Friday, June 12, 2009

Bob The Builder

It seems like it has been a little while since our last post, but I’m
not sure there’s too much to tell. I (Kelly) am writing this while I
sit home sick with a bad cold and sore throat. It’s pretty hard not
to go to the orphanages, but it would be worse to expose these kids to
any more germs than they already face every day. So for those of you
that have requested clarification on who is typing, this post will be
written by me (still Kelly).

Friday night was our first trip to the cinema. The popcorn is really
good, and we were pretty excited for the movie Teza. It was written
and produced by an Ethiopian who is now a professor in the States. It
was mostly in Amharic, although a few parts were in English, with
English subtitles. The movie was amazing, although really heavy. It
has a lot of information about the history of Ethiopia and the
socialist revolution, as well as racism and the effects it has. The
movie has left us wanting to know more details about the history of
Ethiopia and what this country has been through. We highly recommend
this movie for those of you that could have access to it in the

Last Saturday we had a pretty fun adventure. The morning started with
me standing in the shower for an hour with shampoo lathered in my hair
waiting for the water to come back on. It didn’t, so I finished with
about half a bottle of water because we were out of that, too. We
decided to go to the top of Entoto Mountain, where there is a museum,
old palace and a view of the entire city. Along the way, we made a
stop at Entoto Market, where apparently all the locals do their
shopping. They had some neat little booths and stores, and we must
say we made out at one earring stop where we all bought a crazy pair
of dangle earrings made from bull horn. We call them our friendship
earrings. A few other good purchases were made, including Kelsey and
Keely’s Addis Ababa fabric for pillow making once they’re home. We
then proceeded to get on a public taxi to head to the top of the
mountain. Keely was talking with the person who takes the money on
the taxi who offered her a deal of being our personal tour guides for
30 birr. Apparently, before we knew it, he kicked all the other
people out of the taxi and was driving us to top by ourselves. We
arrived at the top, got out of the taxi where they asked for their 30
birr. Not sure why, but Keely paid him the full 30 birr as she said
“you are ripping me off.” He hopped back in his taxi and left us
standing at the top of the mountain at the entrance to the compound.
We first headed into the museum where the ticket seller gave us a
little talking tour. There was nothing explaining what each item was,
so he ended up being really helpful. Someone else led us around the
rest of the compound to the church and he old palace. Although the
day was cloudy, it was beautiful and we had a great time. After
leaving the compound, however, we have never felt more out of place
here in Ethiopia. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE (there is a village
at the top of the mountain) were watching our every single move. It
was awkward and uncomfortable as we snapped a few pictures and waited
for a public taxi to pass us by and take us back down.

That night, we met up one of the Americans we had met at our first
week at Beza Church. We grabbed something to eat and bought movie
tickets for what we thought was an action or suspense movie (I can’t
remember the name of it right now…State of something I think). In
this mall with the cinema near our house is also a kid’s version of
Dave and Busters. So obviously with time to spare we had to try a few
things out. We rode on one of those things that takes you up high and
drops you, which was very exciting. We also did the bumper cars. We
have some pretty good pictures from Michael’s camera that we hope to
be able to show you soon. As we headed into the movie, I noticed that
all the previews were Disney and Pixar related. It wasn’t too long
after that we realized we were watching UP. At least it was a good

Sunday we met up with one of the women we met at the wedding so she
could take us to her church. It is a very small congregation, 20 to
30 people, with the service held in a house. The pastor is a man
named Eddie who has lived here for five years but was from Raleigh,
North Carolina. We were at the service for almost four hours and we
were all pretty exhausted by the end. There was worship and dancing
and singing and screaming and praying in tongues and a sermon in
Amharic. Each of us had someone sitting next to us that translated a
brief summary of what the guest pastor was saying, which was nice to
be able to understand some of what was being said. Because the
service was so long, we missed the brunch we are so excited about at
one of the restaurants we frequent, but we’ll plan for this week! The
sound of pancakes and waffles with syrup, omelets, muffins, juices and
more makes our mouths water.

The rest of Sunday was pretty relaxing. Keely and I did a little
internet checking and walked around the little mall here. I
discovered a really great jewelry shop and there is a very interesting
bookstore we spent some time perusing. Keely got two books that I
think she has already started reading. I don’t remember what they
were about…but I do recall her bring pretty excited about them.

This week has been a busy one with work and trying to get things
accomplished. We’ve spent a lot of time at Kebebtsehay and have
started the plans for a new project. We are going to be making three
chairs for the three older (maybe two years to six years old age
range) kids with more severe disabilities. We have them sketched out
and the measurements planned…we even busted out sine, cosine and
tangent to make sure we calculated everything exactly correct. I even
taught Keely the SOA CAH TOA rule (sin = opposite/adjacent, cos =
adjacent/hypotenuse, tan = opposite/adjacent)! Today we should be
getting most of the rest of the supplies. The frames will be made
from metal L shaped bars that have screw holes every 9-11mm. These
should allow for some growth of the kids. We’re using wood panels for
the seat and back, and then padding them with foam that is used for
sleeping mats. We’ll be taking pictures of the process and are
excited to leave something tangible behind for the kids.

Another project that is going well is the jewelry. In fact, they
should be finishing the rest of the 120 necklaces today. I’m going to
head to the office where they’re being made today at noon to take some
pictures. We’re hoping the pictures will help promote the jewelry
sales back in the states.

We were also fortunate to have the opportunity to visit the Mother
Teresa Sediskilo Home on Tuesday. This is a place for the dying and
destitute of all ages. The inside of the compound, walking through
the adult areas, was particularly difficult. The residents were
sitting around outside covered in blankets or laying in their beds
being bathed and cared for by the nuns. These people are dying, so
compared to the alternative of dying alone on the street, this is a
good place to be. There are apparently people that just stand in a
line by a back door trying to get in. They let them in as beds free
up, but free beds means someone has died in their place. The kids
room, however, was much more joyful. There is a play area with some
toys and Kelsey and Rachael did a coloring project. All the kids have
varying degrees of disabilities, but all seemed so happy. Keely and I
were able to observe and work with the physical therapist there who
was trained by some traveling Italian teachers. They have a lot of
really nice equipment here, including wheelchairs for all the kids,
standers, trikes and more. I, however, became the patient at one
point when I felt like I was going to pass out. Not sure what
happened, but after some water, an Odwalla bar and a few minutes of
laying down, I was feeling much better. We plan and hope to visit
here again soon. In fact, there is a wound clinic there on Tuesdays
and Saturdays that although Keely will not be visiting, I think
Rachael and I will. As we were leaving, we all bought bracelets made
by the residents with the Ethiopian flag colors that were being sold.
Because no pictures are allowed in the Mother Teresa compounds, these
will serve as a memory of this place. There is also another Mother
Teresa Home called Oscow, which houses people with HIV. About 450
children and adults make up the population at Oscow. Some of them are
homeless, while others families take them there to get treatment with
the intent of them returning home following the treatment regiment.
According to Rachael who volunteered at the Mother Teresa homes, Oscow
is a much more joyful and fun place. We’re interested in planning a
trip there soon.

Also hopefully on the agenda for us will be to tour some of the
hospitals here, spend some time with the Gladney doctor and see his
routine for the kids check ups, and I would love to be able to help
with the placements of kids with their adoptive families. There are
currently nine families here right now, and since families are
permitted to come every two weeks, there should be another round in
two weeks. We have scheduled our caregiver education program for June
23 and 24, and although we still have a lot to prepare, we have a
great outline with goals and objectives and are glad it is finally in
the books. The caregivers are really warming up to us now that they
are getting to know us better and see that we are here for a longer
period of time. We’ll keep you updated on the program plans as they
come together.

Tonight we’re heading to an authentic cultural dinner, complete with
dancing and music. I will likely be a spectator, considering my
dislike for the Ethiopian food I have had thus far and my even more
dislike of having any stomach sickness. The other girls are all
pretty excited about it, though!

Last but certainly not least, we are in the process of planning a
trip. We’re not quite sure where it will be yet, but we have a few
things in mind. Kelsey leaves next Sunday, the 21st, so if she’s
going to be able to come with us, we have to get things figured out
pretty quickly. We’re hoping to make a decision today.

Okay, so much for not having a lot to catch you up on. And I
apologize for the lack of humor today…my sore throat has rendered me
humorless. Consider this informative.

Thought of the day: Being sick in Ethiopia is lame.


  1. Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that I showed everyone at work your pictures in the slideshow and they LOVED them. Keep up the good work and stop being sick! It IS lame! :)

  2. Hope you feel better soon Kel!!

  3. I hope you get well soon, Kelly. As to the terrible, horrible, no-good shower situation I have sympathy for you. I used to have long, thick hair too and it is a pain to wash, condition and dry even under good conditions. How about braiding your hair into a bezillion rows and seeing how long it stays? Just a suggestions...LOL. Keep up the good work with those kiddies and don't pay for taxi drives in full anymore if you want a return ride.

  4. Looking forward to your next update! Kelly please get well soon! We miss you! Have fun at the markets and stay safe girls!!!

  5. As always, I enjoyed your post. Hope you feel better, Kelly. And, hope that you can take a long shower soon. I was visualizing everything as you described it. Your entire experience sounds amazing.....Take good care. Much love, Mom

  6. feel better kel!!! sounds like an amazing time! i miss you!!

  7. Kelly!!

    Hey girl! I have been reading your blogs for some time now but am just now getting the chance to comment. Your stories are so inspiring. You ladies are making such an imprint on those childrens lives. Kel I can only imagine how irritated you are about the shower situation seeing as how you take like 10 hour long showers a week in the states. haha I hope you start to feel better soon! I will send some nurse prayers your way. :) I got a new job in a med-peds clinic starting this July. I couldn't handle night shift any longer and this is a day shift. yay! The kids who come to the clinic are mostly of the idigent population and yet they still have so much more than the kids you are caring for. (More material things anyways) God is definitely working through you to love those children. They will remeber your kindness, and white girl hair :), for the rest of their lives. Reading your blogs has made me want to do a mission myself and be as selfless as you are. Hearing about the quality of living in Ethiopia overwhelms me with a sense of gratitude for having a loving family and nice home. We are so blessed and it takes a special person to do what you are doing in Africa. Not to mention, you got several shots to be able to go. I will never forget going to the health center with you and you may or may not have cried before your shot. haha I miss you! Your new house pics that Nick posted are so cool! I can't wait to visit CO to see you and Nick! Do you think you can swing by germany on your way home and pick up some of those German chocolate eggs? k thanks! Well I better get going, I am heading to Graeters for some coconut chocolate chip ice cream with a side of hot fudge. jk I love you!!! God bless :)

  8. You're in my prayers Kel!

    Love you! I'm so proud of you!

  9. Keely,

    You don't know SOH CAH TOA?