Overview of Sunday
I have been trying to attach photos forever now. I waited 40 minutes for them to upload earlier and now it won't even go to that screen. So I will first post a message and then try again to add pics so I don't lose my whole e-mail like last time.
So with that being said. It's 11:15pm here in Addis and of course I can't sleep. We spent all day with Robel and had lots of fun. I love it here and don't want to leave. The people are all VERY nice! They enjoy teaching us their language and about their culture. A lot of the staff at Addis View speak little English so be aware when you're at the restaurant to keep it simple :) We haven't had any illness in our group yet except for the occasional vertigo from the altitude. I had awful heart burn earlier because we had pizza for lunch (it was awesome but more on that later) but luckily I brought Famotidine and Tums so that quelched that.
The day started out with us going to church with Robel at in international evangelical church. When they say international they totally mean it! I saw probably every nationality there and the entire service was in English. There was a Christmas play and also a little demonstration put on by a group of Chinese Chrisitans that spoke on some Chinese Christmas traditions then we all sang a Christmas song in Chinese! I have most of it on video I think. The church was very nice and very welcoming. We plan to go back on Wednesday at 6:30 for Christmas Eve service. There were several families with their babies so that was encouraging. A word of caution, the bathrooms at the church had like one roll of toilet paper to share b/w them so be prepared. Also to flush the toilets in some places you'll see little buckets on the ground with water in them. I thought it was for mopping but it's actually what you use to flush. You pour the bucket into the bowl and that pushes the waste out. There are also stand up toilets at the church! I THOUGHT THEY WERE SHOWERS!!! hahahaha but Anna Stager quickly corrected me b/c she'd seen them in France before. Apparently you squat standing up??? I didn't even attempt it :)
After church Robel took us to a lovely little bistro called The Lime Tree. It's attached to a very modern/Western type day spa. We got pizza and it was delicious! I also got the chocolate cake and it was yummy! For a pizza, 2 liters of water, chocolate cake and carrot cake it was $7.80. There's a little book store attached with some small fairy tales in amharic. I bought one even though I have no idea what it says just b/c I thought it was cool and it was $0.70. Most of the books there were more expensive then what you'd get off of Amazon so I wouldn't really recommend buying things there. The bathrooms there also used the "bucket system" in the bathrooms but have lots of TP. There was a large mix of nationalities there as well. Ironically at church Michael and I saw someone from our plane ride from Washington D.C, then at the bistro we saw ANOTHER person from our plane! What are the chances. The Caldwells had an interesting flight let me tell you. I'm sure Rebecca has or will post about it later. If not you'll have to ask her! After lunch we went to a market to buy water in bulk and formula, etc. For 6 two liter bottles of water it was $3.50! GREAT price! BUT the NAN 2 formula was $10.40!!! And it was a smaller sized container. We actually didn't buy any just b/c we still don't know what Ezra's eating and I didn't want to waste 10 bucks on the wrong thing. They say that a lot of mothers b/c of malnutrition and stress that their breast milk will try up by 2 months, and after seeing the price for formula I think that may be one reason that so many babies are abandoned around 2 months of age, b/c they just can't afford it. The market is in a really busy area with LOTS of beggars. Many of them kids and it's so hard to say no no no no no... over and over... they are relentless. But I can see why if you give one money there would be a MOB of people b/c they will surround the car and put their hands in the windows and give you these sad little faces... it's killer. After that we came back to the hotel b/c it was around 4:30pm and most of us were exhausted. I spent most of the afternoon talking with Daniel the bell boy at the hotel. He was telling me that he makes 250 birr a month... that's $25.00! The left side of his face is very swollen and I noticed it but thought it was an old injury or something. Come to find out he's actually got some kind of infection and it's very painful when he eats. It's likely a tooth root abcess but he's only on Cephalexin which likely won't do a thing for it, so I said for him to go to get an x-ray to r/o abcess or osteomyelitis... anyway.. he said an x-ray is about 200birr and he can't afford it. I gave him 400 birr to get it taken care of to get the proper medications. You can imagine his shock when he got 2 months salary in a blink, but what's $40.00 to me?? That's a steak dinner in Fort Worth. So hopefully he'll get the care he needs. Robel was telling me that the low income housing (condo type apartments with 2 bedrooms) are $7000.00 US. You can pay monthly but I think the payment is like $300 so that would be Daniel's ENTIRE paycheck. This is why many people had a communal living type life style to share costs. Also foreigners are not allowed to buy real estate here, they can only lease. The citizens also can not own guns, it's forbidden but the police carry AK 47's. That's why there's little crime Robel says b/c they can shoot to kill. You can take NO pictures of any government buildings/grounds. Also we saw a lovely playground/park today but no children were playing at it. It's very large with wonderful toys/equiptment. Robel said that it was constructed over 5 years ago and has NEVER been opened! soooooo sad..... he doesn't know the reason for that. About the hot pots... I thought a hot pot would be like a crock pot. Well it's actually just a large pitcher that can be plugged in to boil water like you would for tea or coffee. So definitly do like Mel suggested and bring a plastic container to put the boiled water in b/c there's no way you're getting a bottle in there. At the hotel the Machiatos upstairs in the restaurant are twice as much as in the cafe downstairs attached to the hotel. They are only $0.25 in the cafe! And soooo worth it. And I'm not at all a coffee person. So tomorrow is THE day! We will meet at the hotel at 9am then off to the Hilton to meet Rachel and Duni for the paperwork party, then lunch, then FINALLY to the TH. I keep begging Robel to make it 8am but he's a stickler :) He's very easy to talk to and we get along quite well. I keep pressing him for info but honestly he knows nothing about the office side of things. He really is mainly a tour guide and the host. He doesn't know which kids go with which families. Not that I'm complaining or anything, I just wanted to tell you guys so you'll know in the future that spy work is best left for Rachel and Duni. My connection just dropped so I don't know if I will be able to send this through tonight or not :(