I know it’s ridiculous how long it is taking us to write about our trip. But the truth is, this day, day four, has been the most difficult to contemplate writing about. It was a big day for us; in fact I would consider it the pivotal day of our trip. Therefore, I’ve decided to break it up and write about our birth family visit separately, so that I can give it the time and focus it deserves without writing an amazingly long blog post.
On Sunday morning, we met downstairs bright and early to begin our journey southwest from Addis to the village where Josiah was born. We enjoyed our time in Addis, but it is a big, bustling city with lots of congestion and pollution, so as we headed out of town we were so excited to leave the city and smog behind us and venture out into Ethiopia’s beautiful countryside.
All my attempts to describe the beauty of Ethiopia seem inadequate, so I’ll just let you see pictures, but even they barely capture the breathtaking landscapes we viewed during our five hour drive south.
Even out in the country, there were always people on the road, walking in groups or alone. Sometimes one or two children would be herding livestock. Whenever we stopped, children would come up to the cars, obviously curious about all of the white people traveling through their country.
Every hour or so we would drive through a different village. We could tell if the village was predominately Muslim by the mosques on either end of town. It seemed that the villages alternated between Christian and Muslim. Since it was a Sunday, when we drove through the Christian villages, we would see all of the people walking home from church.
I was fascinated by the young children that we saw out by themselves. Sometimes they would be guiding cattle, but often they were just walking around, sometimes escorted by their older brothers and sisters, but rarely with adults.
We checked in to our hotel where we would spend one night. It was a pretty nice hotel, by Ethiopian standards, but no running water. Since we were only there for one night, this wasn’t too much of an issue. We were already used to using bottled water to brush our teeth and hand sanitizer to wash our hands. There was a huge bucket of water by the toilet. When we needed to flush the toilet, we would scoop water out of the bucket with a cup and pour it into the toilet until it flushed.
We had only a few minutes to settle in before it was time to load up again to go to the Holt Intake Center offices to meet Josiah’s birth mother.
I am so thankful that Holt arranged this trip for us. If we had left Ethiopia without getting out of Addis, I feel like we would have left without seeing the real Ethiopia. This day was such a blessing to us. This was the day we fell in love with Ethiopia. These images, the children, the landscape, the villages, will forever be close to my heart. I hope and pray that I will see them again.