Thursday, July 09, 2009

Gotcha Day! Part One: Getting There

"Our son woke before the sun and was ready for the day. Josh succumbed to the morning shift as I had taken the night shift. They listened to the silent city slowly wake. It begins with a distant rooster, and them some passing cars, followed by sporadic honking; soon the city is alive with sound.."-Journal entry, July 9th, 2008

By the time I woke up the sounds were alive. We couldn't help but peek out onto the streets, wishing to see Addis by daylight. We now began to meet the staff of the Cozy: The young barista who ran the coffee shop made us great coffee which was much needed following our breakfast of jerky and granola bars. Unfortunately she didn't speak much English, though it was leaps ahead of our Amharic. It was very apparent that she was taken by Ollie. As we sat at the table and enjoyed the cool morning, the manager David arrived and greeted us. Then his wife. Both were so kind and hospitable. Also to make our acquaintance was Rudy, the house monkey. Rudy was shy but crazy and very entertaining. His favorite person seemed to be the young guard who often gave him scraps and played with him through the cage.

A man came into the compound and talked to David. Then to us. He was about our parent's age, warm smile and a nodding bow. He introduced himself as our driver, Sasalwi.

We sat and passed the time. I was told NOT to call the Lawyer before 9:00am. It was coming very slowly when David called us in for a phone call. "Could you be here in 15 min?" OF COURSE!! Let's go!! After a short conversation with Sasalwi, the man who would be our driver, and a few final gulps of our coffee, we were headed out of the compound. We hopped into a light blue old Honda and were finally on our way.

The first time to see the city of Addis was a mix of "just as I had expected" and "like nothing I could have imagined." It was alive. There was nothing stiff or disjointed about the way the streets ran. No street signs, very few stop lights or crosswalks, and yet it seemed to run better than our streets. It was as though they didn't have to be told what to do...everyone just knew.

"The sights were just as I expected and yet nothing could prepare me for the immensity of the scene. Everywhere there are people - walking, sitting, begging, selling, hurrying, loitering. Each one who meets our taxi lets their eyes pause of the "ferenge" I feel weird: trying to hold my camera at an unnoticed position, wondering if I should take pictures at all. I put down my camera and try to take mental notes: a stick lumber yard, Glass shards fixed to compound walls, a mechanic hammering sheet metal to a beat and broken hood. Poverty. Smiles. Staring faces. The shops in the front act only as facades for the rows and rows of "houses" winding on behind them in narrow, never-ending alleyways. Like a maze. Occasionally I can peak through and alley into the mazes of lives living there. On and on it goes." -Journal entry, on the way to see Noah

We were yet uncomfortable with where we were, yet already we were finding ease with Sasalwi.
We asked questions about this and that and he answered them willingly, happily and honestly. "Should I take pictures here?" "What is that building?" "What is prompting all the new construction?" He had an answer (and an opinion) for most everything.

We pull over to the side of the road and S. dials a number. Soon our lawyer, Sintayew appears at the gate and after greetings and introductions, we enter his office. It is a very nice, very clean two story office. We walk upstairs and are shown into a room which I recognize from pictures. Wow...this is really it!

A lady comes in and we are offered drinks. As much as another cup of coffee calls my name, I
sigh and ask for water. Ollie still needs to be fed more than I am giving him and I know coffee won't help the situation. Josh gets some though. We talk awhile with Sintayew as he gets the papers in order, and then it comes time to sign them. We see a new picture of we hadn't seen...stapled to his paperwork and the feelings of longing to know all the sides of his face return in full force. Let's just get this over with!

As Josh fills out the rest of the paperwork, Sintayew takes a moment to talk with Ollie, making kissing sounds (as everyone here seems to do). All of a sudden, Ollie lets out his first genuine belly laugh...then his second...then his third. I guess the "kissy kissy" sound works!

Papers are finished and after a call to the orphanage to let them know we are on our way and some instructions for the embassy meeting. We head back downstairs, say our goodbyes, and find our way back to Sasalwi who waits by the car with the door open. As soon as he sees us, he pops up, does a quick nod, helps us to our seats and runs to his. "to orphanage?" he says with a big grin. "Yes! to the orphanage!"

To be continued...

1 comment:

Becky and Naing said...

Jody, thanks for sharing this.