And…we were off to the Care Center again this morning to play with the kiddos. We stopped on the way to buy bananas for all of the kids. Our driver just pulled up to the curb in front of a fruit stall, told the gentleman what we wanted, and he handed it through the window to us.
We had a wonderful morning! Achole is beginning to show her personality. Braxton was able to get her to smile and giggle! Neni has quickly figured out how to use Craig’s Iphone. He took a gazillion pictures and 2 second videos of all the kids. He laughed (or giggled!) the entire time. He even started posing the other kids for his pictures. We have learned Achole does not like to be dirty or have dirt on her toys, she loves balls, and she loves to cuddle up. We were able to get her to smile very easily while we were holding her, but as soon as we handed her off to a nanny to leave, we couldn’t get even a slight smile. Neni is quite an artist (he drew a 3-D car, a very detailed person and house), is a huge helper (he took the balls that some other kids smeared mud on to the water spigot to clean it off), and has figured out technology super fast!
A huge highlight of our day was being invited to our guide’s family home for a meal. We were extremely honored to be a guest in his home. His mother prepared the most amazing meal for us. It was truly THE BEST Ethiopian food we have ever eaten! Braxton ate until he nearly exploded – more than I’ve ever seen him eat! She also roasted coffee beans and made coffee for us…it’s quite a process to make coffee the proper way. Once again, Craig and Braxton were in coffee heaven. Thankfully, Fekadu knows I’m not a fan of coffee so I didn’t have to drink any. Jordan and I even got to see the stove his mother makes the injera on. Fekadu and Joel have become our wonderful friends.
We spent the afternoon shopping. We went to the Hilton to try to find a nativity set (but were not successful). We then went to see the Merkato, the largest open market in Africa. It was absolutely unbelievable!! Our guide said it was not safe for us to shop there so we just drove through it and were in awe. The market is set up in sections (electronics, car parts, food, spices, dishes, clothing, etc.). Within each section, there are MANY small stalls selling the various items. It was so crowded with people walking and other vehicles…and a few donkeys and cows being scooted through the middle of the cars.
Driving in Addis Ababa requires an adventurous, dare-devil spirit! There are only a few stoplights in town. Every other intersection is crossed by just pulling out and making your own way…every man for himself! Drivers must dodge other vehicles that are within just a few inches, people walking every which way playing a game of human Frogger, along with cows, goats, and donkeys. It is amazing that there are nearly no accidents, although we did see our first one today. If you are stopped long enough in traffic, beggars and people selling their wares will come up and tap on the windows of your vehicle. The video camera cannot even come close to capturing the experience. The exhaust from the other vehicles is sooo overwhelming. I am really looking forward to a breath of fresh air! The streets are lined with small stalls selling anything you might need -- car parts, clothing, fruit, meat (slabs of meat hanging without refrigeration), shoes, etc.