Ethiopia

October 7, 2012

I’m here! I’m in Ethiopia. And it’s entirely unlike how I pictured it. The weather, the mountains and the lush greenery all remind me of Southern California. I had no idea!

Karen Walrond, the trip photographer, met each of us at the airport as we came from baggage claim. I didn’t know she was coming and love seeing these candid shots of how happy I was to arrive here. I am still that happy to be here!

Knowing there would be a photographer traveling with us, I purposely didn’t pack my big camera and instead, plan on depending on my iPhone. Feel free to follow along on Instagram (I’m gabrielle_designmom) if you’d like to see more of this adventure.

I had my first (of sure to be many) embarrassing story on the airplane. I sat by a friendly fellow that asked me if Addis Ababa was my destination or just a stopover. I asked him the same question and he said he was headed to his home in Djibouti. He asked me if I’d heard of it and I said, “No. It’s a city in Ethiopia?” And he said, “No, it’s a country. Near Somalia and Eritrea and Ethiopia.”

A country? How did I miss a whole country? Sigh.

This week, I’m in Ethiopia at the kind invitation and expense of The ONE Campaign, a nonpartisan, advocacy organization dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty and malnutrition, particularly in Africa. ONE works to convince governments to invest in smart programs that save lives. While here, I’m with a group of parenting bloggers to observe how the organizations for which ONE advocates are effecting real change in Ethiopia.

ONE doesn’t ask for your money, just your voice. If you’re moved by anything you read or see here, or on the ONE blog, please consider adding your voice, and join ONE by filling out this form. Your information will remain confidential.

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{ 2 trackbacks }

ONE | ONEMoms in Ethiopia: Arrival and first impressions
October 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm
Something to think about this Christmas ... | nomorepastrami
October 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christy@SweetandSavoring October 7, 2012 at 10:18 am

Wow, what a great organization and a fascinating trip this must be for you! It’s always be one of my dreams to spend time in Africa (hoping I can make that a reality once I become a nurse), so I’m excited to hear more about this :) Soak it up as much as you can!

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2 sil October 7, 2012 at 10:49 am

How great! Addis is a great and vibrant city! I re-met my husband there and we always want to go back with our son. Ethiopians are one of the most generous people I know. It is good to see that bloggers can cooperate also with good NGO’s like ONE. Thre is so much to do there.
Be patient with beggars, it is really hard, I know.

Have a nice coffee ceremony!

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3 Jennifer F. - American Mom in Bordeaux October 7, 2012 at 11:48 am

Wow, so excited to hear about your trip. I will definitely follow on instagram. It should be very interesting. Such a poor country – I would imagine you will learn so much!! Don’t be too embarrassed by not knowing Djourbti – I would have missed that too…I think unfortunately Americans don’t learn as much World geography as we should! Have fun!

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4 Amy October 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Your Geography mistake made me smile. My (U.S.) ninth grade World Civilizations teacher made us memorize all of the countries and capitals of Africa(along with their locations on the map!). I thought it was the most ridiculous assignment ever. Djibouti is one of the few I still remember because its capital is Djibouti(and it’s fun to say). If only I was an international woman of mystery like yourself…

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5 Mom101 October 7, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Why do you look so good after landing? That’s so not fair.

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6 Sherri October 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I’m already a member of ONE. Great organization. Will be following your trip on Instagram :).

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7 Tasha October 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I’m so happy for you…no doubt you will gain so much, yet we know you will give of yourself as well. Bless you and this trip♥

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8 Shannon { A Mom's Year } October 7, 2012 at 8:31 pm

What a great photo! You look so excited. I love your description of Ethiopia. Can’t wait to read all about the trip. (And I joined ONE!)

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9 allysha October 7, 2012 at 8:54 pm

You look so happy and beautiful! I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time.

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10 Cheltz October 7, 2012 at 9:41 pm

I once watched a documentary about Africa, and was very surprised at how beautiful Ethiopia is. Who knew? I mean I guess I’m a jerk for assuming the whole, entire continent was either the Kalahari or Sahara desert :).

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11 Azra October 7, 2012 at 9:51 pm

You look so happy.

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12 Brenna @ Almost All The Truth October 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm

That photo of you surely shows the epitomy of pure joy. I love ONE and hope this trip is amazing for all involved.

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13 Stephanie October 7, 2012 at 11:44 pm

You look so gorgeous in that candid!

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14 Gina October 7, 2012 at 11:47 pm

I will follow carefully! What an experience!!

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15 Sarah October 8, 2012 at 7:19 am

I took a brief look at their website, and it’s hard to tell exactly what is accomplished by signing up to become a “one mom”. Perhaps you already have plans to elaborate, but a future post about exactly what a stay-at-home mom in the US can do through this organization would be great.

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16 Maria @ Busy as a Bee in Paris October 8, 2012 at 7:48 am

How fun! Gretel Patch lived in Djibouti for a few years! And I believe their little boy they adopted from Ethiopia, if I’m not mistaken. But I could be mistaken. I think I’d probably outdo you in geography mistakes! bisous

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17 elz October 8, 2012 at 8:16 am

Djibouti is my girls favorite Afrcian country! 3 years ago my then 1st grader had to learn ALL the countries of the world and their placement and brought home the gem of Djibouti to share with her sister. They say it all the time; it is apparently quite hilarious. I don’t mind too much, as long as they are learning. I’m surprised none of your kids found it as funny when they learned African countries in school.

Have an amazing trip. Karen is one of my favorite people ever.

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18 Jen I October 8, 2012 at 9:20 am

How fantastic! Have a great trip. Be careful – Ryan stayed there in one of the nicest hotels and got bed bugs. I met him at the door with a big trash bag and just threw his backpack and all it’s contents away! He also got his wallet stolen. Oh, and I’m sure did great things too like help a lot of people regain vision. And went to some stone churches(?) that he said were one of the most amazing things he’s ever seen. Have a great time!

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19 findingmagnolia October 8, 2012 at 10:00 am

I recognize that hotel walkway! We stayed at a small guest house during our month in Addis to adopt our sweet Zinashi, but we walked that same path many times when we wanted reliable Internet service. I’ve got many good memories of walking the grounds, keeping our busy three year old occupied.

Ethiopia is special to us because both of our daughters are Ethiopian (our second, Elvie, came home with us just three months ago), but it is a marvelous place regardless of whether you have personal connections there. I hope your visit is amazing.

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20 Ann October 8, 2012 at 10:43 am

I think you should get a compassion badge! What a beautiful opportunity! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

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21 Robin k October 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Just signed up. You’re amazing and wonderful, Gabby!

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22 Laura October 9, 2012 at 9:17 am

Here’s a frivolous comment after the serious ones. . . where did you get that shirt? So unique yet classic! The whole outfit for that matter, including the simple necklace!?? Maybe you won’t have time to answer, but if you do, I’d love it!

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23 Sara October 9, 2012 at 10:46 pm

We live in Ethiopia! In Addis Ababa so this makes me smile that you are getting to experience what is our home town. We work with the US Embassy here. It’s a wonderful country, great food, warm beautiful children. You just missed Meskel which is the most amazing Ethiopian Orthodox Christian celebration.

http://www.ouryuppielife.blogspot.com/2012/09/ethiopian-meskel-celebration.html

Have a wonderful trip. I hope you get out of Addis as the countryside is just wonderful!

Sara

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24 jen October 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I understood the capital of Djibouti to be Djibouti [city.] So, for the record, I’m pretty sure it is a CITY as well as a country. It was a long standing question/joke of a college friend of mine. Trivia stuff…

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25 Gretel Patch October 13, 2012 at 10:50 am

We had the unexpected adventure of calling Djibouti home for two whole years before adopting our son from Ethiopia.

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26 Rachel October 28, 2012 at 10:38 am

We adopted our lovely daughter from Ethiopia. It is an amazing country. We absolutely fell in love with it during our stay. I know you will too!

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