Thursday, March 21, 2013

2013 Trip, Day 9 (Lori)

Monday morning, we loaded up all of our stuff and said good bye to the staff at the guest house. We were off to visit Kind Hearts where our other sponsor child attends. Fikre, Zellalem, and the new driver Joe picked us oup. We stopped by the bank to exchange money, bought Addis tea, 200 bananas, and 200 mangos. The bananas and mangos cost 840 birr, about $44 in US money. Can you imagine buying all that fruit in the US for that amount of money? We then continued our journey to Kind Hearts. It had rained the night before. Some of the dirt roads were mud pits. I can't believe that we made it there without getting stuck. When we arrived at Kind Hearts (another care point center), where our sponsor son Yibeltal is, the kids were smiling and waiting for us. They were all lined up and holding a poster that said happy birthday Benjamin on one side in English with our date and one side in Amharic with their date. Ethiopia is one of the only countries that do not follow our calendar system. They have 13 months and are 8 years behind us. The kids sang a happy birthday song to Benjamin in Amharic. They also sang other songs to all of us. It was very sweet and touching. A true reminder as to why we were there. We handed out treat bags filled with hacky sacks, granola bars, and pens. While Myndi and Carey loved on the kids and passed out the fruit, Benjamin and I took a walk with Yibeltal and my aunt and uncle's sponsor daughter. We sat with them and talked to them. We gave them each a care package and recorded them getting it and having their letters translated. Yeibetal kept saying I love you mom. They were both so excited. When he saw our family picture he was able to name everyone in it and remembered us from our visit 2 years before. Aunt Shirley's sponsor child also remembered us. Her mother and little brother also came to the center to visit with us. It was a great visit with some really great kids.

It was soon time to leave Kind Hearts. The kids were holding our hands, hugging us, kissing us, and saying I love you. What a great way to end our trip and a great reminder as to why we came to Ethiopia! To plant seeds, share God's love, and to give hope to these wonderful kids. We made one stop on the way back to the airport at a sports store. Benjamin finally got the Ethiopia jacket that he had been wanting all week. He saw it in the post office shopping area, but they were trying to sell him an adult XL. If you know Benjamin you know the adult small is much better (even though it still has growing room). Carey found an Ethiopian soccer jersey to wear as a running shirt. We were then off to the airport.

Once at the airport, we thanked Fikre and Zellalem for a wonderful week and headed into the airport. We made it through the intitial screening and check in with out any problems. We walked around the airport and sat down for lunch. We soon headed to our gate. It wasn't long before we were told that we could board because we had a child with us. We had a good flight to Dubai. As we were deboarding, they told Benjamin that he could sit in the cockpit with the pilot since it was his birthday. He was wearing the captain's hat and I took his picture.

We then made our way through the airport in search of visas and our hotel vouchers. We kept getting sent in different directions. Benjamin and I had to leave the airport while Myndi and Carey stayed at a hotel in the airport. It took us almost 2 hours to get out of the airport and to our hotel 10 minutes away. The night drive through Dubai was really neat, the buildings were all interesting to look at and lit up. We arrived at our hotel which was very nice. We checked in and headed to our room for bed. We walked into our room, there was one small light on, and the rest of the rooms were dark. We tried all of the light switches, checked to see if the lamps were plugged in, tried the lamp switches. We could get no lights to turn on. I was so frustrated. So back down to the front desk we go. I asked the guy at the front desk, why we have no lights. He tells me to use my key card. I looked confused, he walked us to our room to help us with the lights. He opened our door with the key card and then proceeded to place the key card in a slot in the wall. He told me that this ensures that people don't leave the lights on when they leave the room. That this is how they save elctricity. I now know what else to try if flipping a switch doesn't work.

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