Saturday, September 13, 2008

Travel to Yirgalem - Part 2

(continued from Travel to Yirgalem - Part 1) Well, I left off with us driving the long 6 hour drive to Yirgalem to meet the kids' birth family and they had finally fallen asleep in the van. Shortly thereafter, we stopped for lunch in Awassa which is about 45 minutes away from Yirgalem. The minute we drove up to the outdoor restaurant (which was situated on Lake Awassa), we were surrounded by all kinds of monkeys! Solomon had some wheat kernals we were all snacking on during the drive, so we offered some to the monkeys and they grabbed what they could right out of our hands! We walked down the drive toward the lake and there were these HUGE black and white monkeys that had these long gorgeous featherly-like tails! They were just as anxious to take part in our feeding frenzy!



We were all so giddy with excitement and amazed at how "African" our surroundings actually were while Yalfal and Kinetibeb seemed comfortably at home amongst the monkeys. (This is one of my favorite pictures! Kinetibeb was so brave until the "daddy" monkey jumped at him as the "mommy and baby"monkey look on from the background! Look at his face of terror! )(Safe in the arms of Daddy and it was all smiles and giggles for Kinetibeb!)

We met up with the social worker, Fasika, who would be translating for us when meeting the kids' birth family and finally were able to sit down to lunch outside on the porch of the restaurant overlooking Lake Awassa! It was breathtakingly beautiful! All of a sudden, monkeys descended upon us wanting more food! I got a little anxious and began to lean away from the monkeys while Yalfal turned around, scrunched up her little face and yelled, "CHIT! CHIT!" as she "shooed" them away with her hands! It was amazing! This continued to happen throughout the meal until the wait staff brought us a huge stick to swing at the monkeys when they got too close! We would swing our stick and they would leap into the trees literally swinging from the tree vines! After our late lunch, we let the kids run around for a little bit and then we packed up to head on to Yirgalem. The scenery from Addis Ababa to Awassa was very green, hilly, lots of African trees, somewhat paved roads filled with packed donkeys with a beautiful view of mountains in the background. However, the 45 minute-drive from Awassa to Yirgalem was totally different. The vegetation changed into tall, lush overgrown trees and bushes that definitely had a "rainforest" feel to it while riding on VERY bumpy red-dirt roads. Once entering Yirgalem, the dirt roads were filled with naked babies playing in the mud, barefoot children running alongside our van, mud huts with thatched roofs, donkeys packed with supplies, women carrying babies in slings on their backs and water pots on their heads, and men carrying tree limbs or bundles of banana leaves strapped to their backs or atop their heads. I have never witnessed such intense poverty so up close and that has affected me in such a personal way.A father & his children carrying a huge load of bananas dangling from a stick with his eldest son.Meeting the Birth Family to follow in next post...

6 comments:

MKH said...

oh my gosh! this is all absolutely amazing! I can't even imagine seeing wild monkey's!!! crazy stuff! megan

Natalie Fournet said...

What an awesome experinece....unbelievable!!!

OK...you have to write that next post quickly...can't leave us hanging for too long:)

Lori S said...

Those are some awesome pictures! How cool to be around all of those monkeys!
Yalfal and Kinetibeb are sooo adorable!

I am also looking forward to your next post!

Lori S said...

By the way, I'm tagging you! If you haven't already been tagged, have fun! (o:

sparkz said...

Would you do me a huge favor and send me an email? I want to ask you some questions b/c of our referral and your experiences. I don't want to say too much on here as we haven't got through court yet...

chelseandavid@hotmail.com

Ally said...

oh, I LOVE that one of his terrified face running from the monkey! I had the same experience in Kenya of being chased by a wild monkey...it truly was terrifying. I thought he'd scratch me and give me monkey AIDS! What a great experience you guys had! We want to go stay in that hut like you guys did~!