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.

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