Monday, March 10, 2008

What should life be all about?

Written by Amy, Thurs afternoon March 6 …sometime in Ethiopia, Dubai

While in Dubai all the tourists make a go at an authentic “desert safari.” Not wanting to miss out, we decided to do the same. *After spending the morning on Wednesday wandering around, doing some shopping, we all took a much needed nap. We had to drag the girls out of bed a couple hours later to head off on our safari into the desert.Okay … so the safari started off with a Land Cruiser “Sand Bashing” through the desert. Sand Bashing basically means you are hauling you know what through the desert and over the sand dunes. I have no idea how we didn’t get sick. Kendalyn was shrieking the whole time because she thought it was great … Sasha was asking when we could go back home. She’s asked that question a lot over the past few days. *After we finished bashing through the desert, we were able to try our hand at Sand boarding, which is basically snowboarding on the sand. Pete tried … I’m not as adventurous. The girls sat in the sand and played. It was hard to believe we were actually in the middle of the desert in the Middle East. The sand is beautiful, about the color of terra cotta pots. After sand boarding we headed off to the camp for camel riding (we’ll try to post pictures) and a BBQ dinner. Kendalyn was even able to belly dance on stage … her current favorite part of the trip. Overall, it was a great day. Full, but great. Dubai is a huge place … we were not able to even see a fraction of it in the time we had, but we’re glad we were able to be there. I (Amy) had a huge moment when Kenni was on stage dancing. This journey of following God has really allowed us to live some major dreams. It really is true that God gives you the desire of your heart when you follow Him. There we were, with our daughters in the middle of the Emirate desert. I pray every day that our girls will be globally minded … and I pray that this trip is only a piece of that.Plane ride to EthiopiaWell, the plane ride to Ethiopia from Dubai was not quite as good as the first one. We had to be at the airport at 6 am … but our driver was running kind of late. The rest of the world does not run on American time! *Because we were late, we had to run all the way across the airport (like 15 miles, I think) in order to get our plane. Arriving at the gate, with not much time to spare (and having not eaten anything that day so far) we spend the rest of our Durham (Emirate money) at Starbucks on breakfast. Yes … Starbucks is in Dubai.Sasha caught some sort of cold the last couple days, so she spent the first half of the trip coughing up a lung. We were the Airborne commercial. * I could just see the people around us cringing as she is coughing and coughing.About the time Sasha fell asleep, Kendalyn threw up all over herself (and her seat, and the seat in front of her and the floor and all her bags). I can honestly say, I have never seen that much vomit in all my life. So, now the guy across from us that was glaring about the coughing is only wishing the coughing was his biggest worry. So, with antibacterial wipes and the help of the very gracious airline staff, we cleaned up Kendalyn (and her surroundings), stripped her of her clothes and wrapped her in a blanket (note to self … bring extra clothes next time!). She was fine after that … watched some tv and got annoyed when I would not let her eat anything. * Kids. She had no idea about what was going on around her. Nor did she care really. We would all be better off if we didn’t care so much about people around us. So, here we are …getting off the plane… with Kendalyn wrapped in 2 Emirate Airlines blankets and Sasha crying about how she wants to go home. We apply for our visas and wait for our luggage. Our driver (thank you Bingham for arranging a great driver) picks us up and takes us to the SIM guesthouse for our first weeks’ stay. ------------------------------

Saturday March 8, 2008 –

Pete is somewhere in Addis Ababa, EthiopiaAs most of you know, our family is here in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to pick up our son Tariku Daniel Zipf. We flew out of JFK last Monday and had an uneventful flight into Dubai United Arab Emirates. I think Sasha had the best of the 12 hour flight as her 4 yr old self stretched out nicely into the chair that reclined a half inch. We were just a tad groggy as we stumbled off the plane to locate our luggage. When our bags piled up, I started looking around for a couple camels to load up... but the carts had to do while we searched for our very gracious driver from our hotel... We had a hard time finding him at first - I don't know if it was because I couldn't see over the luggage I was rolling, or that I couldn't read 'Zipf' in Arabic. We ventured around Dubai on Wednesday via a sand-dune-blasting Jeep and on Camels... and then on Thursday morning took off for Addis Ababa. Since the first flight went so smoothly, we expected an even better flight to Ethiopia... it was --except that Sasha woke up with a hacking cough she's still trying to kick... and for Kendalyn's projectile expelling of the entire contents of her stomach all over the isle and the seat in front of her in a matter of seconds - all at 35000 ft...However the Emirates flight crew were so helpful ... even helping us wrap up Kenni in a couple blankets and cleaning off the crevasses of the dinner tray in front of her. Shortly after Kenni's things were plastic bagged, we touched down in Addis Ababa and were brought here to the Missionary Guest house where we will stay for a few days while we serve at an international school, and bring donations to A Hope Orphanage - for Children with AIDS. Next Thursday night we will meet Tariku for the first time, then on Friday morning we will start our journey back home to CT, and arrive via Air Emirates at JFK Airport on Saturday March 22 at 0745 EST.The last few days have been good to get acclimated and adventure out a bit around the Guest House. I wish every one of you could see, hear and experience this. This environment forces you to put your life into perspective. Your whole life. -- What is most important? What should life be all about? How should we communicate that? How should we live that out? I think I could speak for the EHBC Leadership team in this... God has big things in store for all of us at EHBC... what are we willing to do to accomplish His mission? I know I have some more assessing to do. To those of you that have helped us in SO many ways to get to this stage... We don't have the adequate words to express our gratitude. The dinner that was put together for us last Sunday night was incredibly powerful and so special - that, and the cards and notes have further confirmed our desire for Tariku to grow up with you as a special part of his life. This journey would never be the same with out you!We love you and we'll see you soon! PS -- For those of you that are attempting to stay current with our adventures via our blog site ( ) I've had to find a creative way of getting around the block that the Ethiopian Govt puts on blog sites... just stay tuned and it'll be updated as we are able. ;)No Reserve, No Retreat, No Regret...Pete for the Girls… and Tariku!


  1. My two are prolific writers. I loved the story ({Im glad it ws YOU) about Kendalyn's experience on the plane to Eithiopia. I have a few horror stories of our cross country flight from IL to PA in the truck/car with four boys, bikes on top...and every living creature in the car, including Emily the ginnea pig. Thank God she didn't get sick!

    I love your blogs...keep them coming. We're praying SO much for you! We're all great here...and looking forward to seeing you soon. Love, Mom

  2. All I can say is; Where's a barf bag when you really need one? Some things are just so much fun!

  3. WOW - thanks for all of these cool updates! about getting past blocked sites, have you tried a proxy site? There are a bunch - ella says is the best one, but if you google proxy sites, you can get a list of others.

    we really can't wait to read more & to meet your new baby. wish so much that we could have been around for what sounds like an awesome send-off for you guys!

    wish you had some video of the kenni-projectile vomit episode....or at least the guy's expression (the bothered one next to you!) - THAT would be classic you-tube footage!!!

    love you guys alot,
    denise for the keelers


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