The orphanage doesn't allow visitors on Sundays, so me and Baby Sis planned to visit the Hilton Hotel to see if we could send a photo of our new child home from there. We had tried using the Guest House internet, but only succeeded in crashing the computer!! During breakfast one of the Danish sisters asked if we would like to accompany her to an Ethiopian Church that their driver had invited them to go to. At first both sisters were going to go, but the newly adopted little boy had had a rough night and the Mum sister was too tired to go. We leapt at the chance of this experience, as we hadn't done any sightseeing or seen anything apart from the orphanage!
I'm not sure what part of the city the Church was located in, but it was a real Ethiopian family church, not a sightseeing, tourist opportunity. We arrived after the service had started and sat crammed in at the back of the Church. The sermon and singing were all in Amharic, although we were able to recognise some biblical names. The children were all in Sunday School outside, but one very cute little boy was obviously fascinated by the ferenji and kept coming sitting near us and edging closer and closer to the strange people. As soon as he got within touching distance one of the Church Wardens would notice him and haul him back to where he should be lol.
The congregation were obviously very devout and during parts of the service would raise their hands and sway from side to side. On a couple of occassions whatever the Minister said caused some to ululate or shout out. The driver translated some parts of the service for us, but for most of the time we just tried to soak up the atmosphere and the feeling of being in the real Addis Ababa.
I came away from the service feeling profoundly guilty for taking our child away from this loving and devout community and country, although growing up in an orphanage would our child ever get to experience this? I also had a very numb bum as the service was over two hours long, which seems longer when you don't have a clue what is going on!! After the service the driver escorted us back to the car and then apologised that he would have to leave us there while he went to say goodbye to his friends. Once he had gone a skinny and dirty little girl came to the car window telling us she was hungry, it was heartbreaking she really did look starving. The Danish sister gave her some biscuits, which she tucked into with relish.
When the driver dropped us back off at the Guest House he refused to take any payment for taking us to Church, he said it was his duty to go to church and he couldn't take money for that.
The contrast with our Sunday afternoon was stark! We decided we would go over to the Hilton to use their fast internet connection and to swim in their pool. The Hilton grounds were like another world! Our drivers humble, beaten up car looked very out of place next to all the brand new shiny motors around! There was an airport style security scanner at the entrance, but we were waved past it without having to be scanned. The lobby was all marble and posh sofas. We made our way to the business centre and spent half an hour sending emails, checking our social networking sites and updating our blogs! Then we went off in search of the pool.
We hired our towels, got changed and headed for the pool. A pool attendant showed us to a pair of unoccupied sun loungers, and then brought us a parasol. It was so hot that I stayed under the parasol the whole time, I just have to look at a picture of the sun to burn to a crisp!! Baby Sis sunned herself and even braved the pool once. I found the whole experience to be very very uncomfortable. We were sat next to two spoilt teenage English girls (diplomats daughters??) who spent the entire time complaining about their hotel manicure, the state of the bars in Marrakesh or the hotel in general, whilst reading trashy celeb magazines. They were very rude and condescending to the hotel staff and made me want to slap them HARD! Spoilt little rich b*tches! We also saw a parade of guests going to a birthday party on the grounds, and could hear the laughs and squeals of the children as they played the party games.
When it neared the time we'd asked our driver to pick us up, we took turns having a shower. The showers were WONDERFUL :-) Big, hot and powerful!! That sounds rude - but I am definitely talking about showers here!!! We both felt so clean and fresh afterwards :-) Back at the Guest House we both agreed that the shower was great but we weren't sure if it was worth the nauseatingness of the whole day!!