Saturday, December 4, 2010

Beautiful People

Many of the things we saw in Ethiopia undoubtedly saddened my heart.  That being said, it is true that Ethiopia is also a country of remarkable beauty. While I know it sounds cliché, I can’t help but say that the most beautiful thing about Ethiopia was - hands down - the people.

If it was up to me, we would have come home with at least ten children and five grown men.  Our guides and drivers were absolutely the best.  Dave and I speculate that job openings at America World must be worded “Only the very best people in the country need apply.” The staff, both at America World and the Yebsabi Guest House, were especially wonderful with Samantha and Toby. They played endless hours of soccer together, engaged them in thoughtful conversations, and would even participate in their nonsensical “made-up” games. I’m still not sure what “Secret Agent Monkey” means, but they sure had fun with it. I liken the experience to going away for summer camp as a child and finishing the week with a whole group of new “best friends.” It really was hard to say goodbye. Toby had no desire to leave Ethiopia and sobbed as we made our way through the airport. Telling an 8-year-old boy that we can keep in touch with his new buddies over Facebook is not consoling.

To the families waiting for their first travel date, you are in the good hands of great men.

Michael Gowin Photography
Our charming guide, Job.  Such a cool guy - fantastic laugh. 
The original "Secret Agent Monkey."

Michael Gowin Photography
Our sweet and sincere guide, Yonas. 
Don't forget that you are staying with us when you visit the States, Yonas!

Tilahun (everybody calls him T), our diligent coordinator.  He managed our ever-changing schedules - always with a smile - and never missed a beat!

Michael Gowin Photography
Our excellent driver David and his watchful eyes. 
Anytime the situation started to get a little sticky, David was right there...making sure we didn't do anything stupid :)

Samantha, Yonas, and Toby in the courtyard at the guest house.

Even the guards at the guest house love on the kids and like to kick the soccer ball around.

I am so grateful for these men. 
It was a huge blessing to spend our time in Ethiopia with them.

Thanks to our friend and adoptive father Michael Gowin
(Michael Gowin Photography) for sharing your  pictures with us.  I've never longed for wealth or fame, but could definitely appreciate traveling with a professional photographer at my side.