Monday, February 14, 2011

A Little Gloomy

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.


  1. Again, I'm not meant to be commenting, but....

    Ruth, I am SO SORRY that your court date wasn't successful. And extremely sorry for Geoff being sick. That was ME on our first trip (um, and second!) so he has a bucket of sympathy from me, okay?

    I think you are spot on about giving money - it shouldn't be either / or, but both / and. We didn't give out much money as a rule, but there were some times when honestly, how could we not? It would be crazy not to give money to NGOs, and only give it out on the street. But I would hate to have a heart so totally cauterized to immediate suffering that there was no room for spontaneous giving.

    Hope your trip back is okay, and it's wonderful to see Matthew again!

  2. oh ruth, praying for you as you leave behind a piece of your heart.

    praying that march brings the legal completion of your family.

    wish we could all be at the airport to give you a big hug.

  3. Oh how I wish everyone could pass court the first time. This seems to agonizing. I pray that you will find peace in the knowledge that God is in control and hopefully time will fly for you until your next court date.

  4. Ruth,
    Love reading about your time in Ethiopia. I hope Geoff's Cipro has started to work by now.
    I hope you have a safe journey home and that it won't be long before you are back in Ethiopia.

    I sent you an email but I got a failure notice so I am not sure if you got it.


  5. I know exactly what you mean about Addis getting into your heart. I felt the same way. I still don't entirely understand it.

    Well, Happy Valentine's Day, my friend. I know it's not the one you were hoping for and I'm so sorry for that.

  6. Morning Ruth ,

    I just needed to stop in and say a hello and send big hugs your way as the next part of the journey unfolds.
    Thinking of you and wish I could find a way to just appear on one of your flights and keep you company.
    Much love
    ( who is wondering just where you might be as I type this , over an ocean ? , On route ? packing ? )

  7. praying for you friend..waiting for more than two minutes to respond to your email..but so so glad to get it. praying for the piece of your heart you leave, and happy with you that so soon you get to see matthew. darci