After awaking to another early morning, I eventually had success getting online to send out the previous days' updates. Joe and I were ready to go by , and were planning to head to Toukoul for a visit, as usual. However, Ephrim, our guide/driver, didn't arrive until about 9:40, and was determined to show us a CD of pictures he'd taken on the exploratory trip to Awassa he took for us a couple of weeks ago. The pictures and explanations of them took about 45 minutes, so by the time we were ready to leave, it seemed like we didn't have enough time to make our Toukoul visit worthwhile.
Instead we opted to head to a museum Ephrim had wanted to show us, and then swing by AHOPE to drop off donations we had. We went to the museum on the campus of
We grabbed some lunch at the Paradise Restaurant after the museum, and then headed to AHOPE. The directions we'd been given were too vague, but after a phone call to AHOPE, we learned we were very close. We arrived during the children's nap time, so we were shown two rooms of napping children… first the girls room, then the boys room. After giving them the donations, we got to see the nurses' office and the medications for the children, and then Joe had a cup of coffee with the nannies there. The women were all very friendly, and were enjoying a slow Saturday afternoon. We asked a few more questions, and then looked around the facility more before leaving.
Upon arriving at Toukoul, we went in search of someone to bring us Olivia Yodit and Ezra Tewodros. The office was closed since it was Saturday afternoon, so getting the children was a bit more challenging than usual. They also seemed to be behind schedule, because we ended up waiting at least 20 minutes for them before learning Ezra was still working on his bottle. Since we were taking them to our guest house for the afternoon, we agreed to take the bottle with us and get him to eat at the guest house. Once that was agreed, the babies were brought out and handed to us, and we were on our way!
Tewodros quickly began spitting up once we were bouncing down the pothole ridden dirt drive outside of Toukoul. It was the lovely kind where spit up came out his nose and the bouncing seemed to be causing him trouble getting his airways cleared back out. We stopped the car, let him finish and THEN headed to the guest house. It was fun watching Olivia and Ezra starting out the car windows as we drove along. They are definitely VERY curious about their surroundings and were entranced by things we passed by. That helped the car trip be very smooth and fuss free.
As soon as we got to the guest house, we tried giving Tewodros his bottle, with no success. Anything that came out of the bottle he allowed to run down his chin and onto his wet and dirty bib. Since we wanted to get them all cleaned up before heading back to Toukoul we gave up on the bottle for the moment and took them into the bedroom to strip them down and get ready for baths. Ephrim watched Yodit for us while we carefully bathed our little guy. He was definitely shocked by the experience and I felt terrible we didn't have a better way to do it. Joe held him in his lap while I lathered him up. We used the shower head (since it's a hand sprayer style) on low pressure and slowly rinsed him back off. He smelled like a wonderful, kissable new baby once we were done! I quickly wrapped him up and whisked him into the room to be diapered and dressed. He seems to have some sort of very mild a bed sore on his back, so I carefully tried to get that cleaned up. He also has some severe dry scalp or maybe some type of fungus on a small area at the crown of his head. I didn't end up trying anything on it since I'm not sure what to try. We have anti fungal with us, as well as lots of lotions, Neosporin, etc. I'm just not sure what it needs. I think that an area behind his ear, in the area where the back of the ear meets the head might be the same issue, as it was slightly red and flaky with a scabby looking thing. He was really upset and fussy by the time I discovered that, so we'll look at it more closely today. At that point he just wanted his mommy to hold him close and snuggle.
Olivia was a champ during her bath time. No tears before or after. Even with a really sore looking toosh, she had no protests. I think she was glad to be getting so fresh and so clean, clean! We washed her beautiful curls and cleaned her head to toe. I then took her into the bedroom and put her diaper on (thanking my scatterbrain for having remembered the Boudreaux's Butt Paste when I packed!) and covered her in baby Aveeno lotion. I put moisturized her in her and she smelled fantastic. Her and Ezra seemed like whole new babies!
We tried again for a while to try and get Ezra to take his bottle, without success. I'm guessing/hoping it was the shock of the new surroundings and not just my failure at being able to get him to eat. I tried all sorts of positions, trying to focus on keeping him upright to eat since that keeps air out of his tummy and should reduce spitting up. I'd been told there's definitely no bottle propping at Toukoul and all the babies are hand fed, but that's just not true. We actually got to watch some of the babies eating when we explored Toukoul the other day and they were all laying around with bottles propped in their mouths. I'm not sure how else they could manage it anyway with the number of babies they have there.
After my failed attempts at getting Ezra Tewodros to eat, his daddy took him and he quickly fell asleep on his shoulder. I took Olivia BACK into the bedroom for the next torture session…. Or so she thought. We wanted to use some saline nose drops to help with her severe congestion, and had already given Tewodros his drops. I did the drops and followed them up a minute later with some good nasal aspiration. She'd spit up through her nose a moment before we began the nose cleaning, so most of what I got out was spit up, but she looked like she was breathing better when I was finished. In order to clean out Ezra's clogged up little nose, I handed Olivia back to Ephrim (so helpful having a third person around!) and began sucking out Ez's nose while he slept on his daddy's shoulder. He SLEPT THROUGH IT! I was stunned! The most that would happen would be one of his eyes would half open after I would suction, and then it would slowly close again. He is such a cute little guy and it was so great to get his nostrils cleared out. He went from loud snoring to breathing silently after we finished! Hooray! It was a success on both accounts!
By the time this was finished we had to head back to Toukoul. Olivia was asleep on Ephrim when I took her, and she continued sleeping as I held her. Both little angels slept as we carried them to the car, but the sudden wind gust awoke Tewodros as Joe climbed into the front seat. He quietly watched the surroundings as we drove back. When we handed them off to the nannies, Olivia sort of woke up but didn't look to happy about what she was seeing. I didn't hear her cry before we left, but I think it was coming. Poor little angels must wonder what is going on in their world!
We plan to check the babies out for good on Monday or Tuesday, but want to wait and see what the embassy visit brings before making a final decision. We really feel they'll be better off in our care, but with our accommodations being less than desirable also feel that we don't want them to stay with us here too long. So, for now we'll wait and see what Monday brings, and then make a decision. We may go back on the hunt for a hotel if the news isn't good, we just feel we need to wait and see what happens before we make any definite plans.
So that's it for now. I'm starving and need to get ready for the day before Ephrim arrives. Today we plan to visit the babies in the morning, and then do our shopping at the Mercato in the afternoon. We're about out of time for these type trips since we may be taking full custody of the babies as early as tomorrow evening! I'm afraid we won't be making the dinner trip to the lake Ephrim wanted to take us to, or a traditional dinner and dancing, OR the dinner trip up Entoto Mountain… but I care more about having the babies with us than those things, so it's ok. We may sneak one of them in tonight… who knows!
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