Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 9: Happy Birthday Baby G!

We have been really lucky to meet lots of wonderful (and wonderfully interesting) guests during our stay.  Katia and Jonathon were here for a week, and we were able to witness them becoming first-time parents to the sparkly Baby G, which was such a privilege.  Another privilege?  Being able to celebrate his first birthday with the family!  Courtesy of the guest house, we also had a traditional coffee ceremony to accompany the difo dabo and cake.  And hey, Sisaye managed to avoid burning herself or scalding anyone!  Success!

But before the celebration, we tagged along on Jonathon's trip to the Hilton that morning.  Lots of smiles:

The kidlettes explored the grounds, including "two basketball goals!" and the kids' play area.  We were also checking out the fees to use the pool, but unfortunately, I think it's a bit out of our price range.  We'll be checking out other hotel pools soon.  We had fun making new friends with several children who had recently been united with their Italian families.  The kidlettes were thrilled with the generous sharing of Italian "biscuits."

I had a thought-provoking conversation with two Ethiopian gentlemen who expressed concern about "some" Ethiopian families wanting to receive information about the children they had relinquished "after their economic positions have improved."  I was never able to get clarification on why they believed only families with improved financial circumstances would want to receive updates on their children.  When I questioned if they meant families in that position would want their children to rejoin their families, the gentlemen were adamant in saying, "No!  They would just want to know the children are doing well.  Ethiopians understand that the adoption choice is permanent."  Obviously, I don't agree with that blanket generalization, but I wish I had been able to get a more nuanced explanation for why they believed improved circumstances would correlate to a desire for updates.  Maybe there's something cultural I'm missing?  Or maybe they're just making a discriminatory and unjust assumption that anyone with a lower socioeconomic status must by necessity not care about the well-being of their children?  As I said, I was unfortunately unable to get any clarification on their position, and the conversation left me with more questions than answers.

So after that weighty conversation, we headed back to the guest house for Baby G's celebration.  We had a fantastic time.

After the celebration, we took naps and then headed out to join Katia, Jonathon, Julie (Baby G's godmother and Sisaye's "best fwend"), and some staff from their agency for a cultural dinner at the Hebir Hotel.  Much to our delight, we discovered that the Hebir has an indoor play facility, which costs about $2 per child for two hours of play.  Hooray!  The kidlettes had a fantastic time playing until it was time for dinner:

We don't usually play on coin-operated machines (I didn't want to go down that path in the States, lest they start begging for the treat every time we pass one), but the coins were included in the $2, so what the heck?  Also, there was a giant blow-up jumping thingee (you know, the kind you see at fairs and can rent for birthday parties?), but they deflated it before I had a chance to snap a photo.  We will definitely be storing this indoor play area for future rainy day entertainment.

The kidlettes had an absolute blast at the cultural dinner, and I have to say that I enjoyed the Hebir's dancing and food much more than the Crowne Hotel (where we've been twice before).  Dinkeneh and Sisaye danced for about 30 minutes straight.  Fun!  A note on the photos:  I am pretty bummed that my camera doesn't do a better job in low lighting.  I'm sure that my camera allows me to change the settings, but I have absolutely no idea how to do it.  If anyone knows a simple online tutorial for using a camera's settings, I'd appreciate the help.

Sisaye Claire joined in the dancing, along with another little girl:

Sisaye also made friends with the restroom attendant:

Sisaye Claire has developed a passion for photography on this trip, so she made use of the camera to record her own memories of the night.  Two of my favorites:

And where was Dinkeneh during the latter half of the show?

As you can see, it was a very busy, fun-filled day, and we were all pretty wasted by the end of it. 

1 comment:

Brenna said...

Looks like you are all having a wonderful time! Makes me ache for beautiful Ethiopia.

I had a thought ~ perhaps the men you talked with were saying that Ethiopian families were interested in getting updates after their children were adopted and the child's "economic situation improved", rather than meaning after the Ethiopian family's economic situation improved? Don't know if that was at all what was meant, but that thought occurred to me as I read about your interesting conversation with them.