I just found this picture from Addis on Brian’s phone. The boy on the left (we deleted the face of the other boy for privacy) is Samuel. It is pretty amazing how he looks like a different kid now. Samuel couldn’t believe it was him.
Random fact about this Easter that I thought was interesting!
I received this in an e-mail from a friend at the Ethiopian church we attend:
“Also, especially enjoy this Easter as the Western and Eastern calendars have again mystically converged and so we are uniquely sharing the holiday together across the whole world. This only happens a few times every century! “
Ethiopia starts “Holy Week” today!
We went to church to start the festivities.
Of course, we forgot our camera.
There were children singing, and a lot of great food (I’m still thinking of the fried things stuffed with jalapenos and lentils…I need to find the recipe, or at least the name)….
Everyone wrapped palm leaves around their heads in the shape of crosses. Ours didn’t look nearly as elaborate as some.
This is the last week of lent for all Christians, but Ethiopians have specific rules about it. Lent in Ethiopia, Christians don’t eat or buy any animal products like meat, eggs, butter, milk, yogurt, cream and cheese.
So, we’re heading up to be with my parents for Easter, but we made sure to find an Ethiopian Orthodox Church so we could attend Easter service- which is Saturday night!
Easter day service starts at 8.00pm on Easter Saturday night and lasts until 3.00 am on Easter Sunday morning! People wear all white clothes called ‘Yabesha Libs’. People have candles made of cotton and wax called ‘twaf’. At 10.00 pm drummers start playing and accompanying the Priests as they chant a prayer.
After the service, people go back to their homes have a breakfast to celebrate the end of Lent with a ‘dabo’ sour-dough bread. It is traditional that the bread is cut by a priest or by the head man in the family.
The main Easter meal is eaten in the afternoon. The meal normally consists of a sour dough pancake called ‘injera’ and it is eaten with a mutton or lamb stew called ‘beg wot’.
So, this is partially how we will be spending our Easter……And I have to remember to bring my camera next time!
Okay kids, today is a history lesson.
Ethiopia has one of the richest and most interesting pasts of almost any other country in the world. So, we need to talk about it.
This is the first of a series like it because Ethiopia has too much history to cover in just one little blog post.
The inner Anthropology dork in me is screaming to touch on the most interesting ( I think) out of all of Ethiopia’s past- Let us go back to the land before time….
Ethiopia is literally the cradle of civilization. It is a physical Anthropologist’s dream because it is covered with facts dating back millions of years. For instance, many people remember the discovery of Lucy (
Australopithecus afarensis) an almost complete skeleton of an ancient bipedal hominid. Did you know she was discovered in Ethiopia? Or that her true name was actually given in Amharic (the language of the people in Ethiopia) ???
Her real name is actually “Dinkenesh,” meaning “You are beautiful” or “you are wonderful”- Of course Americans renamed her something much more American so we could set claim on her.
Also, Did you know that during the reign of the ancient Egyptians they traded with the Ethiopians? The Egyptians referred to Ethiopia as “Punt” and called it “Gods’ land.”
We were told that immigration approval can take up to 90 days (and isn’t that our luck lately?)
We had so much commotion with our lost I600A I have been speaking with officer Pilgrim in the Los Angeles USCIS office almost every day for the last couple of weeks. She has been more than helpful.
I was praying we would be able to get our immigration approval in less than two weeks (even in states that move quickly it averages about four)- this was a long shot…
I spoke with officer Pilgrim a couple of days after we had done our fingerprinting and she said she received clearance. Our immigration approval was in the mail! That means that (God willing) it does not get lost in the mail to us or WACAP we will be approved this week! YAY!!!!!!!!!!
I also found out I am not the only one who loves this orphan officer. Here are some other statements people have made about her:
We needed updated fingerprints for i171h –just the prints, the free ones –I sent in the paper to request but hadn’t heard anything for two weeks and was getting a little nervous because my son is returning to college on 9/20 and would be out of the area. I called and spoke the orphan officer, Cynthia Pilgram, and wow!!! she was so helpful. She took my number and said she’d look through and find ours and call me the next day. Lo and behold, my phone rang at 10am the next day with her saying form was completed and would be mailed out that day. I requested a fax, no problem, in hand 5 mins later!!!
Can you believe it?
If anyone else needs assistance, her number is: (213) 830-5122 and their fax is: (213) 830-8070
We had a similar experience with Officer Pilgram. The LA USCIS office is great!
Cynthia Pilgrim is very very nice and seem thorough. I hope she is able to get our approval done quickly. Does anyone know if she’s new?
More good news- we may be waiting a very short amount of time for a referral.
WACAP sent out their newsletter saying that people requesting older children have been waiting less than a month for a referral! This could be us! YAY!
Our shoes and socks, that is.
Thursday, April 8 it’s time to show off your pedicure.
Tom’s Shoes has started “A Day Without Shoes,” where all of us are supposed to go without shoes to see what it would be like for the majority of children in third-world countries that don’t have shoes.
Even if you can’t do your whole day without shoes they say you should attempt to go for part of the day without them.
- In some developing nations, children must walk for miles to school, clean water and to seek medical help.
- Cuts and sores on feet can lead to serious infection.
- Often, children cannot attend school barefoot.
- In Ethiopia, approximately one million people are suffering from Podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease caused by walking barefoot in volcanic soil.
- Podoconiosis is 100% preventable with basic foot hygiene and wearing shoes.
Tom’s also donates a pair of shoes to a needy child for every pair YOU buy! If they seem a little pricey, just think you’re really buying two pair. Plus, they are really comfortable.
Another random fact- Matisyahu (another Jew that I love) is using his song “One Day” as the theme for “One Day Without Shoes.”
Well, it has been recovered once again.
This time it was lost in the building it was supposed to be at. It was in the building for two weeks before someone noticed!
Finally, the head of the orphans unit went and looked in the filing room herself until she found it!
We should be getting our fingerprinting done this week!…that is if it doesn’t get lost coming to us. I’m going to stay optimistic about it. 🙂
Looks like Brian will be heading to Ethiopia twice in the near future!
Wacap sent out a message on Thursday saying that parents need to appear in court. It is official….
All the bugs haven’t been worked out of the new ruling, but everyone seems to be hopeful that in certain circumstances they will allow a POA for one parent that is unable to travel.
In other news- Our USCIS paperwork is still floating around, but not in the hands of the LA office. This is delaying out biometrics appointment and really slowing our process down.
Good Friday is still good, though.
We understand everything is going to work out and the three of us (and one dog) are all healthy and happy!