Friday, June 22, 2012

Ethiopia 2 - My Daughter's Hometown

We took a day trip by van to the town of Assela, where Feven was born.  In our van we traveled with our translator, driver, and the director of Feven's orphanage.  The orphanage director had been in Addis for business, and since we were going his way, he hopped a ride back to Assela.

The traffic was stop and go, and the air was thick with exhaust fumes as we exited the city of Addis Ababa.  This combination did not do well for my often-carsick stomach.  I (embarrassingly) had to ask our driver to pull over once so I could puke.  Thankfully, I didn't, and the brief walk outside helped me to reset my stomach.

Until we arrived in the town of Nazret.

The driver pulled out at a fruit stand to purchase some fruit for the orphanage, and I had to hop out immediately.  There was a cement ditch that lined the street, and I got down on one knee and puked right there, on the side of the street in front of this nice lady's fruit stand.  Other customers were shopping at her stand, and I can only imagine what they thought as this white girl hopped out of a van and puked in the street.  Embarrassing!  But, you gotta do what you gotta do, and I felt MUCH better after that.

Our journey continued, and soon we arrived in our daughter's hometown.  Once in the city, we passed the hospital where she was born.  I snapped a picture quickly as we passed by so we could show her where she was born.

We meandered through the city, and finally came to the orphanage.  It wasn't what I expected, although I don't know what I expected!  It was a strange feeling to step into this place where Feven's journey to us began.

I wonder what it was like the day she was brought to the orphanage.  Was her mother sad?  Scared?  Relieved?  Did she kiss Feven before she turned and walked out the gate?  Did Feven cry?  Was Feven scared that first night in a new place, or did she even notice as such a young infant?  Were the women who I met that day the same women that cared for my little girl in her early months?  Which crib was hers when she was here?  Were some of the clothes hanging to dry on the clothesline the same that she wore back then?

It was like stepping back into time, or walking into a movie.  It didn't seem real to be at the place where it all began.  It was sacred.

I didn't take a ton of pictures there.  I tried to tread carefully, not sure what I could photograph, and what I should respect.  I hope to return someday and bring Feven with me.

While there, we were fortunate to see her birth mother again.  I'll tell you more about that later, but to close today, I'd like to share with you some pictures of the drive to Assela.

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