Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 3

Today was a busy day.  This morning Natalie and I went to the Shola market with Wide (pronounced Wi-day), the cook for our guest house.  Here is a picture of Wide - she is very sweet and has been helping me with my Amharic:
 The first order of business at the market was to find pots, pans, and plastic bowls, etc., for Bring Love In's guest house, which has now officially been named Selah Guest House.  Wide tried to negotiate prices for everything, but every time the people in the market noticed there were white women with her, they raised the price and Wide would not buy from them.
Finally, Natalie and I separated from Wide so she could get some deals. :)  I purchased a traditional Ethiopian coffee service to take back to America.  I would like to purchase another one at some point (one for each of our boys).
At the spice section, I purchased some Ethiopian spices to bring home to try my hand at preparing ET food for the boys later.

Here is a picture from the market.  I must tell one story of my ignorance.  Injera, an Ethiopian staple, is made from a grain called Teff.  I wanted to purchase some to bring home and show my family what it's made from, so I went to a stand and asked to purchase 5 kilos.  I received a thorough scolding from the woman running the stand because she insisted I needed to have it ground into powder to make injera.  I tried to tell her that I didn't intend to use it now and that in America I have a grinder.  She didn't speak English and I didn't speak Amharic.  Finally she let me buy the teff.  She charged me 85 birr.  When I brought the teff back to the van, Wide shook her head and began to tell me that I could not use that teff because it was not ground.  Once again I tried to explain that was okay.  Then she and the driver asked me what I paid for the grain.  I told them 85 birr, and they both began laughing at me.  They spoke rapid Amharic, then the driver turned around and informed me that if Wide had purchased the teff, she would have received 100 kilos of teff for 85 birr, not 5 kilos.  Thankfully that was only around a $5 mistake in American dollars.  From now on I will try to have someone with me to bargain for food.

One of the other stands we went to was a dressmaker.  He makes traditional Ethiopian dresses by taking measurements.  I picked out my material, he measured me, and then I will come back in about a week to pick it up. 

After the market, we drove to two stores to get other food items.  They happened to be located right next to Kaldi's coffee.  It's the "Starbucks" of Ethiopia, and it was delicious! 

After lunch we visited the boys again.  We were allowed to walk them to the local stand to buy a soda.  Both boys chose Coca-cola.  They are so smart!  They already fit in with their momma.  :)
Aren't these beautiful feet?  The boys have been playing soccer with crocs or barefeet.  I am excited to give them the tennis shoes we brought once they come to live with us.

A lot of learning is taking place on my part on the other side of the world, away from my comfort zone.  Two things I have learned so far are:

1)  Clean is relative.  When things are "clean" here, they may still be "dirty" by American standards.  Roads are dirt, mud is everywhere and there are only scattered patches of grass that people have planted on purpose in front of the nicer homes, like our courtyard.  There is dust and smog in the air, making Addis appear grey all the time.   There's a layer of dust over everything, inside and out. 

2) Water is a precious resource.  It is to be used sparingly.  The guest house is on city water and you can not drink it.  People bathe in it!  We drink bottled water only, even use it to brush our teeth with.  Showers are nice to have but the hot water heater is plugged in before we use it and then unplugged after to conserve electricity.  The water is either very hot or very icy, so you get in, splash some water on, throw some soap there, then spash off.  Then every few days, the water goes out.  At this point, the water has been out for two days.  What do you do when the water is out for two days?  You use a baby wipe to clean your feet so your sheets have less grit, use bottled water to brush your teeth again, wear your hair in a ponytail because you can't wash it, put on lots of deodorant, use hand sanitizer after you use the restroom, and plug your nose when you enter the bathroom. 

Tomorrow we are taking the kids swimming.  It will be the first bath since Sunday night!  No soap, but at least they'll be clean.  We are bringing a bit of redneck to Ethiopia.  You southerners know you've bathed in the pool before, right?  Admit it.

Today I was thankful for:  coffee, bottled water, baby wipes, and "Y" calling Alan "Daddy" without being prompted for the first time. 

Bring Love In received it's first child today.  Go to www.bringlove.in to read about it.

1 John 3:16-17, "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.  But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."


  1. this needs to be a book one day sweet sister in law. I love it. oh how much richer you all are becoming by the day. In love, learning and laughter. I can't wait to see your new dress. I am so proud of your obedience and sacrafic. You never looked more like Jesus than right now! You were made by Him, For Him, For others!! love aunt becky

  2. Dawn I am so glad to read about your adventures daily. So proud of you and Alan and the children. God is soooo good!!!
    Love you