Wednesday January 20, 2010
I remember a few things about this day. It was kinda crazy. First, we needed to leave an hour earlier than planned, and Mr. T did not want to wake up that morning. By this point, I was no longer sweating the small stuff. I got myself ready and figured if he goes in his PJ's so freaking what.
Timkat was the next day and two days of celbration were planned. It was unknown exactly when our papers would be ready. We were already arriving a day earlier than was the normal schedule and now an extra hour had been built in as well.
The host staff including our American guide, the House Manager and bus driver were all - noticeably, shaken. As we got closer to the Embassy- it seemed to get more tangible. Struggling to find a place to drop us off, close to the embassy, the bus finally stopped. We were told to carry our kids and cover their heads if possible. Ato Girma, did not get off the bus. "No. I can not." was the only explanation.
In the crowded waiting area- there were many many many Ethiopian peoples, waiting for their name to be called. Hoping they would be granted an entry visa to the US. As I waited with them, I imagined why each wanted to leave this place? I was torn in going back myself. It was supposed to be this great proud day- that my son comes to the US- and at the same time- I was so incredibly conflicted.
Pushing my own undercurrents aside- we marched forward.
As the Ethiopians all waited. We were escorted one family at a time to a specific window just for us. This is where I first saw a touch of his charming flirty personality. There was no Shyness. He looked at the lady- knew she was in charge and started flirting.
He received his entry visa that day. I only wish immigration in Detroit had been that simple.
It would be poetic to look at this picture and say they were looking back to the care center and yammering away at what they were leaving behind. Perhaps it is what they were talking about but... they were looking at the trucks. There was construction going on in the valley just below us and along with the hand labor there was a digger and a dump truck. And well- boys. They watched this action for days! If any recent travelers have an updated photo of what it looks like now- I'd love to see it!
The other thing I notice- is how 'fragile' they looked back then. They were about the same height, but Mosey had a wider build. He even looked stronger. He was. And he is. Tegs hair lighter. Permanently changed. He carried this big pot belly of infection and sugar milk that his body didn't know what to do with.
But now- Teg towers over his friend. He is gaining strength, but it is a long slow processes. His skin is brighter, no longer tinged yellow. Gone is the fragile look. Only noticeable now when you touch him and joints pop, snap and flesh feels like jello. I am realizing that it will be some time before he has caught up physically with his peers. He may be a teen-ager or young man before the effects of malnutrition and Kwashiorkor are no longer visible with the eye.
Sadly. I'm also learning that the scars, the ones that are not visible, will never completely heal. It crushes me. And now we turn toward learning how to live. LIVE with these things as an ever present part of our lives.