Comfort Hotel, which did not quite live up to its name, but was adequate for our needs. The bare bulbs, roaches (only a few), linens of dubious cleanliness, etc. were a small challenge for me after our journey. I was feeling a little uncertain about things, and when Honeybee found an Ahmharic Gideon bible in the nightstand I nearly cried just seeing God’s Word present with us. We used our fleece blankets and laid them both under and over all of us. We had an extra mattress (foam cushion) on the floor for Honeybee, which made us all a little more comfortable. Dad later told me that when he went to the front desk to request an extra bed, the desk clerk agreed to rent him a mattress for 30 birr (our room was 70 birr) a night. He then proceeded to give Dad his own mattress and told him that he would sleep at his friend’s house.
In the morning we went to the Misrak bakery where we had macchiatos that were incredibly sweet (Dad had to finish mine) and Honeybee had a cup of chai (tea) with so much sugar pooled at the bottom that she grinned from ear to ear. I took a photo to celebrate her happiness. We then went to the market which was an experience like none I have ever had. It was very muddy with scattered vendors and stalls. We were the only ferengi (white people) in the large market, so we attracted a lot of attention, but people were friendly and allowed me to take their photos. I started out with a long lens and got great shots from a distance, but I found that so often a crowd gathered around me and I couldn’t get far enough away from my subjects to get a nice photo, that I switched lenses.
We bought a few baskets, but most of our time was spent buying food – we bought three live chickens which Dad and Heidi carried through the market, teff, coffee, garbanzo beans, and feed for the chickens. It was fun – but took so long bargaining. Thank goodness we had Hanna, our friend from Addis, with us to interpret and bargain for us.
Later in the afternoon we went on our big adventure to meet Eby’s family which involved picking up his mother’s friend, then his great aunt, then his great uncle, and finally a man running along side the van who assured us that he knew the way –the van was full. The distance to the grandfather was very, very far and on extremely difficult roads. We didn’t think we would make it and nearly turned back as it was getting dark, but we finally arrived. We have photos of the entire day. It was one of the greatest adventures of our lives – including nearly hitting a hyena.
I should go now before I lose this email. We love you all and miss you so very much. I am ready to come home – but we still have much more to do in Addis. Please take good care of one another. Honeybee is longing to get home to see all of you; she asks me every day how soon we will leave for America.
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