Saturday, September 13, 2008

A hut under the stars

(A guide leading us back to our hut the next morning.)

After meeting with the birth family, we had to leave quickly because it was getting dark and we had not yet reserved a "hut" for us to sleep in for the night! Both Yalfal and Kinetibeb seemed to be in good spirits when we left. They were waving goodbye and shouting, "Ciao! Ciao!" and were full of smiles while we were taking our last pictures with their family. The social worker told us that they would probably demonstrate a sense of relief when leaving since they can sense the tension but are still too young to fully understand what has happened.

We had about a 15 minute drive down a muddy and bumpy road where we all were bounced and jostled around the van like popcorn in a popcorn popper! We all have bruises to show for it! We were driving on an incredibly narrow dirt road navigating through the lush and dense African forest.
We saw so many amazing things on just the drive alone, one of which was a black panther that crossed our path and of course, monkeys galore!

By the time we arrived to the main hut to sign in, it was completely dark but we saw one hut situated in the middle of all the vegetation. All we had been told up until that point was that we would be staying at a lodge/hut where hyenas roam, so I was a little unsettled to say the least. As Brad went into the hut to sign in, I was wondering how we were all going to sleep inside the hut! I decided to take the kids inside the hut to check it out and come to find out, the hut was HUGE inside and absolutely gorgeous (and just the hut where you check in)! Soon, we found ourselves following a guide on a beautifully groomed pathway filled with gorgeous flowers and steppping stones that led us straight to our own thatched roof hut! It was so authentic and stunning from the outside, we all couldn't wait to see inside!
Once inside, it was truly a "one room hut" that had a couple of partitions that separated the main living area from the two bedrooms.
(These pictures are pretty bright because of the camera's flash compared to how dimly lit the hut was at nighttime.)
(Above and below are pictures of the two bedrooms...notice the laterns!)
There was a large wooden pole in the center of the hut and everything was supported from the pole. The roof was a woven thatched roof and the perimeter of the hut was woven cane with stone at the bottom base. There were three windows with wooden shutters and the only light came from laterns situated around the inside ledge of the hut. There was a small bathroom with white concrete walls, tile flooring, a small corner shower, water heater, porcelain sink and toilet, and of course, a window. It was an amazing experience and such an authentic, gorgeous place to stay!

After we checked everything out and got settled, we all walked down to a larger hut where they were serving dinner buffet style. They had many traditional Ethiopian dishes that Yalfal and Kinetibeb just gobbled up! At dinner, Kinetibeb had a major breakdown, but we were able to eventually comfort and soothe him; however, we were all sad seeing him so upset and wondering what all he was internalizing from the long and exhausting day. After dinner, we bathed the kids, took showers ourselves and were all thrilled to finally get some sleep! (Here is the "dining hut" to the right and the adjoining "kitchen hut". These pictures were taken the next morning so we could see them in the daylight.)

Very early the next morning, we discovered that the kids had accidents in their beds, so we bathed them again, and Brad, Aunt Brittany, the kids, Solomon (our driver), and a guide went on a hike to find hyenas!
(Solomon using a stick to "poke" into the hyena dens!)
(The dark mud pit in the center of the bushes is one of the many hyena dens they saw on their hike!)

They saw coffee trees and hundreds of raw green coffee beans, several hyena dens (but thankfully, no hyenas!), a scarecrow in the forest, and pineapple groves with real pineapples growing!
I stayed behind at the hut to have some downtime as I was extrmemely emotionally spent and needing some quiet time. It was exactly what I the time everyone came back, I felt refreshed, recharged and ready to meet the new day with more patience and resolve that I deeply needed!

(I had no idea what this new day would hold for us emotionally...more to come on that later!!)


Lori S said...

Thanks for sharing about meeting Yalfal and Kinetibeb's birth family. It is so hard to know what to expect!
I love the pictures of the hut you stayed in--what a beautiful place!

Rebecca said...

The hut is really cool! What a fun family adventure :)

By the way, I think you did send me all the pictures you had of Eli. I'm kind of having withdrawls right now because there are no Gladney families traveling, so we haven't seen Eli's sweet face but once in the past three (or so) weeks.

Natalie Fournet said...

Kimberly--Keep the stories coming....this is an amazing journey and I love reading about it! Thanks so much for sharing these details with us!

Still hoping we can meet one day soon:)

baeressentials said...

Love the post. Solomon rocks. My 4 year old wants to marry him and we have his number to call!

I am tagging you--please go to my blog to see the details and have fun!
Sally from joyful journey of the six baers

The Roberts Family said...

What an amazing experience. It's so interesting how everyone's journey in Ethiopia is a bit different. Thank you so much for sharing with us all. May the Lord bless you and strengthen you as you continue to weave together as a family. Blessings, Shelly

Jennifer said...

i love these posts! what an amazing journey to their birth family and your pictures are incredible! i wish we had been able to spend more time with your family.

sparkz said...

Okay I am way behind but I love this post. It looks amazing. What great pictures and how awesome to journey to their birth family!

Cory and Margaret said...

Your movie brought me to tears..I could not help but feel the love that you have for your children and how they love you!!!! Congrats..they are beautiful and thank you for sharing such a wonderous part of your lives!!

Jen said...

I just watched your video! Beautiful keepsake. We are in the process of changing our preference with gladney to be one or two between the ages of 0-4... so I look at families who have adopted older small children with new found interest. I look for any pearls of wisdom. They look like they are doing great.

D.K. said...

What an amazing trip. Such a gift for your children.

Amber said...

Your video made me cry! I can't wait to read about your trip

Sparkz said...

I didn't realize you lived so close to us! The Owens just sent us an email and asked if we knew you. We go to KW all of the time. Let me know if you would like to get toether sometime. It would be fun for K to get to spend time with some other kids from ET and we would love it too. Let us know.

Sparkz said...

I didn't realize you lived so close to us! The Owens just sent us an email and asked if we knew you. We go to KW all of the time. Let me know if you would like to get toether sometime. It would be fun for K to get to spend time with some other kids from ET and we would love it too. Let us know.

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