The Beginning of Firsts
How can I describe the past 36 hours but time passed laughing, crying, celebrating, hugging, sadness, exhaustion.. I haven’t laid down in over a day and a half now…as we filled our final day in Addis in Starlet, Helen’s car. She wanted to take us to a coffee factory for a tour as well as take us by one of her favorite shops. Starlet is a cute car by Addis standards but you are still taking our life into your own hands when you close the tin can doors of the blue Toyota hatchback. As Cindy said, she hasn’t got the shifting down so that makes it just about as nerve racking as it gets…especially when she stalls out at a major intersection or when a 1962 VW bug passes us on a steep hill because she forgets to put it in 1st gear. An adventure and laughs to say the least. Helen insisted on taking us to her favorite bathroom in the city…she goes there all the time when she is out and about. We crossed the poverty barrier that are the gates of the Sheraton Addis and treated ourselves to the luxury of actually sitting on a toilet and using toilet paper from a roll, not a wad from our backpacks, and washing our hands with liquid soap and not Purell. You honestly don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. : >) After the Sheraton we drove to the Hilton to check in at the KLM office for our flight out later that night. We had a nice tour of the coffee factory and have walked away with a great appreciation of what goes into a single cup of coffee. The labor alone…amazing.
We treated Mr. Teklu and Helen for lunch at the Aladdin after the factory tour. Once again we had good laughs and good conversation. Mr. Teklu is such an amazing advocate for the children of Ethiopia as is Helen. I can see a great future of them working together for the children of their country.
Helen and her staff had a final coffee ceremony for us before we left for the airport. We gifted her with a book of the origin of coffee…Kaldi and the Dancing Goat…as the night before she attempted to tell us the story but completely botched the whole thing totally confusing us and leaving us in hysterics. We figured a book with the real story would keep other guests from being as confused as we were. : >) We gave the three ladies on staff scented candles and Solomon, a gentle soul of a man who really was such a positive male for Noah this week, a tool box I had picked up before we left for Ethiopia. I knew somewhere in Ethiopia there would be a man deserving of a set of tools and Solomon was that wonderful man.
Mr. Teklu and his driver took us to the airport around 7:30 pm. It was a very bitter sweet goodbye and I don’t think Noah really understood that this was really goodbye until we were at the ticket counter and tears just began to stream down his face. He realized that the wonderful kind Mr. Teklu would no longer be on this adoption journey with him. It was a sad realization for all of us.
We met up with Melat, Jennifer, and Tigist for the final step of this journey to bring Noah home. They flew with us to Amsterdam and are continuing on to Seattle on a separate flight. In the past 24 hours Noah has encountered many firsts…his first backpack…his first plane ride…his first escalator ride….his first moving sidewalk ride….his first drink from a drinking fountain…his first ice cube….his first listen to Rhianna, Coldplay, Madonna…and he has smiled his smile of amazement with each and every moment. This long long day is just the beginning of an amazing journey with Noah Musse Barclay.