Cris in Ethiopia

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Picked and Pocketed

Posted by Cris on July 4, 2007

We are no longer “mobile”. I got pick-pocketed in the taxi on Saturday, and they took our phone. It was nothing to write home about really: classic distract on one side and steal from the other. The frustrating part is that I was being careful- I was watching my money pocket and bag, forgetting about the other side. Oh well, it was bound to happen sometime. But, in the end, thats all they got: the phone and some of my confidence. Afterwards I was going to the orphanage and I considered not going, just taking the rest of the day off, but I decided that if I didnt go I would look at all Ethiopians as thieves for a lot longer. The kids make me feel good about humanity.

Now we get to wade through the process of finding another “used” phone (read: stolen), getting a SIM card, etc. The SIM card situation could be interesting too, since they may not be selling them now in anticipaton of the Millenium. “But that makes no sense,” you say. “Why would they make real residents who live here second class citizens of the SIM card realm, hoping to sell cards to people who are visiting for the holiday?” Because, as we’ve heard many times, ridiculed, and now sorta come to accept, “This is Ethiopia.” Thats seems to be all the logic needed by

most people here to explain away anything that goes wrong or makes little sense. At the restaurant: “Your menu says the salad has lettuce, tomatoes, avocadoes, and onions. This salad has no lettuce, onions, or tomatoes.” “Sorry sir, this is Ethiopia.”

At the hotel: “Im paying for telephone, television, and hot water. There hasnt been any

of the three for the past three days.” “Sorry,<shrug>, this is Ethiopia.”

Ad infinitum.

Kid news:

At one orphange there is a new baby named Tibebu, or “the wise one.” He was found outsied a hospital and is maybe 2-3 months old. Hes cute and fell asleep on me yesterday. One of my favorite kids from that orphange also left yesterday to go to Chicago and his new family. Ill miss him. He was scared but got happier when I asked him if her was going to “my house,” America. I asked the people who work there how they can do it- see the kids they love and look after leave over and over, and one replied, “Just smile and be happy for them when saying goodbye”. I dont know if Id be able to give as much of myself to each kid after seeing others leave. I guess you do just have to grin and bear it, its better for them in the long run.

Two links to look at:

Africa’s AIDS kids get medicine (;_ylt=AptjHUSjUbblPr9juiZhn3u96Q8F)

Ethiopia’s Gov’t Misbehaves in Ogaden Region (;_ylt=ArqvOpvlUEd1yHc1loKVjr696Q8F)

PS- We dont hear about any of the stuff in this article in Addis, either pro or anti ruling party.


3 Responses to “Picked and Pocketed”

  1. AD said

    Cris, your emotional center is far too expansive to be dangerously reduced with each goodbye. Without the goodbye there wouldn’t be welcoming arms and hearts at the other end. You are providing them with a wonderful jumpstart by giving them your love, which is the greatest gift.

    oh – sorry about the phone.


  2. mom said

    i’m glad all they took was your phone and alittle confidence. it could have been so much more. maybe the next phone will be much better–that’s what they all say here when they update 🙂 as for saying goodbye to the kids, you have enriched their lives–and because of you, when they get to their new home they won’t be so afraid of americans. it’s amazing that our heart is just an organ, but the capicity to love knows no boundries, enjoy the new ones that will benifit from your love and remember the ones that you’ve helped. love mom, xxxooo

  3. Rob said

    Sorry to hear about the phone and the violation of your ‘space’. It doesn’t sound like it’s going to gnaw at you forever – after all it’s just a ‘thing’. Think of how well you will be equipped emotionally if and when you have children of your own! You get to practice letting them go. Something most of us parents had to learn on the job.

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