We piled into Gail's SUV and in minutes were honking at the gate at Layla House. The gate opened and we rolled down the little slope into the parking spot. There was a group of kids down in the soccer area by the little wall, and from that group I saw Terefu's head poke up, and she sprinted off towards the other half of the compound.
We got out, and there was Samuel (Alemayehu) standing right there. He jumped into my arms and gave me a little boy's bear hug. Not a bad start.
After a few moments I handed him to Lisa, and walked around to the other side of the car just in time to see Terefu come running back around the corner and up the ramp to us. She didn't even break stride and sprinted right into my arms, where she put her head in my chest and started to sob. Wow. I could have stayed right there all day. It felt like she cried out every moment we had been apart since March.
When she stopped crying, I passed her to Lisa, and then Asher was there for his bear hug. Then I think we all huddled for a long group hug, with lots of smiles, and kisses and a tickle or two.
From there it was off to each of their classes (what they call bedrooms) to get their things. Terefu kept her arm around me the whole time we walked around Layla. I was not expecting this affection right away, but it was as if she were attached to Lisa and I right from the first moment.
Then after the customary round of hugs and kisses to say goodbye to EVERYONE at Layla, we were back in Gail's SUV and headed back to the guest house.
We got the kids some of their things to try on, and a toy or two out for the boys.
Then Terefu sat us both down on the bed, and gave us some gifts. A scarf knitted for each of us, bracelets she had bought at the church bazaar, a millenium bracelet for me, and things for the kids at home.
We hung out for a while, and then headed up the road to Adam's Pavillion to have lunch at the Paradise Garden, where I had my first meal with Marta in December. She wanted me to bring her home some of the doro tibs, but the best I could do was a picture of Terefu about to eat them instead.
Denise parted ways with us, and we walked back towards the guest house in the rain. Part way back we stopped for machiattos and chai at the cafe where Layla gets the pastry for the going away parties, and then finished walking as the rain let up.
We went back to Layla later in the afternoon for a visit and to hug and kiss everyone on the way in and again on the way out. Don't ever expect to make a quick visit, as the greeting and goodbye take atleast an hour.
It was good to see the children who are still there from my March visit, and exciting to see that there are so many new faces. So many kids have made the long flight to the US to be with their families.
Lisa got to meet some of the kids she has heard about, and seen so many pictures of. She got to hug and greet Marta's old friends Rahel and Tsion, meet Meron and her sisters, and so many other children. She is such a kid person that they were all over her in no time.
Terefu got to play mailperson, and handed out all of the letters we took to deliver to children from their families waiting for them at home. It is an exciting time for everyone, and also a hard time for those without families yet. It is both something for them to look forward to, but the waiting is difficult for some.
The boys played like crazy and got hugs from many friends and house mothers.
On the walk back to the guest house we stopped for pizza, and had a fun dinner beginning to figuring out who these 3 new kids are and what family life will be with them in the mix.
Once home (for a few days atleast) the boys got to discover what taking a bath is all about. It was obviously something new for them, as they had no idea what to do with a tub full of water. Once convinced to not get in with all of their clothes on, and bargained with to atleast get into swim suits, they were all over it.
That bathroom may never be the same.
Speaking of this bathroom, this was my second time staying in this room, and I didn't even know there was a bathroom with a tub off of this room. Mary and I stayed there and shared the other bathroom with Ted and others, not knowing that there was a bathroom right through the doors that look like part of the closet! I couldn't believe it.
Oh well, atleast I know for the next trip.
Oh well, atleast I know for the next trip.