Thursday, January 27, 2011

One from Nina, and One from Wes...

January 27, 2011

Nina's Post....

Have I mentioned that the weather here in Addis Ababa is AMAZING?!  I mean seriously, it is like 70 and sunny every single day.  If there were some beaches, clear blue waters, and hula skirts, I’d think we were in Hawaii.  Okay, so I’ve never been to Hawaii, but I hear the weather is pretty amazing there too. 

Actually, today was crazy windy.  And with the dry climate right now, we had to use our camel instincts, and use our eyelashes to protect our eyes from the blowing dust.  This brings me to a traveler’s tip for those of you coming to Ethiopia during this time of year (pretty much any time but rainy season which is in July & August).  Our Ethiopia program director suggested it to us, and I’m going to pass on this jewel of advice:  Bring some Saline Nasal Spray (we brought Simply Saline).  I woke up with a bloody nose one night because of the dry weather.  Yuck. 

Wes and I decided to do some more exploring today also.  We visited the Friendship Mall and a bunch of grocery stores.  Can somebody tell me why there is NO sugar in any of these stores?  Anyways, as we walked down Bole Rd., we had about 50 people ask us for money.  This is the norm here, and it is very difficult at times.  I have experienced the same thing in India & Nepal.  In Nepal, I would see the same people every day ( I lived there for 4 months), and they would still either ask me for money or offer to sell me hash.  I said no to the hash every single time (duh), but no matter how many times they saw me, they never really saw me.  This is what’s difficult for me.  I know I am a white face, which usually indicates I come from a wealthier country, which makes them hope I will give them some of my wealth.  Granted, I am not here to say that we are not wealthy compared to many Ethiopians.  We are.  There’s no denying that.  What’s difficult is knowing that I can’t give to every person who asks.  Over the years I have learned you really have to use discernment when giving money to people.  And sometimes, you give even though you have no idea whether or not you’re being scammed.  Many people say you shouldn’t give at all, because it only encourages more poverty and cycilical begging.  But I don’t necessarily agree with this.  Not EVERY person who asks for money is a scam artist.  Not EVERY person that says they are hungry is being hired by some slave driver who gets all that money.  Sometimes it just doesn’t matter because  it is not your responsibility to figure out the motives behind every request for help.  You never know when you might be entertaining angels in disguise.  Also, God doesn’t ask us to give to the poor only once we know what their level of poverty is, or how sincere their request for help is….He just asks us to care for the poor. 

This doesn’t mean I think you should always give.  Believe me…I’m not saint.  Sometimes I can get fired up.  Like today for instance….as Wes and I were out exploring the city, a guy started walking next to us and talking to us.  I knew from the very beginning of the conversation where it was going, but it was hard to brush him off before he got to the end of his spiel.  He started out by telling us where he was from, and how he makes little money, and that he thinks Americans are the most friendly and giving people, and that he is glad we are Christians because he is too, and finally…..after about 15 minutes of talking our ears off as we are walking toward the Friendship Mall….”Can you give me 100 birr?”  Ugh.  I knew it was coming.  This was not one of those instances I felt led to give.  Instead I was ticked off.  I stopped walking, looked him in the eyes and said, “Let me tell you something.  If you want to be friends with Americans, you don’t start out by asking them for money.  It will only tick them off.”  Ooh I was angry.  I know….I’m not always Nice Nina.  ☺  Please don’t judge me too harshly.  You really do get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of Nina here.  Hope you’ll still keep reading the blog.  ☺

Wes’s Post...

Today was the first day that I have felt at ease in Ethiopia.  Just being at the orphanage was so comfortable.  Alex ate for me...well kind of…I still had to shove most of the food in to his mouth while he is wiggling everywhere (he was in a Bumbo seat but he just can’t sit still).  Ha.

Nina and I walked down Bole all the way to Friendship Mall, which was about a 20 min walk.  It was refreshing…ahh all that thin air and pollution….  It really was a good walk. Nina and I always walk to get around in every country we have been to, and it is just how we roll.

The longer we are here the more I realize that this is a chance for me to revisit spiritual highs and intimacy in Christ.  Most of us climb spiritual mountains and get the edge of cliffs and we have this desire to jump.  There is a call to dive recklessly into complete surrender to Christ for our lives and trust him for everything; Deep calls to deep.  We do this many times in our lives, because our flesh and desire draw us to the rocks below, but after we hit the bottom we can dust ourselves off and start the climb again.

Here is a poem I wrote today to express this desire and dream in all of us.


I’ve been to this precipice before
I’ve closed my eyes and pondered the leap

The memories of weightlessness flood my mind
As the reminiscent flutterings fill my chest

I salivate slightly,
Remembering the taste of sweet air rushing over my face

I inch nearer to the edge
Pushing pebbles and rocks, unwillingly, into the depths below

Again I move closer till my toes hang over

Raising my arms outward
Stretching my fingers as far as the will go

The gusting wind blows my hair and clothes like an obedient flag
Whipping around the pole

For a moment everything stops

My breathing slows
My Heart is barely beating
I take one last deep breath
Bend my knees
 A deafening silence rings in my ears

Then like an Olympic diver, I spring forward
Soaring Hundreds of feet above the impending ground

It is not until now that I remember the pain of smashing into the rocks

I smile

Maybe this time I will make it past them
Maybe this time I will Fly

It is every Jumper’s Dream


  1. Hi There! I am a new follwer to your blog. It's honestly a very long story how I found your blog...I started watching your updates on youtube and then finally googled you...I swear, I am not a stalker! LOL, sure sounds like it though. All, I wanted to say is that this journey that you are on to bring your babies home is so amazing. God is so faithfull. Thank you for sharing your story. I pray that everything goes smoothtly for you and that the rest of your trip, goes smoothly~

  2. I will keep reading your blog, Nina. Promise. :) Oh, and I meant to ask you before you left THE COUNTRY, but are you all planning to leave Addis at all? Like go south about 3 hours? :) Just let me know if you do.... :) Man, I can't wait to see pics with the babies!!!!!!!!

  3. So fun to read... you guys have such thoughtful posts! I just can't wait to see the faces of your little ones. This has been quite a journey, hasn't it?

    Keep up the words:)


  4. If you want to give and have it matter to that person, by them food if they are hungry, but if its a bag of chips, make sure you open it so they can't return it for money. If you open it, it means they will eat and enjoy. In India, I had mothers asking me to buy milk for their babies. How do you say no? I learned the hard way you have to open the containers to ensure the milk will go to the baby and not be returned for money. Love your blog. Can't wait to see the babies! Congrats!

  5. Nina, that guy didn't actually want to be your friend. He just wanted the money, LOL. You gotta give him props for being so enterprising, and really, taking the risk of talking you up. He lost. You got pissed and blew him off. Here are a couple of ideas: Buy a few books of meal tickets and hand those out - there's a place on Church Hill that does this program, keep a pocket full of 1 birr notes for the elderly beggars, kids, and disabled on the streets, keep a bag of bananas, mangoes, or avocados with you that you can hand out instead of money.

  6. Nina I am proud of you and what you did will NOT make me stop reading your blog. There is good and bad in all and yes, you want to be friends you do not ask for money or anything in the beginning. You seen the bad but I know you will see the good it others.

    aka TA

  7. Definitely encourage and brought to tears multiple times reading your blogs Nina... your story is truly inspirational and I am praying for you all... so grateful for your relationship with God and your husband's input as well. Loved the poem. Hang in there guys! You will be home in no time! - Stacey

  8. I really wish I could help you with the sugar issue. (I completely relate to the whole post, but that's the part I can't get out of my head =). I found something like confectioner's sugar in Friendship grocery store at Friendship Mall, but it wasn't quite worth the purchase. Our guesthouse had little cups of sugar in our rooms by the coffee makers, so I ended up using that a couple of times. As crazy as it sounds, one thing I kept searching for was pickles... There is tuna everywhere, but no pickles to make tuna salad (and olives just don't quite taste right)....

  9. I hear ya, Nina. I still wear the six metal bracelets Minu gave me because she was one person who really saw me. I get patted down at every metal detector but it's worth it to be reminded by the clinking metal that we're here for people like her (& she's here for people like us!).