|Sunday 15th July - Ethiopia - Addis Ababa (Day 3)
Today we found the International Evangelical Church and went along for one of its two English morning services. The church has services in English, Amharic, French and Korean. The service we attended had about 500 people at it. The girls happily went along to Sunday School in separate classes. We enjoyed the service and the worship it was good to be back in church again.
It has began to dawn on us that we do not fit the usual stereotype of Ghion Hotel guest. There are lots of families staying here, but they are all here to adopt Ethiopian children. At breakfast we counted 9 separate Western families with Ethiopian children. We have been asked three or four times if we are here to adopt the assumption is that we are. There are adoptive parents here from Spain, Germany, Ireland and the USA. We have spoken to a few of them and it is very touching to hear their stories and see them with their children. Some of the babies being adopted are very small the youngest we heard of was 7 months old, but some look younger than that. There are other families who are adopting older children we spoke to an American couple who have 3 children back home 5, 12 and 14 year olds and are adopting another 3 from Ethiopia 5,6 and 8 year olds!
Our children are really enjoying the company of the other kids at the hotel especially the 4 Irish children who are staying in the room next to ours. The children are Lena (8 ?), Tomas (6), Lydia (4 years old and adopted from Ethiopia as a baby) and Maria (10 months old, just adopted from Ethiopia). The girls have loved sharing toys with them and going to the playpark together.
The begging in Addis Ababa can be very hard to deal with. When you stop at traffic lights on some of the main streets people start knocking on your windows asking for money. Some of the beggars are children and the standard line from them seems to be No mother, no father, hungry, give me money. Other beggars are deformed, cripple, blind or stooped over. It is heart-breaking to see, but we have decided not to give directly to beggars. For many years we have supported relief organisations such as Tear Fund and Oxfam. We believe that these organisations are best placed to direct money wisely. Of-course it is particularly difficult when Keziah is sitting watching and asking Whats wrong with that lady mummy?, I think they are asking us for pennies mummy, What did that little boy say mummy?. We are trying to bring up our kids to be generous and kind and then they see us saying No to beggars.
We try to explain as best as we can, but I hate that whole experience.