Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hello? Salam?

We called Ethiopia yesterday. Five different numbers.

Have I told you our daughter unearthed phone numbers for every known relative that had a phone? First, we had her translate what was written, who the person was and their number. We told her we'd call "soon." I wanted her to be comfortable enough in our home that she wouldn't tell them we were horrid people who only ate cheese and white sauces and were starving her to death with our protein laden meals. I wanted her to be fluent enough in English that she could tell us what they talked about. And I wanted her to still be proficient in her native tongue, so she could talk.  As recently as three weeks ago she was asking to call them.

Yesterday, when we offered, she said, "Maybe tomorrow."

Nope, today's the day, chica.

We called her mother's number first. We got a message telling us the phone had been "turned off." Well....what does that mean? Powered off? Ran out of minutes, off? Disconnected? Several calls, same message.
So we started down the list. One number connected, but we couldn't hear them.
Two numbers connected, but they couldn't hear us. Or couldn't understand. We just kept yelling, "Iris" and "America" and her mother's name, over and over. They both ended up hanging up on us.

Iris just shrugged and asked if she could go play now. She claimed she had no idea what they were saying and had no idea how to say, "Hello! This is Iris, daughter of XXXX, in America," in Tigrinya anymore.

Does she or doesn't she? It hasn't been all that long since she was still trying to talk to her friends in her language. But for the last week, she's been info-dumping on us. Horror stories, the likes of which you hope are made up, but probably aren't. Death and death and death. Bad people and fighting and death. It's almost as if she's going to tell us all about it, and then put it behind her. Brent thinks we need to view it less as truth and more as therapy. Did she really witness all that? Did she just hear the stories of some of it and pass them on? We may never know.

What I do know is that I don't know enough.
And my precious child has decided she's home.

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