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Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Bethlehem and Tidesse and some tiny animals
So today, Tidesse (11) and Bethlehem (3) were over at our house to say hello and hang out for a bit. It's great fun having them over because they always like to do whatever we're doing. Today, for example, Ali had some coconut oil/paste out and was moisturizing her hands. Tidesse and Bethlehem were curious about it, so she let them use some. Tidesse understood what was going on, and rubbed it into her hands, legs and elbows. Bethlehem, on the other hand, just rubbed and rubbed and rubbed until her tiny hands were SUPER oily. Then she started rubbing the oil onto our arms like a little masseuse! Very cute. A little while later, Ali brought out a monkey puppet that she had brought with her from America. The reaction was unexpected - Tidesse RAN out the door and up the driveway screaming because she thought the monkey was real, and Bethlehem just stood there and laughed and laughed! Eventually we got Tidesse to come back to the house and showed her that the puppet wasn't real. Once she figured that out and learned how to control its arms and legs and mouth, the game was on. She wanted to take it up to show her mother, so off on an adventure we went! Her mother, Simay, had quite a few other ladies from the village over for coffee, and they all screamed when they saw the puppet! One even threw a can at it! Tidesse of course thought this was hilarious, and the noise brought the other kids over to Simay's. Every single one of them - boys and girls - saw the monkey, stopped in their tracks, and turned around and ran as fast as they could in the opposite direction!  Tidesse, being the kind older sister she is, started chasing them with the puppet and making monkey noises. Eventually one of the boys got brave enough to come a little closer and then quickly reach out and try to touch it. When he felt the plush fur, he snatched his hand back and ran away again! Eventually all but one of the boys figured out that it wasn't real and then they all wanted a turn to play with it. It was quite a sight seeing everyone from tiny children up to adults and grandparents freak out about a puppet! I can understand though - if you've never seen a puppet before and don't know how it works, it would be pretty scary! It was very funny though.

After the puppet incident, we were invited to stay for coffee at Simay's, then went for tea at another lady's house.  From there, we moved to a nearby field where the grownups, Julie and Ali played soccer and I did gymnastics with the littler kids. They know cartwheels, handstands and somersaults pretty well, and everyone was VERY impressed with my one-handed cartwheel and my ability to walk on my hands. It was really fun to watch them try to imitate me! They were all really excited to see what I could do, and to show me their tricks. We all had a great time. It's so much fun being a part of this community - they really take care of us and treat us like family. We are always included in their games and social activities, and receive more invitations for tea, coffee, beer and supper than we know what to do with! They don't like our food all that much (except the kids when it's sweets like banana bread or cookies) so it's hard to reciprocate, but everyone seems to have a good time. So nice to be part of the group instead of isolated because we are foreigners! They appreciate our feeble attempts at Amharic, are always curious about what we're doing, and seem to honestly enjoy spending time with us. It's wonderful!

That's it for today. We've got a lot of house work to do - inventorying hormone supplies, entering data, updating the demography, etc etc - and have spent the majority of the day relaxing instead of working. oh well!

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