Alan, Jayde, and Alan's parents (Avery and Barbara) arrived safely here in Ethiopia on Sunday morning. We went straight to church and then lunch at one of my favorite places to eat in Addis Ababa, Top View restaurant.
I don't know when I have been so thankful to see someone in my life as I was to lay eyes upon my husband and oldest child.
I'll tell you about our activities this past week, but I can't share it all at one time. Traveling with newly adopted children is not all sunshine and roses, let me tell you. We had many tantrums, yelling, and tears, but I'll try to keep those details to a minimum and give you the good highlights.
We'll begin with Awassa.
Awassa is about a 4-5 hour drive south, depending on the weather and road conditions, from Addis.
As we drove down, we stopped for lunch at Dreamland Garden Restaurant in Debre Zeyit. It had a breathtaking view of the lake. We braved the chilly weather (it's hard to chew correctly when your teeth are chattering) because we wanted to sit on the deck overlooking the water.
The view was worth the goosebumps!
When we arrived at Lake Awassa, we checked into the Haile resort, owned by the famous Ethiopian marathon runner, Haile Gebrselassie.
The next morning our driver, Ishmael, took us to a park. When we drove in, local boys were waiting with bags of peanuts that we were able to put in our hands and hold out to the monkeys on the ground waiting anxiously for a treat. They ate right out of our hands. The kids thought it was amazing, except for Paulos, who was terrified of the small creatures and would not leave Daddy's arms.
These are black-faced vervet monkeys and they would get mad if you put an empty hand out.
This is as close to feeding a monkey as Paulos got:Then we moved on to Colobus monkeys. Wow- was it cool to have monkeys climb on your head! At least, this is what my children tell me. I did the picture taking, not the participating.
We stopped in front of a common tree here and a hut to take a picture.
Moving on to these large, ugly, storks. Their menacing looks made me glad the local boys were throwing out fish and I didn't have to touch them.
Putting on life jackets, we all climbed into a boat to begin our half-hour ride across Lake Awassa.
Ready for hippo hunting:
I have proof that Grandma and Grandpa went along with us!
The lake is beautiful with mountains in the background.
Our E-toe-pee-uh (as the locals pronounce Ethiopia) flag was flying.
What is that sticking up out of the grassy area? Yes- a hippo!
One came up right beside our boat and scared me with it's loud snorting. Hippos, along with crocodiles and buffalo, are reported to kill the most people in Ethiopia every year. They could have easily turned our boat over.
We had more adventures around Awassa- stay tuned for the rest of the story!
Today I am thankful for: family visits, candy sent from home, and a special card from Kelley with instructions to open when I needed encouragement (it was perfect timing, Kelley-thank you).