We are the Snyder family and ... we are different

This is the story of our journey to our daughter in Ethiopia. God is preparing our family for her and preparing her heart to come home to her family. We chose the difficult road of trusting and obeying God. It is worth every step!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Last days in Ethiopia

Thursday morning we went up to Entoto Mountain along with three other families.  We had to take two vans because we would be too heavy to make it up the mountain in one, lol :)  The drive up to the mountain was beautiful.  We saw so many people, donkeys and the views were breathtaking.  On the way up the mountain we saw many women carrying huge loads of sticks on their backs.  We learned that most of these women are widows who have no other means to make money anymore so walk up the mountain two or three times a day to fetch kindling, take it down the mountain and sell it for about 20-30 birr per load.  The exchance rate while we were in Ethiopia is 1:16 so 16 birr equals $1 US, wow!  We are so fortunate and we forget it so often.  Once we got to the top we toured the ground of the original palace from the 1800's and the Christian Orthodox Church.  We saw the very first church built in Addis Ababa, a tiny round building that symbolizes God's omnipresence.  The large church we saw is built with three layers to represent the trinity.  We were also told that the ladies carry umbrellas to church to signify covering the arc of the convenant.  Our guide told us about the holy water people travel across the country for to heal them of their illnesses, even of AIDS.  It doesn't work instantly but over time it will cure anything.  As we left the mountain we saw a man carrying a young boy in his arms on his way to the holy water as well as a couple of elderly women who had walked up the mountain and were now resting before they headed on to the water.  Our guide also gave us an incredible recount of the history of the first emperor and his palace as well as a tour of the Entoto museum.  The whole experience was so enlightening and interesting, eventhough I don't like history :)

After the mountain we stopped at a market along the way and bought some more souvenirs and traditional Ethiopian clothes to bring home with us.  We then carried on to lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon at the transition home with our little girl.  I had brought a friend's Glamour magazine with me to take a picture of while I was in Ethiopia because you can submit it to them and sometimes they will publish it in the "where has your Glamour been?"  Well our litle girl found it in my backpack and was completely enthralled with it.  She went through the magazine page by page without missing a single one.  She was not a fan of the perfume ads, she turned her nose up at it when I opened for her to smell it.  I am certainly not promoting her reading those sort of magazines because it really is highly inappropriate but she was very entertained by the pictures of it.  Perhaps when we go back I will try and bring her a magazine a little more appropriate for a little girl :)  That night we decided to have dinner at the Zebra Grill just down the street from our guest house.  Dustin had awesome wings and we can't wait to go back :)
Our last day in Ethiopia we spent the entire time at the transition home.  The only time we left was for lunch and then we went straight back.  It was such a blessing to spend those last few hours with her before we made the long trek back home to Iowa.  I was thankful that she didn't cry that day when we left because I know that it would have been so much harder for me to leave her.  We take comfort in the fact that we know she is well taken care of and that she has many friends there and all the caretakers care so much for her.  The plane ride back wasn't too bad, we left at 10:00pm so I slept for the majority of the ride to Washington D.C.  It was unfortunate that one of the women traveling back with us was sick the entire flight and when we got off the plane she was sitting in a wheelchair at the end of the terminal waiting for her husband to pull the car around.  Luckily they live only 20 minutes away from the airport so at least she didn't have a connecting flight to make.  We were supposed to have a 6 hour layover in Dulles airport but I convinced Dustin to check and see if there was an earlier flight, there was one leaving in under an hour.  We booked it, got our luggage checked in, and headed for the next gate.  The rest of the trip home was very nice until we got to just outside Galesburg and blew a flat tire.  We drove slowly the rest of the way home on a very ugly yellow spare.  We had to wait on our luggage to get home because it didn't make our earlier flight, but FedEx delivered it on Tuesday.  We finally got all of our souvenirs to show the boys and I was happy to have my toiletries back as well. 

For now we wait to pass court.  We are praying for God's perfect timing, He has not let us down yet.  God has worked a LOT of miracles this week with families from our agency and I know that our prayers do not go unheard.  We thank Him for the journey He has brought us on and for the continued blessings.