Sunday, May 24, 2009

Unreliable generators lead to LONG blog posts

So many things to tell, and we promise, we tried to tell you sooner!
So we don’t have electricity three days per week. The days rotate
between parts of town. Yesterday, there was no power in our
neighborhood. There is a nearby internet café that was using a
generator though, so we stopped in and Keely had written a really long
blog post. Then all of the sudden, the generator ran out of gas and
turned off…along with our computers, so we lost everything. It was
funny-frustrating and it was getting close to the time that we should
usually be home by, so we figured we would follow up today. I’m
turning the reigns over to Keely to re-create her post to catch you up
on the last few days.

1. We got in to Addis at 4:30 a.m. and they lost Kelly’s box of toys.
This is yet to be recovered.
2. Our house is very nice. We have three bedrooms, a kitchen,
bathroom and living room. In anticipation that we are getting two
more roommates (which we are), Kelly and I have bunked up, sharing the
queen size bed. Don’t worry, there is plenty of closet space. And
neither of us really toss and turn… so maybe a little creeperish. But
it works!
3. Kelly doesn’t like bugs. Keely kills the bugs, but only if they
threaten Kelly or are in the kitchen (including the refrigerator).
Keely doesn’t let Kelly kill the bugs with the bug spray she
purchased, because Keely is afraid it will not only damage the
environment, but lead to her own death by asphyxiation. Kelly thinks
she is very silly. The jury is therefore still out on bug killing.
4. We have a cell phone. Sometimes the network doesn’t work.
5. We exchanged some of our American dollars on the black market for a
great rate (sorry dads…but it was legit (well actually, not really)
because all of the other Americans do it, too). The black market
exchange rate is something like 1 USD = 13.3 birr.
6. Yo’ Mom. Ha, our “guide’s” name is Yemeum. Phonetically that’s ya
mum, like yo’ mom. His unofficial duties include but are not limited
to: introducing us to everyone, teaching us how to use the very
confusing taxi system, bargaining at the Mercado, helping us buy good
fruit, laughing at us try to speak Amharic and basically being one of
the most generous and gracious people we have ever met. We love him
and are so glad he has got his eye on us. You will definitely hear
more about him in the future.
7. Which leads me to the fact that we are basically the only white
people (see quote of the day). Most Americans/Brits that come to
Ethiopia are coming to adopt a child. We met an Irish couple at one
of the orphanages yesterday who are adopting a baby girl. But they
are so wonderful and are spending full days at the orphanage sharing
their love with all the babies.
8. Walking down the street in Addis, at any given moment one has the
potential to see: 500 cars and taxis, 1000 Ethiopians walking on the
street, 17 shoe stores side by side, a herd of goats, 3 mules, 1 bull,
a movie theatre, an internet café, 7-8 restaurants, one blind beggar,
and several people sleeping on the street, oh and that is what you can
see through the smog (and you will hear, about 20 dogs barking).
Welcome to Addis ladies and gentlemen! Its got character that’s for
9. We had our first (and second) maciados today… the Ethiopian coffee
drink of choice. (And even though neither of us are coffee drinkers,
we like it--- possibly because the ratio of sugar/cream to espresso is
about 3 to 1.)
10. We took one of the coldest showers of our lives (I know it was
Kelly’s cause I could hear her gasping for air and groaning throughout
her entire 7 minute shower). Now that we know how to work the hot
water heater…. It won’t stop whinning us.
That about catches you up on our settling here in lovely Addis. But
the good stuff is really still to come! The following will be the
highlights of our time at two of the government orphanages and the
children we are already pretty crazy about:

Kababitsahay (we will get back to you on the spelling of that!): This
orphanage has primarily younger children. All of them are under the
age of 12, both boys and girls. There are about 20 under the age of 3
years old. We have SOOOO many plans for this place.
1. There are definitely 4 children that we will be working with 1 on 1
and developing treatment plans for. HOPEFULLY, we will be able to
give you some pictures to see these beautiful kids and you all can see
the progress they make in the next few weeks.
2. We are going to put on full day classes for the caregivers to teach
them things from general hygiene, positioning, feeding, infant/child
massage, sensory integration and a whole host of other things. We
have lots of support from the director of the orphanage and can’t wait
to get these programs started!
3. We are also going to do play groups of 3-4 similar aged kids and
work on developmentally appropriate play, movement and peer

Basically the last two days we have been holding lots of babies and
playing with kids and doing a very VERY general physical therapy
triage to see what kids are in the most need of our services. We have
done some positioning to get the more involved kiddos out of their
cribs! Also, just a lot of observing of the lay of the land
currently of how these kids are taken care of. What we do know is
that they all love to be held and cuddled. It is heartbreaking to let
go of one even if it is to pick up another.
Kelly already has her favorite!! She melts at the big eyes and even
bigger front teeth of a little girl. Nick, don’t be surprised if you
use that second bedroom even sooner than you expected!!

Kechene: This orphanage is for older girls, 12-18 (there are about 60
of them) and also young children under 12 (boys and girls). There were
even two itty bitty babies here, one of which was found on the street

When we got here today, three 2-year-olds came running up to us saying
“mama mama.” Talk about gut wrenching. There is one girl here, about
11 years old who we are going to be working with one on one. And then
we are basically going to be doing all the above things as well.
With the older girls, we have jewelry items for them to make things
with which we will bring back to the United States and sell (So save
your money for some Christmas presents folks!) And we are also going
to have short “care-giver” classes for these girls as many of them go
on to get jobs as cargivers at Gladney or the government orphanages.

All in all these orphanages are filled with beautiful children, but
the malnourishment and poverty is extremely evident. With limited
governmental funding, there is not substantial money to properly feed
the kids. There is not enough diapers or shoes (even ones with holes)
for all the kids. There are not sufficient caregivers for the number
of children leading to very limited personal interaction and boding.
And don’t even get us started on the flies!! There are a few kids
that are notably sick and we have already got the ball rolling on
getting them to see a doctor ASAP.

We will leave you with this: our first of many cries for help. We are
so happy with all the support that we have had from you all our
friends and families so far. But there is so much more to be done.
Kelly wants everyone of you to just go ahead and adopt and child!!!
And that would be awesome. But for all of you, please consider
supporting Gladney and Superkids as these agencies support these
orphanages honestly and with the highest integrity. For them, it
really is about the kids.

Quote of the day: “Did he just call me Barbie?” So the story goes…we
were walking down the street and these two 20 something guys walks
towards us. One of them looks at me (Keely) and says something in
Amharic. At which point I giggle and turn to Kelly and Yemeum and
say…: “Did he just call me Barbie?” Laugher follows (but I was
actually serious!). We asked Yemeum what he actually said, and he
declined to say the words…. but I don’t think he called me Barbie.

There you have it folks. We realize this is super-duper long. But
there are so many details we left out already. We can’t let this much
time pass between posts! Thank you for all your support and prayers.
We take the love of all of you with us and share it with these kids



  1. I say let Kelly kill the bugs and let her use the bug spray, but just use the bottle to kill them. That way she still gets to use it but doesn't create any asphyxiation..... What do you think? :)

  2. Keely-the-giant-bug-killer! That's your new name, unless I come up with a better one before you come back. I like your guide's name! Yesss! my kind of guy!

    The orphanages sound kind of depressing, except for the fact that their are beautiful children there.. You guys HAVE to take pictures!

  3. Kelly, kill a bug or two. It might be cathartic. Keely, you are a little, petite Barbie doll.