We had our big travel conference call last night. Allisa, our agency lady, walked us through some of the paperwork and told us different things we need to know for when we are there.
A few things stuck out, like the 59% unemployment rate in Ethiopia. Yes, 59% of all people do not have jobs, the ones that do make around $1.00 a day, so when the Guest house ask if we want our clothes washed, even if we don't, they said let them do it, it gives someone a job. Same with the drivers, store clerks, etc. Everything is freaky cheap and when we buy it, we help them feed their families and have one of the few jobs.
Also, they keep telling us "don't complain, ever, about anything". We can not complain while we are there. THIS one thing has really caused the Ethiopian people to resent us foreigners. We are used to asking for a new steak if it's not cooked just right, but over there, these people have busted their butts making everything amazing for us at the guest house, and taking care of our adoption business. When we complain about our 5th world accommodations not being what we thought, it hurts their feelings and demeans the hard work they put into preparing everything for us. So, over and over we heard, "don't complain, at all, ever. Smile, be grateful. Know you are there to get your child not on vacation".
The country is seeing all this American adoptions as us taking a generation of their children. They can't afford to care for them, they know letting them go with us gives them a better life BUT it is heart breaking for them to see so many babies leaving with White westerners. Wealthy people who's governments allowed pharmaceutical companies for years to hold patents to anti-viral medications and now as a result the Orphan population is out of control from AIDS an Malaria deaths.
They wonder why we can all afford to adopt their kids but we cant afford to help their country so that they can keep them. It's very sad.
I have no intention of being someone who is only taking, I will help that country. Through organizations like redletterscampigne.com and MochaClub.org we are helping Orphans but there has to be more ways to help extended family raise these children.
It's such a hard place to be in. I know being there will tear me up. I pray it wrecks me even more. Dean too. I want another child from there, a girl, maybe around 1 - 3 yrs old. But I also want to come back with guns blazing with knowledge and insight into how we can help these people. Really help them.
They will now and forever be a part of our lives. Through Abel, we see Ethiopia and an entire people. This is an amazing door that is opening. I can't wait to enter it.
The adventure is about to begin.