The less interesting 14 hour (sold out) flight, was full of near attempts at sleep that were thwarted by midnight dinners on Addis Ababa Time, and charged up missionary groups. Most noteworthy was the general energy that all of us were traveling for a BIG reason. The airport was the size of Manchester, but let’s just say that it was operated with a slightly different management syle. It was here that I firt learned Ethiopia’s operations are based on a “functional chaos.” Long-lines, multiple checks, no traffic lights, few crosswalks, four lane roads with only space for two cars…but it all works.
After checking into our room, the transition home was our first destination. Up to this point we had relied on complex manual mathematical equations to pinpoint the exact moment we would meet Acacia. These calculations were inhibited by the answer to an equally complex manual mathematical equation to determine the amount of sleep we achieved. The simple answer to this equations was NOT ENOUGH. Now that we were on the road, we knew it would be 15 minutes until we met her. We were brought to a pleasant living room, that provided the idea of a western home. Shortly after our guide Hermissa brought Acacia into the room, emotions were surging to the same degree as the moment Zinnia was born. What was different was Acacia’s quiet nature. She was set in our laps, as calm as a 150 old yogi. She scanned us with great suspicion. Her dark eyes were consuming in a way that didn’t allow you to keep secrets. She was in a pretty white polka dot dress with a pink ribbon attached to a lace headband. I whispered, “Your lucky kid. Frills aren’t our style, so you just have to ride this one out a little longer.” On e of her favorite past times appears to be grabbing fingers and other small objects that aren’t bolted to the floor. She’s equally skilleed at safely sorring those items out of your reach, a practice she’s perfected in the orphanage. I did manage to retrieve my finger. At 11 months she is walking with help. Due to the small size of her orphanage, it’s clear that she doesn’t get the exercise she needs. In general the standards at the oprhanage would make my collegues at the Child Development Bureau cringe. Too be fair, it is inspiring to see what they have done with the resources they have.
Yesterday, we spent 5 hours with Acacia. Killeen and I are both amazed by how naural it has felt. She is so sweet and calm. I do recognize that we are in a bit of a honeymoon phase. Acacia is a hugger and cuddler. She nearly feel asleep laying on our chests. She has a personality that she is starting to show. So far, we’ve brought her to the decision point, “should I laugh or cry.” She hasn’t quite made a choice, but it’s early.
Now I’m scared about leaving her. Even in five short hours we’ve established a level of trust with her. Whie I know she’ll be alright, I’m scared of leaving her behind. We can see that she nees us to read what may be her first book, her first run through the grass, and provide her with a more nutrient rich diet. But for now I am thankful that she is safe with a group that I trust to guide her through the functional chaos that is Ethiopia.