Returning to Ethiopia

I decided this blog might be the best place to share about our first time back to Ethiopia since 2011 when we brought our three children home. Facebook is a little too public and combines disparate audiences.


It’s a hell of a trip, getting halfway around the world. This time we are doing it with children ages 14, 12, 8 and 2. Not a small undertaking.

Plus, having watched this video last month, my general anxiety about bacteria on airplanes was pretty high. Your welcome! and I’m sorry. I hope you get one of our seats on your next flight because we wiped every surface down with Clorox wipes as we settled in, and let me tell you, it was satisfying!


I told the kids, expect it to be absolutely awful, and anything better than that will be a bonus! It wasn’t really that awful, honestly. I still hate Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, and that short flight between Paris and Rome was the worst, with no leg room and dreadful screaming toddlers (not mine, thankfully) who were inexplicably indulged by parents and flight attendants alike. The rest of it, well, we just got through it. The kids were troopers, the 2-year old was somehow amazing, and eventually we got to unfold ourselves out of airplane seats and collect our luggage (except that $15 umbrella stroller that makes life so much easier in airports which was lost by, you guessed it, the Paris staff). Spokane–>SLC–>Paris–>Rome–>Addis Ababa. Aren’t you grateful you are reading this from your comfortable home and not on one of those flights?!

I’ll spare you the details on jet lag and adjusting to +11 hours time difference, not to mention the fact that Addis Ababa is at over 7700 feet elevation (even the top of our local ski resort, Schweitzer, is only 6400 feet!). But there’s been a lot of this going on:

The Hilton Addis Ababa was a great choice for our few days in the capital city. Centrally located, lots of the kinds of comforts we like, including reliable and plentiful bottled water and a general feeling of safety. Here’s the view from the 10th floor overlooking some of the grounds:


And right across the road is a glimpse at how many many people live, even in this bustling big city:


These makeshift sheet metal dwellings house hundreds of people in pretty meager situations, without running water. Notice all the satellite dishes. We walked through this area yesterday afternoon to get to a traditional restaurant where we had lunch. Beautiful people, many of them very happy and friendly. Lots of chaos, construction, vehicles, stray dogs (including a tiny filthy white puppy that Alex wanted to rescue), work, life, washing, commerce, ingenuity, discouragement, hope. It’s a lot to take in.


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