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.
Here 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.