Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Day in the Life...

January 22, 2011

Okay, so perhaps today’s post won’t be that glamorous or exciting, but it’s a little insight into our daily lives here in Addis Ababa. 

8am  We usually eat breakfast at this time.  Anything from omellettes, to oatmeal, to pancakes, to things we don’t really recognize, but taste fairly good.

9:30am  Our driver, Solomon, picks us up and takes us to our orphanage, to see our beautiful babies.  We get to spend 3 hours with them each day.  Three glorious hours….

1-2pm  We eat lunch at some restaurant Solomon picks out for us.  He seems to know all the restaurants in the city.  The most we have paid per person for a meal is about $4.  We try to stay in the $2-$3 range, though.

2-10pm  It just depends.  The first week we were here, we were driving all over the place.  We went to internet cafes, we went to Korah, and in the middle of all of it we go to dinner.  Now that we are at our new guesthouse, we will probably drive around a little less since we are closer to everything.

We usually go to sleep around 11pm.  That is a bit early for us night owls, but in Addis Ababa, when you are constantly on the go, it is just right. 

That’s our life here.   We haven’t gone on too many touristy expeditions, but we figure we have plenty of time, so we’ll get to that eventually.

As for our time at the orphanage….we cherish every moment. 
It is a really nice orphanage.  The gate is black with a gold oval design in the middle.  When you walk passed the gate, you step into a stone courtyard.  You usually can’t see straight through to the building across the way because there are about 5 lines of laundry draped in cloth diapers and baby clothes.  When you first walk in, the director’s office is to the left, about 80 feet away.  Beside his office, there appears to be a room for some of the staff.  It mainly just has mats on the floor with blankets.  I think many of them may stay there when they are working. About 30 feet to the right is a room where several children stay.  If you could look straight ahead (without all the laundry in the way, that is), you would see the infant and toddlers building, which is about 50 feet away.  This is where Alex & Eliana spend their days and nights. 

In their room there are about 10 cribs.  They are all connected, and fairly shallow.  I’m always wondering how in the world they keep them in there now that they are crawling and sitting up.  Ah how childcare differs here.  ☺ Not to mention them giving my little boy rice, injera, and lots of licks on a ring pop.  Everything goes in Ethiopia!

We’ve been sitting in the nursery holding them and sitting with them most of the time, but the nannies always take them from us and want to play with them themselves.   So we’ve realized that if we want any time with them at all (they also nap for about an hour or more during the 3 hours we have), we have to take them outside. 

Yesterday I feel like I made real connection with the nannies.  For quite awhile Wes and I sat and went over many different Amharic phrases with them.  We are trying to learn as much as we can during our time here.  They laughed and giggled as we butchered much of the language.  After a little bit, I grabbed a little box of various shades of nail polish.  I sat down on the floor and started painting nails.  Girls will be girls no matter where you are in the world!  After some good girl bonding time, I stepped outside for a few minutes.  At around 11am they eat lunch.  There is one 9 year old girl who stays at this orphanage (this orphanage only has 0-3 year olds) only because her twin sisters are there.  She’s actually getting ready to go be with her forever family in just a couple of weeks (with her sisters, of course!).  One of the nannies said something to her as she started eating her lunch.  Apparently she was telling her to give me some, because she got a huge piece of injera, stuffed a TON of their stew-like food in it, and then proceeded it to hand-feed it to me.  I could barely get it in my mouth!  And then she motioned for the little girl to give me another humungous bite.  At first I told her not too, because I could barely handle the first bite, but she insisted, so I smiled and took it willingly.  It seemed to make them very happy.  Later that day in the evening, we were reading the Lonely Planet Guide for Ethiopia, and it mentioned that when an Ethiopian offers you food by hand, you should never refuse.  It says it is a sign of great affection, and that you should always accept a second bite.  Very cool.  On a side note, our driver hand-fed both Wes and I food today.  I told Wes that next he and Solomon would be holding hands (it is very common for men to hold hands here.  It is simply a sign of affection between friends.)

So ends our first week in Addis.  It has been very pleasant, to say the least.

view from the new guesthouse room


  1. I just stumbled upon your blog. I'm a missionary in the Philippines, we have been here almost 32 years. I'm passionate about adoption, enjoy photography, and am also a serious Wildcat fan (graduated from UK in 1977)so it seemed we had several things in common. I started reading and loved your writing. I am excited for you to get those babies home and start posting photos of them in Lexinton!

  2. Sorry, LEXINGTON! I have been gone for a while, but I do still know how to spell it.

  3. Where are you guys staying? Would you recommend it? Also, a tip for Amharic phrases to learn... I really enjoyed learning some terms of endearment and 'baby talk' I could use with my 10 month old. Yene konjo=my beautifu, Yene mar=my honey, etc. Have fun - please post about the guesthouse.

  4. It's so funny - Angela and I were just wonder about your days. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks for all the lovely details, Nina! I'm loving every second of reading your blog! Brings back so many memories! I'll never forget when our agency's in-country coordinator "encouraged" Nate and I to feed one another by hand at a very nice Italian restaurant. I was SO EMBARRASSED because I had already accidentally knocked down a make-shift wall in the restaurant (another funny story) and now I was going to hand-feed my husband??? Hilarious. But, just as you mentioned, once we found out the meaning behind feeding one another, we were so amazed at the incredible gesture of love such a simple act contains. Have I mentioned that I love the people of Ethiopia?? :) Enjoy!!! Can't wait to hear more!

  6. I stumbled across your blog (and I have cried and rejoiced over your referral video several times on other blogs) and wanted to say hi. I can't wait to hear all about your time in Ethiopia and to see pictures of your sweet babies. We are adopting from Ethiopia as well! :)