We started our morning by going to the Heile Selasie market to buy souvenirs. Noah was not interested in a trip like that at all and chose to stay back at the guest house with the staff while Cindy and I had Ayella drive us. The Heile Selasie market is a no bartering store where can purchase wonderful items made in Ethiopia. We spent a couple hours just looking around and buying. We also made it back to the Weaver’s co-op to buy some more scarves. Funny story: We are in one store where the walls are just covered in colorful fabrics made into scarves and dresses. We are talking to one of the owners when the second owner sneaks in, a small woman with a scarf wrapped around her so the only thing showing is her face. She silently stands behind Cindy for a couple of minutes while Cindy peruses the scarf selection. Cindy turns around right when the lady makes a slight move and it sends Cindy to the ceiling with surprise. She thought the lady was a mannequin and when she moved she startled Cindy so much she screamed. We were all laughing about it when Cindy let out her trademark snort and that just sent the two ladies into doubled over laughter. The one lady with the scarf was laughing so hard she had to turn her head into the fabric to keep her composure. We all laughed for about 5 minutes and when Cindy walked out the one owner smiled at her and said, ‘this is good’…meaning we all crossed the language border with our laughter. It was priceless. Traveling with Cindy is a refreshing…she is quick to have conversations with anyone and can break the ice with a simple smile. I am grateful to have her along this adventure.
We made it back to the New Flower just in time for Mr. Teklu to drop by Noah’s passport and visa. He is officially cleared to come home. Yahoo! After that we drove to the WACAP house for a goodbye party for Noah. We brought gifts for the staff, played with the babies, and had more coffee. Love this coffee! It is clear that Noah was well loved at the WACAP house. They were all very excited to see him and were very sad to say good-bye. They are wonderful there…the have a genuine love for the children. It was a most memorable goodbye. I just pray that someday Noah can come back and give back to such a special place. I also told Mr. Teklu about Hana, the little girl in Nazareth who is orphaned and has HIV. Cindy gave him Mr. Dewit’s contact information and Teklu has promised us he will help Hana. She will have to be brought to an orphanage first and then hopefully will be processed at AHOPE so she can get the proper medicine to slow down the progression of the HIV. Her face will be in my thoughts…her heart and health in my prayers.
Tonight we took Helen out for dinner at a fine Italian restaurant. We had beautiful Ethiopian artwork surrounding us. We even caught a glimpse of one of Mr. Wassi Hu’s art, although Helen swears it isn’t the one and only one who gave Cindy his phone number earlier in the week. We had such a wonderful time…so much laughter…so much conversation. Noah was pretty bored for most of the meal and at one point even called the waiter over to clear our dishes off the table so we could leave. Helen explained to him that was not appropriate and that he is not the boss. He then said if we wanted to continue talking we should take him home so he could go to bed and we could stay up and talk. Hmmmmmm….maybe he is a descendant of the Emporer Heile Selasse as his last name by birth would indicate. So we get home and he gets his pj’s on and is expecting to watch tv tonight. Through Helen I tell him no…he was so tired at the restaurant that he needs to go to bed. Also his bossy behavior at the restaurant to a stranger is reason enough to have an early bedtime without the reward of t.v. He was truly sorry when he saw how disappointed I was and actually hugged me and said he was sorry..in English. I’ve got my work cut out for me…but deep down he’s a great kid.
So it’s my last night in Ethiopia and I have been changed forever. I LOVE this country, it’s people, it’s landscape. There is so much love among the people. Yes the poverty is overwhelming…yes their government is beyond corrupt and anyone you talk to will tell you as much…but I love this country and the people at the grassroots level who are trying to make a difference. I have been touched…by the families who were with us at the New Flower…the staff at the WACAP House…Mr. Teklu…Helen…Mr. Dewitt…our driver Ayalla…Wassi Hu : >)…a little girl named Hana…the beggars on the streets…a two month old baby at AHOPE with HIV…a little boy I am bringing home to his family forever… I am changed.