It's our last full day in Addis. And it's Valentine's Day. I'm rather sad about both of these things.
I'm sad that it's our last full day in Addis because this city has a pull on me now that I hadn't really considered that it would before we travelled. A big part of that pull is the fact that our children are near. This being the country of their birth and early childhood, there will always now be a draw for our family to this country. The pull is more than about our children, though. As I mentioned yesterday, there's something about Addis that has sucked me in. I haven't quite figured out how to identify what the pull is about. If anything, the poverty combined with my innate desire to avoid confronting the harder aspects of life should repel me from wanting to be here. Indeed, it is something that I find very difficult. But there's so much culture here, so much history. And there's something about the tenacity of a people who survive in this environment that increases my respect for them.
The family that lives behind the metal fence just below our window characterizes this tenacity. This family works hard. Every morning, they wash themselves and their clothes and their dishes in an old basin or two with water that they have pulled in via jerry cans; they wash the floors of their oh-so-humble homes/shacks and sweep the dirty, dusty, broken concrete outside; they fix the broken, corrugated metal fence surrounding their home despite the fact that it's only a broken, corrugated metal fence; they sort lentils and build fires at least once a day over which they cook their food; they scrub their hair and comb it out in preparation for the day; and after all of that work, they still love to wear white clothes, in complete defiance of the dirt and grime that will coat it by day's end. Everything that needs doing in order to survive, they must do manually. It is a true struggle for survival and they do it with poise and dignity. How can that be anything other than tenacity.
I'm also sad that it's Valentine's Day. In the preparations for our trip, in our hopefulness about court, I realized that, should we pass court and complete a trip to their birth region, our trip to the Transition Home to greet our legally-authorized children would take place today, on Valentine's Day. I loved the sentiment of that, and packed valentine's day stickers for them, etc. But that's not to be this year, and I'm so sad that it hasn't worked out.
So, I'm indulging in a little bit of self pity at the start of this day. I'm looking forward to heading home tomorrow, mostly because it means seeing Matthew, but I leave a piece of my heart here...and a couple of hours south of here, in the city of Adama.