Trip to Soddo – March 2007

I will post a general update soon, but for today I want to add some photos from our trip to Soddo last March. During our time in Addis, we took two days to travel to Soddo, the area that our boys are from. Our purpose in going was to see the area where they were from and to connect with any living family members we could find.

Here are some photos of our trip.

“Look Mom, no carseats!”

We stopped at a grocery store to buy a case of water and some snacks for the road. In the back of the store there was a beautiful bed for sale. The ladies working in the store kept saying, “God bless you” and gesturing toward the boys. They also told us how lucky our boys were to be going to America and one woman jokingly asked if we could adopt her too.

The view from the fenced porch of the Soddo orphanage.

Russ and E. in the Soddo Christian Hospital pharmacy.

E. with one of the most hospitable, lovely ladies I have ever met. She and her family are missionaries in Soddo. We had a typical power outage during our visit.

Walking from the orphanage to the hospital. Cows and other animals graze freely everywhere.

We pulled a drawer out of the dresser to make a bed for E.

These mules were walking down the middle of a street in “downtown” Soddo.

A dreaded “squat toilet” at a gas station. Russ was quite proud of me for using it, but frankly, I had no other option! At this same gas station, an old woman spit on Little Man which is a way of blessing a child, although rather shocking to me.

E. rode much of the way home in a bouncy seat – it wasn’t a bit safer, but it was sure easier on our arms.

Before departing for Ethiopia, we hired a driver for our trip to Soddo. We had heard great things about Yosef and his knowledge of the Soddo region. He seemed to have connections with many people and knew lots of interesting details to make the travel interesting. The day before we left Addis for Soddo, Yosef came by to tell us that he would not be able to take us due to a family member being very ill. However, he promised that Solomon would take good care of us, even driving Yosef’s car. He said, “He will be just like me, only look different.” This did not turn out to be quite true since Solomon spoke very little English and had never been to Soddo, but he got us there and back, so all was well.

The trip to Soddo wass fascinating and we loved getting out of the city and into the countryside. The roads were good for the first part of our journey, but wow, what an experience. Russ has traveled all over the world and has told me crazy stories about roads packed with cars and motos with families of five clinging to them, often with a mother nursing a baby while clinging to the back. The most alarming thing to me was the way that Solomon would pass cars while traffic was coming toward us. It took a little getting used to.
A few memories of our road trip:
1. There were lakes and lush trees along the way, but the most beautiful sight was the mountains as we got closer to Soddo.
2. We learned not to give gifts to children when a crowd had already formed around us. Many of the little villages had bicycle repair shops which basically consisted of a couple of guys with tools set up under a tree along the side of the road. We stopped at one to have some soccer balls inflated and a crowd began to gather. Soon I saw some sweet chi
ldren, so I ran back to the car, which was loaded with donations for the orphanage in Soddo, and grabbed a handful of Matchbox cars. As I began to hand the cars to the children, the men gathered in closer to see what I was doing, and soon they were yelling and holding out their hands for cars too. When they began to grab them from my hands, I quickly dropped the little cars and hopped back into our vehicle. That experience was my only bad moment in Africa. After that we limited ourselves to passing out toys and treats only when we were stopped along the side of highway waiting for herds of cows or goats to cross. The children were so excited and it was great fun to see their faces when I popped a small car into their outstretched hands.
3. We saw an oranguatan on the side of the road.
4. The potholes as we approached Soddo were the biggest I had ever seen!
5. We were told that we could only travel by daylight due to bandits on the highway at night – we took that warning to heart.
To be continued…….


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

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