Friday morning bright and early we embarked on our journey to Ethiopia. We flew from Portland to Dulles where we spent the night and met up with the rest of our team. I got about an hour and a half of sleep Thursday night and maybe close to 3 hours on Friday night. I was very well prepared for some sleep on the long flight! We got all checked in to Dulles bright and early with our 800 plus pounds of luggage!
Our team connected right off the bat and before we knew it, it was time to board the giant bird to take us to Ethiopia! We were very excited when we got on the plane to realize that we all had empty seats between us which is best case scenario when you have to be on a plane for 13 hours!
Even with my lack of sleep the night before, I still chose to take a sleeping pill. And after it didn't do the trick, I took another one. I think I was able to sleep a good 9ish hours of the flight (off and on interrupted sleep) but still not so bad. Even with sleeping 9 hours, the last 4 or 5 hours REALLY drug on. It was very exciting to cross back over into Africa and my Ipod turned over to Waving Flag (a song written for African soccer) right in that moment, which I thought was pretty cool!
In perfect style, the sky started to lighten just as we crossed the border into Ethiopia and we got to watch it rise as we descended upon Addis Ababa!
I am pretty convinced that I will forever be emotional as we land in Ethiopia. There is just something magical about stepping on the ground that is my son's birth country. It's forever a part of our hearts and lives and we love it as a home away from home.
After working our way through all the steps to get out of the airport, we were on our way to the guest house. The Ordinary Hero guest house is incredible! If any of you are traveling to Ethiopia, I highly recommend checking it out and they also offer free accommodations to families who are there for adoption! Our room is huge with 4 beds and a kitchenette and bathroom. It also has the most amazing view of the city!
After about an hour of getting settled and eating some breakfast, we were off to a church service. Now, at this point we had been up for a very long time. We were fading fast. Fortunately this was the most liveliest church service I had ever been to (I have video, but can't post it on spotty wifi) so that kept us awake. Kelly also knows better than to let her teams stay for the sermon or else they will fall asleep, so after about an hour of worship we were on to the next task!
We stopped off for a buffet lunch and we were quite the group. It was great to get to spend the day with a wonderful group of young men from Hope for the Hopeless!
I of course made some friends up in the baby rooms!
We also have the privilege of being here during Timkat (epiphany) today. This is when Ethiopian's celebrate Jesus' baptism. All around the streets everyone was dressed in their traditional attire and there were parties everywhere and decorations all over the streets with decor!
After visiting the orphanage, we came back to the guest house. A few of us decided to rest while some of the team trekked down the hill to see some of the neighborhood kids who play soccer. This photo is looking up at the guest house from down in the field.
All in all today was a great start to what I know will be a fabulous week! I already feel like I have been more engrossed in Ethiopian culture and the people than we were the entire week we were here to pick up Malachi. Hopefully will be able to continue with more stories soon if the internet allows!