Monday, November 29, 2010

Court Trip - Post 7 - Kaldi's, Shopping, Leprosy and JOY?!

After we all said goodbye to our darling children, the emotionally-drained bunch of us piled into that van again and headed out to lunch. We went to a coffee house called Kaldi's. It was seriously the Ethiopian version of Starbucks -- except the coffees there cost about 50 cents! :-) We got burgers and fries. Not sure exactly what, but the burgers had some serious fillers in them. Something green. Maybe onions? But, they were good. And the fries were great! Still no Diet Coke for Eric or I, but I grew to like something called Mirinda. It was like Orange Fanta or Orange Crush.

It was a somewhat subdued lunch. I think we were all hitting a wall of exhaustion - emotional and physical - plus we had just said goodbye to our kids for some unknown period of time. Could be 6 weeks. Could be 12 weeks. We have no idea when we'll get to go back, but we're hoping no later than January (and still praying for a miracle December date).

Our driver returned a while later to take us shopping.

Our first stop was the Leprosy Hospital, work center, and gift shop. Oy! So much for hitting an emotional wall! The building was beautiful when we pulled up, but the second we stepped out of the van, the worst smell hit you. I heard later that the Leprosy Hospital is very close to Korah - the trash dump outside Addis where men, women, and children live - the outcasts of society. The Lepers. The sick. The disabled. (for those who are interested, there are groups like Project 61 and Ordinary Hero who are working in Korah)

This is the Birhan Taye Leprosy Disabled Persons Work Group and gift shop.
When we entered the work area, there was a man sitting outside (you might be able to see him if you zoom in on the above picture). He has 2 partial fingers remaining on each hand. He smiled at us, and laughed and talked to his friend by his side while he worked. He was making beautiful rugs to sell.

Inside the first room, there were 2 men using old-fashioned looms to weave beautiful fine linen. They had partial hands and partial feet as well. But, they worked non-stop and appeared to be very content. Further inside, there were four women. They talked amongst themselves while they worked spinning wool into thread.

One of the women captured my attention. She was very old. She sat, hunched in the corner. She had no fingers or thumbs left on either hand - just a small indentation where her thumbs used to begin. She used them to hold the thread while she worked, happily chatting with her friends. All of these men and women. Lepers. The outcasts of society. Missing fingers, hands, feet. But Working. Content. Smiling. They were a true picture of JOY. Not happiness based on circumstances. Joy from something outside of themselves. They weren't crying "oh, poor me". They defied their physical condition. They weren't claiming they couldn't work. They were happy to have work! They were beautiful. They were strong. They were smiling! We were in awe of them.

I wanted to take pictures because they were amazing, but I didn't want them to misunderstand why I wanted to photograph them, so I didn't. I did, however, find this slideshow online about the center, which contains pictures of many of the same people that we saw.

We went into the gift shop there and decided that we would buy as many of the things there that we wanted to buy while we were in Ethiopia as we could, in order to help to support this amazing program. We ended up buying four beautiful scarves, and a gorgeous tablecloth with 8 matching linen napkins. The scarves are for Daniel, Mackenzie, Eric and I. The tablecloth will be put away to save as a wedding gift for Markos and his future wife.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.

Psalm 90:14-17


  1. I love that you are putting away the tablecloth for your son!! Such a beautiful gesture now and I can imagine how powerful it will be for him (and you) then as welL! =) How much the journey seems to have already enriched your lives... and of course this is only the beginning! =)

  2. Thank you. Your photos and story were awesome! Although we're just 43 days from meeting our little Tommy and going to court in Addis, it still seems so far away. You've helped make it feel more real to me. Our blessings to you and your family.