Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wednesday update from Ethiopia

Wednesday News:

Okay, so we were a little late for breakfast with the boys, but traveling through this city is extremely difficult. We dressed them up real cute, of course Levi wanted to wear his flipflops from us instead of the other shoes, but got no argument from us. We dropped off little Jesse and the nannies were soooo excited, they see him and say “Hab-teesh, Hab-teesh”. He is very popular. He smiled and went with them. We were sad to see him go. Then the mini_bus took us over to Levi’s building. He has no school this week. I knew this might be a difficult moment. We got there and he saw where we were and just looked at us like “what is this all about?” He didn’t want to get out of the car with me. I was holding a bag of his clothes from the care center and he thought I was going to make him take off the clothes we gave him. I had the driver tell him that he could keep his clothes on and that we would be back later to be with him. He jumped out of the car and came with me. He wasn’t really happy about it, but he was okay. He looked very sad as I walked out of the room and wouldn’t wave to me.

Shopping: The reason for dropping them off today is that we are going shopping and it is so insane to shop here. We are shopping for stuff for Kaylee, Isaac and Erin, I know they would love to have us get them some souvenirs. Also, we want to get little “gotcha day” gifts for the boys for the coming years. Something Ethiopian and we can retell the story of this week and talk about their birthplace. Okay, so we go back to our guest house and eat breakfast. It was scrambled eggs and toast. It was good. We jumped in the mini bus and our first stop was to exchange some American dollars for Ethiopian Birr. The exchange rate was 9.1. So, we gave our guide, Maasi, 100 dollars and we got 910 birr. Everything in the stores is marked with little price tags for birr, so if it says 5.00, it means 5 birr, which is really only 50 cents. Then we went to our first shop, it was very nice and Maasi protected us from a lot of the people who see us westerners and flock over asking for money. There was a very persistant map salesman. He started selling his maps for 160 birr and by the time we left was asking only 40 birr. I can’t tell you what we bought, (it’s a surprise) but we got nice things at these shops and the people were very very nice. We went to another shop that had a lot of jewelry and art. Tanya bought a really cool sunhat here for herself. They had clothes too, but sizes are too hard to figure out, so we passed on the clothes. Then we went through the “Merkato”. This is absolutely crazy. There are people everywhere, begging, selling, bargaining, working. The cars are four wide going both directions. I took lots of pictures, we didn’t get out. Maasi said, it is not safe for us to shop here. We understood after driving through. It is bumper to bumper for about 10 blocks in a circle. The diesel fumes were making people in the little buses kinda sick. After Merkato, we went to the soccer stadium because there were shops there and then a supermarket. This was a very nice, clean market that looked just like a little grocery from the U.S. It kinda reminded me of park rapids, MN., because it had a gift shop upstairs. We bought some groceries to have at our house because the boys will be with us and we didn’t really have any food. We tried to buy some of the “teff” flour, but they were out for the day. It was about 12:30 am. The manager said that they would have more tomorrow.

We then headed back to the guest house for lunch. Lasagna was sooo good. They feed us very well here. After lunch, us and 3 other families headed over to the office so we could use the Internet. We got a good amount of time to post to the blog and hopefully we can do it everyday now. After hearing Boppie say that the kids race to the computer in the morning when they wake up, I want to make sure they see something when they get there. We walked to the office and back. It felt good to walk. I wish I could describe the experience. You basically walk on the edge of the street, there are goats on every corner, people following you asking for food and children looking at our white faces and smiling and asking for money or food. It is so sad. But you can’t get any money out or you will be swarmed.

Closing Ceremony: We got back to our place, woke Jaimee up from her nap and got to the guest house about 3:30. We had to be back at the guest house to be picked up for the closing ceremony at 3:45. Well, somehow there was a communication breakdown and the bus didn’t come until 4:40. It was okay though, because we had time to just unwind after a busy day of shopping, share stories with the other families. You can’t get too worried about schedules and time here in Ethiopia. It is not like the U.S. Things happen when they happen, not necessarily on a rigid schedule.

We got to the ceremony about 4:45 and all the children who are still waiting for their families were in little plastic chairs in nice neat rows. They had been waiting there in those chairs for about an hour too, yet they were still sitting there patiently waiting. They weren’t perfect angels, but for already sitting an hour, they were very good! They dressed the children who are leaving with families up in a nice outfit and bring them down all together. As soon as Levi and Jesse saw us, they came running too us. Levi is the oldest one leaving this week, so it was really sweet. Jesse was really excited to see his mama! They take video of this, so I won’t write too much about it, but I’ll give the highlights. They do a handprint on a wall and when it was Jesse turn, the kids all started chanting “Hab-TAH-moo, Hab-TAH-moo, Hab-TAH-moo!!” it was very cute! Mr. popular.

Next,They put all the kids in a circle with nannies in the middle and parents and social workers in a bigger circle around the outside and pray, 1st in Amharic, next a daddy prayed in English. Levi wanted to stand by his daddy, so he left his nanny and stood with me to pray. Then they let Levi cut the cake, He was so cheesy smiling with this great big knife in his hand. The cake was huge. They handed out cake and bottles of coke. Levi drank a whole bottle himself and a big piece of cake, this turned out to be a very bad thing. I’ll explain later. The other highlight was that we got the voice recorder and the picture book back that we had sent back in April. Levi loved that. We could totally tell that he had listened too it. He especially loved Isaac singing to him and Kaylee’s violin. He giggled when he heard Erin singing Jingle bells. He sang along with all the songs, including his mama singing amazing grace.

Dinner: We got back in the “makeena” for a ride to the guest house to eat dinner. This is where the smiles and giggles kinda came to a screeching halt. Levi wasn’t interested in eating, only touching every light switch. We then had a challenging time in the bathroom. He wasn’t hungry due to the whole bottle of coke and cake in his tummer. Jesse, however, ate the pizza like a champ. No one will every believe that this boy was from Ethiopia- He is a tank! We walked back to our place to start the bedtime process. I was a little distressed. We got there and God granted a huge grace. Levi went up to the bathroom and saw where we had attempted the bath the night before and asked Tanya if she would give him a bath!! Amazing!! So, she thoroughly enjoyed scrubbing him up. He was all clean and we managed to get his jammies on, then Levi and walked over to the place with the phone so we could get ready to call Kaylee, Isaac and Erin. We wanted them to hear Levi talk. Levi loved hearing his big brother. Isaac was soo good to talk to him. Levi’s face was a big smile while Isaac was talking! The phone cut out before I got to talk to Isaac or Kaylee or Erin. WE CAN”T WAIT TO GET HOMEEEEEE!!!! It is now Thursday morning here and only one more day until we get on our plane. It is still a whole day’s flying, but it will seem like we are that much closer. We watched a little wiggles, Levi ate a banana and Jesse had a bottle. We started bedtime about 8:25. Levi was still wired from the caffeine and sugar. He had a hard time again, but this time it wasn’t the flipflops. He cried and moaned for about 30 min. Jesse fell asleep hard during this time. Then, Tanya scooped up levi and he calmed down. He was calm from this time on, just not sleeping. He did a big “caca” and had a very gassy tummy. He finally fell asleep around 10. It is now 3:50am and raining cats and dogs outside. I have been up typing for about an hour, so I better go get some more sleep. I hear Jesse up crying. I hope all is okay. Hopefully I can get on the internet to post this tomorrow morning and the kids can read it when they get up!


Anonymous said...

the Nordstrom family has been faithfully checking the comp for updates from the Henn family each day! We are praising God with you for all the great things He has done & is doing! Praying daily. We can't wait to see you all! It will be hard to stay away and let you recup. when you get home! We love those boys already! Can't wait to hug them and get to know them. We love you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the good info & pics you have sent. We are sooo looking forward to seeing you on Sat. The boys are adorable. Can't believe this is all really true. Take care & we pray for a safe trip home for all of you.
Love you all,
Mom Henn

Anonymous said...

Layne and Tanya,

We, too, rush to the computer whenever we can to see if you have posted an update. Mari was looking at the picture of Jesse and asked if it was Ahman. She loves to study the pictures of the boys. We can't wait until we meet them.

You are in our prayers as you prepare to travel home. (We know all too well the mixed emotions of wanting to be home but not wanting to be on the plane!)

We love you guys!

Benjamin, Sherri, Mari, and Ahman

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to write and post the updates. You must be exhausted. But we can't tell you how much it means to keep up with your mission.

We love you guys and can't wait to love on you when you get home.

We pray for strength and wisdom for you.

Love, the Reynolds

Anonymous said...

Henn Familiy-
We are ecstatic to meet your new additions to the family. The pictures are awesome. What great smiles they have. They are gorgeous. It is so crazy to think after all this time waiting that they are FINALLY in your arms. We are praying for a safe return. What a great and awesome God we serve. It has made us realize just how HUGE our God is!! We can't even describe how excited we are in words they are just not adequate enough. What a blessing. We love you and can't wait!! Larry, Chrissy & Kian Geisler