"Well, where do we begin? As many of you know, our trip to Ethiopia to bring home our son, Mekebo James, has seemed like a long wait. Our paperwork was completed in May of 2007, we received the referral for Mekebo December 27, 2007, and we began our travel to Ethiopia on Saturday, March 8, 2008.
Our trip so far has been divided into two different parts: visiting the southern area (the country) of Ethiopia where Mekebo is from and meeting him/getting to know him at the orphanage (they call it the Care Center). The orphanage is located in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa.
We arrived to Ethiopia last Sunday evening after a day and a half of traveling from Madison, Wisconsin to Ethiopia. The time in Ethiopia is seven hours ahead of Wisconsin time, but we didn’t seem to have a hard time adjusting.
From Monday morning until Thursday evening we had a wonderful time touring the southern region of Ethiopia. The farthest south we made it was halfway between Addis (which is in the center of Ethiopia) and the Kenyan border. We had our own driver and tour guide for these four days. It was great because we could ask as many (stupid) questions as we wanted.
The southern region is home to the poorest people of Ethiopia. But the people are definitely not poor in spirit! Ethiopian people are very kind and are very generous with what they have. The culture is amazing here…children are looked over by everyone. Children run in the street with no danger of being stolen. Ethiopian people are very hard working. Even toddlers carry heavy loads on their back or herd animals. The land and roads are shared evenly between animals and people (animals are their livelihood). They make amazing food with the resources they have.
Of course we did some tourist things…we toured through a wildlife park and saw lots of zebra, gazelle, birds (the colors are amazing), baboons, ostrich, and many other unique animals to this region of the world. We saw a lot of lakes (which are used for fishing and bathing) and also a hot spring (Brian burnt his finger…the children gasped as he put his finger in it).
Many of the places we stayed had wildlife outside our doors. Baboons and other monkeys were everywhere! I know that many people in the states think that mosquito nets over their beds are pretty cool looking, but we used them for necessity. Good thing for the malaria medication! I could write a novel about our time in the southern region, but I will continue on with our trip….
AND FOR THE BEST…
Friday morning (yesterday) we met Mamush. Most of you know that his birth name is Mamush Mekebo, but we will be changing his name to Mekebo James Anderson. The nannies call him Mamush with such a loving tone. They truly love him.
Meeting him for the first time was surreal. He is perfect in every way! He has long curly black hair, big plump lips, and eye lashes that you can get lost in. He has little legs with one roll at his thighs. He is 5 ½ months old now and not quite 12 pounds. The doctor told us today that he is in the 3rd percentile for weight. He is our little peanut. He does have chronic ear infections and yesterday we noticed he started getting pink eye (this morning I woke up with a slightly matted eye J).
He is a cuddly baby! He will just snuggle up to you and fall asleep. We heard him cry for the first time this morning. We have been able to spend about 2-4 hours with him each day. On Tuesday he gets to start staying with us at the Guest House. I know that Eli will just love him.
Tomorrow we get to travel to hopefully meet some members of his birth family. That will be an emotionally draining day! On Tuesday we will be going to the Embassy to get his visa. Then on Thursday we will be leaving at 10:15pm.
Mom and Brian are doing well. This has been a great adventure for us and one that we will cherish forever. Thank you to Dan, Sheila, Jacob, Kaitlyn, and G-man for watching Eli. Thank you to Roy for bringing Eli to Lake Mills. I am sure he enjoys time with his papa. Thank you to Matt, Cathy, Noah and Haley for watching Eli this coming week. You are all truly a God send…without you we would not be able to feel comfortable being here. Please give my Ya-Ya a big hug and kiss and let him know that mommy and daddy will be home from Epeopea (that made my day Sheila) soon.
Sorry we have not been able to post much on our blog…I guess the Ethiopian government has some restrictions with blogs. So thank you to Kara for posting this for us. Please keep us in your prayers. We can’t wait to see you all soon!