We arrived in Addis Ababa (the capital of Ethiopia) on Thursday at 11:35 a.m. It was a great time to arrive, the airport was pretty empty. If you have traveled to a third world country before than you completely understand how much of a blessing it is to arrive to an empty airport. We arranged to have a couple (Cindy & Paul from Indiana) from our travel group (our travel group consisted of 8 families adopting 7 infants and one toddler) pick us up at the airport. We rented a van for the afternoon and dropped off all of our bags at the guest house. Then we were off to explore.
My first impression of Addis was how overwhelmingly poor it was. We have been to several third world countries before, but never have I even seen such poverty. It was heart-wrenching. We first went to Ethiopia Reads, it is an organization that builds libraries throughout Ethiopia. They even have traveling libraries that, and I am not joking, are pulled by donkeys through the villages. It is a great organization and I plan on supporting them in the future. I will find their website later and post it on this site.
Next we went shopping. Shopping in such cities is always a little overwhelming. Basically you will be followed by a crowd of people trying to convince you to buy from them and then a crowd of children and/or disabled people begging for change. I had to keep my eyes forward just to emotionally handle the situation. Andy loves to barter, I do not. So we had a agreement, I pick out what I want, he barters for it. We didn’t quite master that our first time out, but by the end of the week we mastered it! Following shopping we ate dinner and then went to the guest house.
Arriving at the guest house we were welcomed by our first power outage. Andy and I went to our room only to discover that we had no outside window. After finding lamps and candles we unpacked and then heard stirring in the halls. Our next members of the travel group arrived. Carrie & T, the scientists from Wisconsin arrived. We brought out some more candles and got to know them better. We took a tour of the guest house, and at 8:30 p.m. the lights came on. We sat around until around 10:30 p.m. waiting for the rest of our travel group, but then finally gave up… it had been a long day of traveling and we are meeting our babies the next day, sleep sounded much better!