Friday, January 23, 2015

Field Days

As homeschoolers, we are associated with an international school for resources, accountability and community. The annual, 2 day event that most kids look forward to is school wide field days. Rural families come in for the event in Addis Ababa and we have been here, talking it up to The Littles because they do not like eyes on them. (We hope to leave for Injibara on Monday, prayers are always appreciated for safe and uneventful travels.)

The older kids do track and field events while the younger do races and obstacle courses.

After much conversation and the lure of a treat, the girls both did two races today. They felt so worried they wouldn’t win and Jon and I so emphatically told them they didn’t need to that they were very confused and asked, “Wait, are we not supposed to win?”  

Our family focused on Bible verses about "finishing the race” and “perseverance”. :)

The moment of truth arrived, their first race, which we hadn’t practiced involved them in two separate heats, racing down the field with a bean bag balanced on their hand.

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Little J starts down the field, at a brisk walk.

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Tonight I asked her, “What were you thinking in this picture?” She responded, “I was just trying not to cry”.

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Little A did the race next and a look of grim determination fixed on her face, bean bag balanced, eyes on the finish line.

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The girls with Charlotte after the relief of their first race was complete.

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Homemade donuts and mango popsicles!

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The next race was the 50 meter, I love this shot, at the start, you can see the boys on the right coming out of the gate, Little J is making a forward motion and Little A just stands there.

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J looked back and then A fell in behind her and that is how they finished the race, in very last place but Jon and I met them at the finish line as if they had just won the Boston Marathon. In our family, in this high pressure situation with lots of eyes, in a relatively unfamiliar place, THIS. WAS. A. BIG. DEAL. 

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We watched lots of other races and cheered on friends as we mutually decided that two races could be enough for the day. 

Tomorrow there’s more but today I am a happy mama. They crossed the finish line! 

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(The Littles aren’t crossing in this pic) 

We joked that Jon needs to chase them tomorrow because when they are running away from their daddy, they would pass everyone. 


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Timkat Press Pass


Today is Timkat, which is an Ethiopian holiday that you can read more about it by clicking on the link, TimkatWikipedia. I wrote about it last year on the blog and again, we are in Addis Ababa for the big celebration.

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There are workers starting the parade by rolling out a red carpet and running the rolled up carpets from the back. The women swept before the people came.

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Waiting on the street...

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This little girl was serious about her drum...

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Can you find the three boys seriously into their dancing?  :)

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And then Little J and I were called into the crowd to ask if we could do a short interview. We were taken directly in front of the main tent where the ark of the covenant replicas were held.

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We had earlier noticed news cameras but now were in front of them.

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He called back to Jon and Little A who joined us for our little interview. 

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After the interview, they invited us into the heart of the action to take pictures. Jon made the wise decision to take the girls to the perimeter and I pretended like I was a news photographer, only with no idea what to actually photograph. The priests would point me in different directions. “Here, move this way, you can really see!”  

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It was so great to be able to mingle among the priests with their amazing umbrellas and see up close what was happening.

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Dancing processional

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These three men held the tabots on their head.

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Two priests

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The man on the far right is swinging an incense burner.

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I finally wiggled my way out of the main circle as I felt a bit out of place, but as we so often experience in this hospitable culture, people were so sharing and glad to teach foreigners a bit more about their cultural celebration.

Today the music is still pounding outside as there is a holiday associated with Timkat and all the St. Michael churches, I think one day of parades was good for us. :) 


Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Pasture Studio

On a  Saturday in Injibara, our front pasture was flooded with people. A television station had dancers in the meadow, filming a Awi traditional dance, as the Ethiopian television has only a few stations and shows many different regions and their traditional dances. 

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The meadow was full of people for most of the day, most people in our pasture don’t see a television, so passed a good portion of the day to watch the show live. 

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Little Nigoos. 

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Jon watched with a group of boys (who wanted camera practice).

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A few boys not from our neighborhood.

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I watched with a grow of girls and younger children. The teenage boys and girls rarely hang out together.

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At one point in the day, Jon was dressed up and joined a bit of the fun. They tied a red scarf to his head for awhile and then he really blended. 

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We are ready to get back to our community. We pray as a family to get more involved in intentional ways.  


Friday, January 16, 2015

"International Travel Is Only Glamorous in Hindsight"


The title quote is great although the hindsight needs to be from a distance of at least a few months, when the memories fade. I have nothing to complain about, travel went as smooth as it can go. We just wait in lines, miss a night of sleep, wait in more lines, drag/run yourselves through four airports and then being so tired you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. But it was still good and the arrival, well, I didn’t know how that would go.

How can one predict their emotional state when doing something they’ve never done? 

I wasn’t sure how it would feel to return to Ethiopia. The goodbyes were surprisingly tame, probably 5% of the tears of our original goodbye. Not that we’ve become expert goodbyes, it just helps that our home assignment is this summer, so we were just saying goodbye for a shorter period of time. The girls said “See you laters” but after one, Little A added, “VERY later”.

We landed in Addis Ababa and all just felt peaceful and it had a feeling of coming home. Something for which I praise the Lord alone for because I never thought I would have that feeling towards our new place. It’s not the same as home home, people make the home. But we do have a community here that love us and we love them.  

All four of us fell into bed at 2:00 am and woke up the next day at 1:30 pm! That is a good day of sleep! Last night, Jon and I were up for about 3 1/2 hours in the middle of the night but we woke the girls after ten hours and Little J asked, “Did we just take a nap?”  They say night three can be the roughest, but we are so thankful for how the girls are sleeping.  I think you’ve prayed them into sweet dream land.

A few pictures from our last days in the USA.

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The Littles trying to convince Jon to buy Aunt Chris a rabbit for her birthday.

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Uncle Chad introducing the girls to a chocolate fountain at a reception held in our hometown in January for Jay and Lynnae

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Meeting a new friend who made The Littles cookies!

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When your cousin is bald and you’ve got hair to share.


Here’s a few grainy pictures of our trip...

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Getting ready to say our last “See you laters”.

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Our stuff taking up the entire security line. This was at a small airport and most people were going on short trips so the security guard was in shock at all our stuff. 

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Ready to board the first flight

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On the plane silliness, somewhere in some time zone...

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We found a playground in Doha airport. There were several of them, some cool, others a bit strange but great for kids. 

 Okay, we are back. Time to dust off this Amharic and engage again, now if only we could blink away the jet lag or invent instant transport.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Awi Horse Races

We’ve shifted our focus, as we say goodbye to the US, we do more forward thinking to Ethiopia. Yes, that’s right, Tuesday midday through Thursday morning (It’s a long, long time to be traveling but beats a ships ETA).

Before long travels, I struggle with anxiety about, well, just about everything.  


To lighten the mood here is one of the most amazing events I’ve ever witnessed.

 A friend told us about the horse races in Injibara. We loaded up and arrived just as hundreds of people lined a huge pasture.

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We were so confused as two horses came out at a time and the riders wore different tribal clothes while letting out guttural shouts. 

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One man attacked the other horse with sticks and I was getting a little freaked out at the gore that we were going to see.

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After watching more closely, we realized that they were reenacting things and were aiming for their partner’s shield. I was very relieved. 

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Many men sported a barefoot or stocking foot look combined with lion’s manes tied around their head or neck. 

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This man was in charge of keeping our section off the field. He used his stick to hit people back as it was dangerous to get on the field. He decided he liked our family and would tell everyone, “Get back, get back, but leave room for the foreigners!  This is their first time here!” He didn’t hit us once. :)

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And just because my pictures can’t show this scene in it’s entirety, here are a few more...

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And hilariously, as we were mesmerized by one of the most fascinating things I have ever witnessed, the crowd around us just wanted to figure our family out. I don’t think they watched a single horse race.

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We then moved by the hundreds into a parade (look into the distance and you can see priests coming under brightly colored umbrellas).

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Then bigger groups came out, yelling and flying by. As the event continued, one tree was full of spectators.

Okay, deep breath, here we go!  Thanks for your care and prayers!