Saturday, December 09, 2006

Whatever (in other words, I have no inspiration for a title)

1. In answer to some of the questions on the last post, I don't expect to have much opportunity for posting while I am in Ethiopia. At the beginning and the end, I will be in a hotel in Addis Ababa, and there's a chance there might be internet access there, but in between, we'll be traveling to pretty remote sites. I expect we'll be sleeping in mud huts, so the chance of electricity, let alone internet, is fairly slim. What I will do, however, is post my journals (and pictures) when I get home. I did the same last time I travelled, and if you're interested, you can find it all in February/March 2005. And if you want to see my pictures from that trip, you can find them here (at the site I keep meaning to build - one of these days when I manage to find a 36 hour day).

2. Sorry I can't bring any babies home. Joyce and Andrea's requests reminded me about Matthew, the little boy I fell in love with in an orphanage in Tanzania. It may have had something to do with the fact that he shared a name with my stillborn son, but this child was truly irresistible. We played with the children under the tent in the backyard, took some of them swimming, and mostly got our hearts wrenched out of our chests. Most of these children had been orphaned because of AIDS and some of them had contracted the disease themselves. Matthew was one of the lucky ones - he tested negative.
Matthew in TanzaniaHere he is modeling my sunglasses. I was happy to learn, after I returned home, that he was adopted by a Tanzanian family. You can read Matthew's story here. Warning to all those who desperately want a little African baby in their homes, visiting the orphanage's website can be hazardous to your health. I'm even wondering about the wisdom of letting my husband know where to find it, because he dreams of having a little African son like Matthew.

3. Just like the last time I was preparing to go to, I find myself poring over all things African. I was in a bookstore looking for the book Jen Lemen recommended, but couldn't find it. I may need to order it. I also watched a great documentary called Black Gold that I would recommend to anyone interested in learning more about the coffee industry and the way it impacts coffee farmers in Ethiopia. It is appalling that the coffee that costs nearly three dollars at Starbucks (for one cup!) doesn't provide enough income for the farmers to send their children to school, or even feed them sufficiently. There's just something seriously wrong with this world when the rich countries send aid to poor countries, but won't consider changing trade rules to protect them so that they can provide for themselves instead of relying on aid. Watch the movie, and you'll be lining up at the fair trade coffee stores instead of Starbucks.

4. On an entirely unrelated note... Let this be a warning to you: DO NOT make Vicki's Apple Cake recipe unless you have better willpower than me. If you make it, you will not be able to resist having seconds or even thirds. You will look for excuses to walk through the kitchen so you can nibble on the edges or run your finger along the side of the pan to lick the sauce. When you clear the table, you will have to muster all your willpower NOT to lick the dessert plates before putting them in the dishwasher. It's just that good. And I think Whippersnapper would agree, because she helped me eat it. Only I wasn't generous enough to send her home with any because, well, I wanted to hoarde it for myself. I may even hide the rest of it from my kids.

5. Today was an incredibly beautiful day here in the place others (who are disrespectful and don't deserve to live in our beautiful city) call "Winterpeg". So nice that I looked for excuses to walk to the store (or beyond). If I had one of those weather pixies like Hope, she would have been shedding the layers today and dancing in the sunshine.

6. I got my painting from Andrea this week. Yay! Being an art owner just makes me feel so happy, not to mention cultured and interesting! If I could, I would fill my home with art, and then I would spend hours just sitting and gazing at my lovely treasures.


Pamela said...

I have three friends I went to school with who all went into third world countries to live. One to Pakistan, one to Bangaladesh, and one to Zaire. The one that went to Zaire had two tow-headed boys, and then they fostered a baby boy that her sons affectionately named Hershy. They loved him as their own and planned to adopt. Then the Tutsi -Hutu uprising began and the killing and the escape from the country after more than 10 years.
That was in the early 90's... and I've yet gotten her to discuss this.

Moral of story -- don't fall in love with a child you can't take home.

Lucia said...

Heather - I'm so glad I found your blog! I travel frequently for my work in the developing world and love Ethiopia. I just returned from Nepal and am headed to Chile and Argentina in a few days. I found your blog so inspiring...and familiar in a way. I'll be back (or at least when I'm home, since as you well know, internet access can be very iffy while traveling).

Lucia said...

I meant to mention, too, that I work in fair trade (handcrafts...not coffee, although I'll be visiting coffee farmers in Rwanda in February. The FT coffee coop in Ethiopia is called Oromia, and their office is in Addis).

Coll said...

I am so excited for you and your plans to visit Africa. This continent has always intrigued me. I look forward to your stories on your return.

Now you have me feeling guilty for referring to our wonderful city as Winterpeg.. but truly it was said with love. :-)

Whippersnapper said...

Hey Heath, that cake was so incredible, I thought about it all today actually. mmmmmmmmmmm. Thanks for such a nice dinner, it was great to see you again. By the way, H.I. had a play date with a "friend" today, and the two of them basically screamed at each other on and off for the entire four hours. ANY TIME Maddie wants to come over here, she is MORE THAN WELCOME!! A non-screaming play date would be absolutely fabulous.

Linda said...

One of these years, I'm going to Africa with you.

BarnGoddess said...

I enjoy hearing about Africa. Ive always been intrigued by it's vast differences from my own continent.

I am looking forward to hearing more!

Anonymous said...

How cute is that little guy?! Oh my gosh!

And, as if I needed a reminder that I really need to make Vicki's cake...my thighs thank you in advance.

Thanks for your comment, btw. It was really touching. :)

Liz said...

Now you have to take a picture of that painting in your home!

Kathleen Marie said...

This was such an interesting post. I have never visited your blog before. I live in the Black Hills and our next goal is to build an international children's home and hopefully help get some of these international children adopted a little easier. We run a Christian camp and retreat center that God took a hold of and ran with. There is no other way to explain it.

I love the Sally Ann reference...that is cute! I love browsing there, Goodwill, thrift stores, etc...

My daughter took a trip to Jamaica and spent much time is an orphanage and Care Center only she said there wasn't much "care" going on for the elderly.

I will be praying for your travels. God Bless!

Joyce said...

Heather, I did indeed peruse the adoption site and really enjoyed thinking about and sending up little prayers for those incredibly beautiful children.

Vicki said...

I am just now reading this. I'm thrilled you like the cake. My family loves it. Your right. It's hard to walk away from. I made them once in cupcake sizes so I could monitor myself. This only made me count higher than I wanted to.