Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Cutest Afternoon

Yay for some of our favorite visitors and I don’t want to make anyone else feel bad, but I just had the cutest afternoon. 

I took Yeshi’s son’s 3 month pictures today. 

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His first tummy time and he acted like an old professional.

So blessed by this family.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Thrilled to Announce...

We’re thrilled to announce that…

We are going to have a baby!  

Praise God, we have finally found an adoption agency and location from which we qualify to adopt.

Jon and I have been desiring kids for a long time. It’s a long story I won’t expound on here, but the irony of our situation is not lost on us. 

While living in the US, we adopted internationally from Ethiopia.  Now, living in Ethiopia, we are adopting from the USA. Lordwilling, our home study will be finished within the month and we could be ready for a placement at any time.

(At this point, it is not possible for us, as foreigners, to adopt from Ethiopia)

We wanted to show how happy all four of us are about it but…

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This is the best picture we were gonna get, considering our time constraints, a cautious child who wasn’t sure about jumping, the non-cautious child with timing issues and that most of the other pictures show significantly more of Jon’s naval area. 

It’s been a mountain of work and challenging, but hey, who has kids because it’s convenient?!

Thanks for supporting and loving us through all our ups and downs. Some of you already have read or heard this and have been praying. We continue to cherish your prayers. 


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Home Again, Home Again...

Home again.  We made it on Friday, which is never something I never take for granted on these roads. Our life overseas is full of “hello, goodbye” and transitions but our Blueberry house in the highlands feels like home. On Saturday morning, we fell back into our rhythms here and enjoyed the sunshine for English class in the pasture. It’s been raining daily, everything is green again, but so far, we still get sunshine parts of everyday.  

On Tuesday, we visited friends who were celebrating their baby girls’ christening. Since it had been a few weeks since hut injera and sheep stew, the girls were feeling like they were due anyways.  I think it would be in their top five of favorite foods.  I always prep them not to take loads because there are normally many mouths to feed. 

Our month is full of hosting, loads of it and while it is extra work, we also love it.  This weekend though we have a last hurrah with a family who has become like our family. The Kruses return to Canada and we have one last weekend of giggling girls packed into the top bunk and coffee getting cold as we are too busy talking to drink (okay, maybe mostly Ang and I on that one). 

It’s currently cloudy after a hard rain and Jon is boiling coffee for an afternoon coffee time. It is clearly a delineated women’s job, he just does it better than me and I am okay to not be cultural on this one.

A few shots of the party.

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Sweet family, this is the third child.  To the side is an honorary mother who commits to be a presence in the child’s life, particularly if something happens to her mother.

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And there is nothing quite as cute as squishy, baby cheeks with drooly little lips. 

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Parties of any sort are a big expense here as the hosting family provides alcohol, injera, meat (if not during fasting season), coffee and chickpea stew to all who come (in the hundreds).

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Overflow waiting for more injera.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

They Shall Go Forth With Singing

Whenever Awi women get the chance to celebrate, I love to see it. Awi culture has largely homogenized into Amhara but the umbrella dance at weddings is an Awi tradition.

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A few shots from another wedding, to show a bit more of what is happening.

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This little girl came in on her sister’s back.  She was three and drinking just boiled coffee.

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Jon was the only one who knew how to tie a western tie, so he helped the groom.

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After we had eaten two meals at this house, the groom gave us 4 Cokes and opened everyone. We were the only ones to receive soda and it didn’t matter how much we protested.  They wanted to bless our family and they know we don’t often drink their homemade drinks because it really hurts our stomachs. It’s a rare day when the girls get an entire bottle of soda as if they drink soda, they usually share. They couldn’t drink it. Jon was busy with other things, so I drank about 2.5, this was after coffee.

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When Jon asked this man, serving the tela (homemade alcoholic brew) if he wanted his picture taken, he stopped and posed like this.  Cracks me up everytime someone poses. :)

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An aunt hauls the tea in the large clay pot.  Woman who come to the wedding come walking in with these pots, full, on their backs.

They were expecting to feed 500 people in the afternoon.

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The groom and his parents.

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The wedding processions is starting.

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Wedding party. This group also involved a women, a first cousin to the groom. 

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These two friends, both priests in the Ethiopian Orthodox church, helped the girls as Jon had to leave to bring the van and I was taking pictures. They even carried them across a river.

About five minutes after this event and about 4 hours into the party, there was a crush of kids, standing around. The girls were standing by me and because we didn’t know what was coming, a groomsmen through about 10 candies into the crowd of kids. They rushed forward and knocked the girls over like dominoes.  We recovered but it was the end of our wedding experience for the day. J was so sad to not see the bride though! :)


Side note, last time I’ll mention it. :) One last chance to buy Usborne on the my show. :) It’s closing in a few days. https://d4887.myubam.com/

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wedding Horns

Thanks to Jessica, who gave me the idea for this post, here’s a brief outline of how countryside weddings go in our area. Just like in the USA, every wedding has it’s own flavor and there is not one exact way to do a wedding, the same for the weddings we attend. Also, this is our understanding of how they do weddings, but we are no cultural experts and are continually learning new things.

Our family was invited to this wedding, the girls and I couldn’t manage another day away from school as we have had abundant “Easter” days. Jon was asked to take pictures, it’s fun for him and an easy way to give a wedding present to the bride and groom. 

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Jon went to the groom’s house around 9:00 am where the groom, his family and his attendants meet. Neighbors borrow from each other for this occasion. 

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Here are a few of the wedding party, eating. On wedding day, the best clothes come out, and from our limited observation, the more wealthy the family, the more Western the wedding clothes will be. In this picture, notice the two men holding their hands out to each other.  They are giving each other a “gorsha” which is when you put a prepared bite into someone’s mouth as a sign of favor.

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At the first house a meal is served. Here is some of the groom’s family, they have been working, preparing food since the night before (they work through the night).

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This woman is grinding coffee she has just washed and roasted.  

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The groom with family. He is very happy, it’s a day for everyone to celebrate.

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As they waited for awhile at this house, a second meal was served.  On the table you can see in the tall cup a local brew and in the small cup, a hot cup of coffee.

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The wedding has a general structure but then plays out by the group discussing minute to minute decisions.  The woman with the drum is the sister-in-law to the groom.

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As the groom and his attendants get ready to move to the bride’s house, there is dancing and celebration.

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Then, the groom and his attendants, walk to the bride’s parent’s house.  There is much dancing, shouting and celebrating along the way.

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In this situation, the bride lived far away, so they hiked to the main road, got in a van and then hiked to the bride’s house.  Historically, women in this area were taken by “abduction” to be the bride. This particular area is known for mimicking a fighting protest to their woman being taken away.  The men told Jon that sometimes the fight turns real and if something seems off, to get out of there. 

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As the men approach the bride’s house, they are met by the bride’s family.

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The party walks into the house, notice at this point, the groom gets serious.  It is his part to play in the day. All dowry has already been negotiated and given, this is just ceremony day.

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Everyone is invited in for another meal, the bride is still not present.

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At this house, Jon was delighted to see veggies on the injera.  The green is like swiss chard, red is red beets and the other stew is potatoes, carrots and chilis.

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Here comes the bride!  She is actually happy but the whole day, it is her job to not smile and look serious. This is out of respect for her parent’s household, to show she is grieved to be leaving them (and I suspect also is in tradition from the past culture of abduction, but I need to ask for more clarification). She is very beautiful but looks so sad.

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With everyone else, there is dancing and singing.

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Inside the house, rings are exchanged and a priests speaks blessing over them.

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More food, more homemade alcohol.

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The bride stays so serious.

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The party is ready to move on!  At this point, they go back to the groom’s parents or if they have a ride, to a lake for pictures.

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Here is the doorway during the part with the priests ad the rings.

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The group has gotten bigger as they walk, so somber.

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Walking away from the bride’s house.

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People along the paths join the procession. It’s all done with much joy, singing and dancing.

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At the groom’s house, they said they expected to feed between 300-500 people.

Jon got home after dark, he had been served over three meals and countless rounds of coffee. 






Thursday, May 5, 2016

Inside the Hut

Just an FYI, I knew you wouldn’t really be able to build a hut after yesterday’s tutorial. :)  It is an art form and hard to believe how fast it is disappearing, most in the cities or towns couldn’t build one.

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Here’s an inside shot of the completed roof


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Also inside, it’s so great!  We had a spot to go out of the rain!

We are waiting for mud benches around the edges, for now, I laid down a tarp.

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So much fun!

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As promised, it’s been Easter which means the party starts on Friday night. For us, we started celebrating with neighbors since last Thursday.

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We had two sets of visitors from Addis, hence the three vehicles in the background. The girls didn’t want to join in the dancing and singing but loved handing out treats. 

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Cheering on our brightly lit porch. 

We’ve eaten only breakfasts in our house since Sunday morning.  More to come on wedding season!