Today we pick up the kids and take them to what's known as the gorge. It's similar to the grand canyon. Maybe not quite as big but certainly grand in its own right. It was a few hours drive to get there. As we drive Solomon lets us know that the countryside reminds him of their home, Waliso. It gives me some satisfaction knowing something new about my children. On the way we play games on the iPad and talk and stare out the windows. It is breathtaking. There is a shepherd boy that can't be older than five. I know I often exaggerate (it makes for good writing), but not this time. He is a tiny little thing with some sort of cane whip in his hand and no adult in sight. And you can see for miles out here.
Once we arrive at our destination we eat traditional Ethiopian food. Another joy is watching my kids eat. They're so good at it! I'm admiring myself having not dropped anything in my lap and then it happens. (sigh) The red meaty chili-like substance seeps into the fibers of my new jeans and I glimpse my materialistic nature. I'm seated at a table with one of my best friends and my oldest four children in a landscape of God's amazing artistry and I'm focused on my jeans. Shame on me. I turn my attention back to my kids and won't look at the stain again.
The view is amazing. We are sitting 10 feet from an indention in the earth large enough to lose Rhode Island in. Sorry RI, you always get picked on for being small. Words are lost on moments like this. The food is great. The company is best of all. My kids come alive in the outdoors. Maybe it's the tremendous amounts of pollution in the city. Maybe it's the high walls of the orphanage. I don't know but my heart longs to free them once and for all. Don't get me wrong the orphanage is not a terrible place. It's actually pretty nice by Ethiopian standards. But it's still an orphanage. Dozens of kids but very little room to play. Lots of caring nannies but no parents. It's still an orphanage.
After we were done eating we make our way down to the Portuguese Bridge. It's a bridge built of clay and ostrich eggs over 400 years ago. I don't know. That's what they tell us. It looks like archaic cement to me. It's a rocky walk with changing slopes and shifting stones to get down to it. I take the opportunity to hold my daughter's hand. She is wearing flip flops...so like a girl. Solomon and Yoseph are way ahead of us, scaling the terrain like surefooted mountain goats. We cross the bridge and make our way down to the pools of water. The older boys bound ahead making for some difficult leaps for little Eyasu and flip-flopped Rahel. I am happy to help them across the difficult jumps. I hope they'll always trust papa to help them across the difficult jumps. Rahel reaches down into one of the pools and attempts to splash Solomon and Yoseph. She missed with the majority of the water but it still got their attention. We laughed and frolicked. Frolicking is fun when you have good frolickers with you. No one should frolick alone. Back up to the top and a few last pictures in front of the beautiful gorge and we are on our way back.
Part of the way back I listened to music with Rahel and then moved to sit with Solomon and Yoseph. They fell asleep in my lap. It occurred to me that I don't have enough lap space. I'll have to work on that. We drop them off and head to the guest house and on to dinner at Lime Tree. Donnie will have the veggie pizza and ginger lime tea. I'll try what he had last night, margherita pizza with a sprite to wash it down. It actually took two sprites to wash it down. I don't recommend the pizza at Lime Tree. I tried to redeem the meal buy having piece of cake. Not a good idea. The cake was mealy and dry. If an establishment can't do pizza decently there's a good chance their cakes wouldn't win any awards. Now on to our nightly routine at Jupiter hotel for wifi conversations with friends and family. Donnie will have a pot of coffee and I will drink two glass bottled Sprites. Always a good ending.