One neat thing about being a kid and taking a trip to Africa during the summer is that you have a lot of unique experiences to write about for English papers. This is Lauren's first English paper of the school year.
On August 4th, our family sat at the Minneapolis airport waiting to start our trip of a lifetime. We were going to Ethiopia to pick up a little boy and make him part of our family. He was 2 1/2. Our flight was 9 hours to Amsterdam, a 4 hour layover there and then 9 hours to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The flight was, by far, the hardest part of our trip. By the time we got to the airport in Addis, my family and I were all dead tired. To top it all off, we had to wait hours standing in lines at the airport. Once we had our luggage and we were on our way to the guest house by bus and we were very relieved and happy to take a rest.
While driving through the streets of Addis, I was amazed at what I saw. There were many big buildings, but also many homeless people and little shacks. At the guesthouse, it was very hard to sleep because: 1. The beds were very uncomfortable. 2. There were dogs barking all night. 3. We had very heavy jet lag and it wasn't time for us to go to sleep.
The next morning we got to meet my brother. Meeting him was one of the best moments of my life. My brother was one of the cutest kids I had ever seen. His big brown eyes were just staring up at us with a blank look in them. Seeing him in person for the first time made me feel like he was truly my brother and I loved him very much. He was very shy at first but then he started playing with us. We brought a little ball so we could interact with him. We rolled it back and forth with him. After about 10 minutes, he started to warm up to us and wasn't so afraid to play with us. We were only able to spend 1 hour with him, but we got to go back that afternoon. It was really, really hard to leave after waiting so long.
All of the kids at the care center were very loving. They gave us hugs and pulled our heads down to give us big sloppy kisses on our cheeks. All of the little girls loved us and would swarm around us when we arrived.
Throughout the rest of our week, our agency planned activities for us. We got to go to a street market and go shopping one day. We visited a school and the National Museum of Ethiopia another day. Wherever we went, people crowded around us trying to get us to buy stuff from them.
One Monday night we had the opportunity to go to an Ethiopian meal. Everyone in our group sat around little tables with big pieces of Etiopian bread called injera on them. Many different dips and sauces were piled on them. You have to tear a piece of injera off and pick up the sauce or dip with it.
Ethiopian food is really spicy and hard to get used to eating. After every bite, my mouth was on fire and I had to quick grab my pop. The injera is like a spongy, sour, pancake bread. I didn't enjoy the food.
Tuesday we were finally able to get Samson and bring him back to the guesthouse with us. At the care center, they had a going away ceremony for the kids who were being adopted that week. The children and their nannies were dressed in traditional outfits. They came down the stairs while the rest of the children clapped and chanted their names. Each of the adopted children put their hand print, kept at the care center, in a book and received a card from the care center. We were so happy to have Samson, finally, in our arms forever. We were able to spend 2 days with him before we left. He warmed up to our family and seemed to have fun with us.
When we were sitting in the Addis airport Thursday night, waiting for our plane, Samson didn't know what he was up for but I'm sure he knew it was something good.
I learned how much poverty their was in Africa, but I also learned how people can be happy with what they have. God has truly blessed us with Samson. I will never forget this experience.
Thanks for reading,