That’s my blood in that test tube. I know that because my name, እስቴፈን ለዛርድ (Ihstayfen Lezard) is written on the label. After I impressed the attendant with my healthy blood pressure, normal body mass index, and iron-weighted hemoglobin that allowed a droplet of my blood to sink through a copper sulfate solution, I was cleared to donate.
|The blood drive took place in the meeting hall at the center of campus.|
Yesterday was የደም ልገሳ ቀን (Yedem Ligesa Qan), or Blood Donation Day, here at Hope University College. I was slightly concerned about giving blood at 8,000 feet, but I went ahead anyway. I figured it would be a good chance to think about the meaning and symbolism of blood while performing a good deed.
|I insisted on tape that matched my shirt.|
|You don't get into the health profession here without good English skills, but she humored me by speaking Amharic.|
I certainly don't live life anticipating bad attitudes from people about our adoption of Anemo, but when I encounter one, I feel it deeply. The way an Eritrean restaurant owner (not Manna!) wouldn't look at our family directly while he took our order still haunts me. I understand international adoptions are controversial; I would just prefer to live above (or beside) the controversy. And yet I know one of the reasons I am undertaking this project, and living for a few weeks in Ethiopia, is to reduce the controversy somewhat, at least in our particular case. I want to do what I can to be the best case scenario for Anemo. I know I can't win over everyone, but if I've won over Anemo, maybe that's all that matters.
|I looked away too, but I didn't look THAT away.|
|What better to replace a pint of blood than a pint of orange soda?|
So while my ደም will never "course" through Anemo's "veins," I can at least smile at the fact that some Ethiopian, at some point, will receive a pint of my blood, which hopefully will restore that person's life like Anemo has immeasurably restored mine.