Tuesday, May 10, 2011

One of Us

Our phone rang this morning telling us that we can buy the tickets. MOWA submitted in court Monday a favorable letter. Considering the recent slowdown, this letter being added to our case is huge, and we are very thankful.

There was a buzz of energy in the house this morning after the phone rang. I confirmed our guest house reservations. We are still trying to nail down the right flight. My traveling buddy is in Los Angeles, so that makes things more complicated.

Abe went to school, and I went to work. I was finally able to tell the clients at my job the dates that I'll be in Addis Ababa, where many of them have relatives. An interpreter came to the community room at my workplace to make sure we weren't losing any vital phone numbers or dates. She explained to them why I was going, where I would be staying, how long I'd be gone.

I will be taking photos and letters and I'm not really sure what else to give to their relatives for them. One of our clients, with a huge smile and opened arms said that she had nothing to give her family so she just wished me safe travels and to come back to them soon.

Another client broke down in tears, saying he had nothing to give his son, the one who used to support him in Oregon but has since been deported. I pray I get to meet him anyway, just to look him in the eye and say how much we love having his father in our program. I want to tell him stories about his father in Oregon. I pray this happens.

Another client's wife is on her deathbed in a hospital in Addis. He asked me to visit her for him. I will try my best to do so.

I will be staying in the same neighborhood where the daughter of one Eritrean client lives and works. He is going to call her and arrange a meeting for us. He is the one who reminds me most of what Abe might look like when he's in his 70s. Of course, he's incredibly handsome.

Our other Eritrean client began speaking to the interpreter in Tigryna. He spoke for a a long time. He kept locking eyes with me. My friend and interpreter told me that he was explaining that he knows how much I love them, that they consider me a sister, that I am "one of them." He wished me safe travels and to come back soon.

I have had a lot of wonderful moments in this job, but this moment may be the one I treasure most.

I leave next week. I'll be carrying their hearts with mine as I go.
"Caring for our seniors is perhaps the greatest responsibility we have. Those who walked before us have given so much and made possible the life we all enjoy" - John Hoeven


Katie said...

Wow-what a privilege to work where you do! Congratulations on your court date!!!

Danni and Tommy said...

You are beautiful Lori and the perfect heart carrier :)

Your news has filled my day with such happiness. Knowing you will meet your girl in just days. AHH! Such happiness.

Shasta said...

Lori, I'm so happy to hear the good news about your court date! Your post had me in tears. What an honor to be a sister to such wonderful people. You'll do a great job carrying their hearts back to Addis.

Abby/Roger said...

Congratulations on such blessed news!! Really, really wonderful. And what a privilege it must be to carry messages back to Ethiopia to loved ones. Can't wait to hear more about Little Bee and see her beautiful picture.

Sara said...

Oh, my goodness!! How special that your trip will have so many wonderful moments. Happy packing!

The H Family said...

So enjoyed this post, both for the fabulous court news (congratulations!!) and the love that you'll be taking with you. Safe travels, and have a wonderful trip.

It Feels Like Chaos said...

Yay!!! So happy to hear you are cleared for travel and will get to meet your Little Bee next week! The description of your clients and the messages they want to send to their loved ones in Ethiopia brings tears to my eyes, just so sweet!

Christina said...

What wonderful news, Lori. Enjoy meeting your little girl at long last. I'll admit to being disappointed that our trips won't overlap, at least not this time. It would be lovely to meet you in person. Wishing you safe travels.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely extended family you have. As I read your stories I have this picture of in my head of this amazing community of support that you have built all around the world with your love and openness. Not bad for an introvert. Safe travels to you and Susan. Pattie VZ

Anonymous said...

So happy you are going NEXT WEEK. And thinking about the soft landing Little Bee will have when she finally gets here and has a huge extended family of grandparents who will speak her language. I know, I know, we are NOT supposed to say it - but I think that is a lucky thing.

Meg said...

Congrats! We leave for Ethiopia next week as well--not sure if our MOWA letter is there or not! I love hearing about your work. What a gift...thank you for sharing.