The Weather Is Going to be Frightful and Guest House Dilemma

We got a little bit of snow over the weekend. Just enough to make everything white, but not enough to shut anything down. However, Mr. and Ms. Weatherperson are now telling us that we’ll get a little more snow this afternoon, but by Wednesday we’ll be getting ice, followed by a lot of rain, followed by a little snow on Christmas Day. Ice! I hate ice! Unless it’s in my glass of water, tea or soda. But the ice outside that you’re expected to walk or drive on is what I hate.

As a result of the forecast, Lili and I decided to go do some shopping. The fridge has enough food to get us through the week, including Christmas dinner and my plan is to spend the rest of the week enjoying the comforts of home. I suppose that’s the good thing about hearing the word ‘ice’ come out of Mr. and Ms. Weatherperson’s mouth. It forces me to jump ahead of the game a bit.

Speaking of jumping ahead of the game, I’ve become a little obsessed with our future trip to Ethiopia. Obviously I’m obsessed with when we’ll get our court date and when we’ll finally travel, but I’ve been putting a fair amount of thought into where we will stay in country.

Many agencies have guest houses for their traveling families to stay at while in country. Our agency is no exception. Technically, the guest house is owned by Toukoul, not the agency, but it is there for the traveling families adopting from Le Toukoul orphanage. Our agency would actually prefer that families stay there, but it’s not required. As a result though, it seems like a great option for us. My problem is the cost. To stay at the orphanage for one week will cost us between $1100 – $1200. This does include 3 meals, drinks, transportation to the Embassy appointment, to Le Toukoul and babysitting at the guest house if needed. However, there are other guest houses in Addis Ababa that are considerably less expensive. And when I say less expensive I mean like $500+ less expensive for the week with the only difference being maybe 2 meals per day instead of 1, with the 3rd meal costing $5 per person and we would have to pay for transportation. However, even those additional expenses don’t add up to $500. Then there is the fact that many Toukoul adoptive families will be staying at the Toukoul Guest House and there is something to be said about sharing the experience with those other families. Still, is it worth the additional money? I mean after all, the primary purpose of our trip will be meeting our baby girl for the first time, getting to know her, getting to know a little bit about Ethiopia, go to our Embassy appointment and then bring her home.

What is your opinion? To those who have stayed at Toukoul Guest House, was it worth the cost? Would you have had less of an experience had you stayed elsewhere? To those who will be traveling in the future, what are your thoughts and plans?


  1. I want to stay there in hopes it gives back to the orphanage in some way. I also like that it comes with everything. The less I have to worry about and plan, the better. We will let you know what we think when we get back. I have heard pros and cons both ways. Plus I love getting connect to the other families…it makes for nice reunions and people for our kids to know

  2. We enjoyed our stay at the Guesthouse, everyone was really nice and it was wonderful to spend time with the other families. However, I would check to see if you are at the hotel or guesthouse… the guesthouse looked more family friendly.. I think you can get suites and they have a little playground. The hotel didn't really have much of a place for the kids to play… That said, the kids seemed to have no trouble playing soccer in the street.

  3. I cannot offer much as far as the guest house. I hope you have a white Christmas with NO ice. After our ice storm last year, I have empathy for ANYONE who has that in their forecast!

  4. Absolutly the guest house. One thing that truly surporised me was that Ethiopia was like a different planet. So, simple needs like and additional meal are not as easy to come by as you would think. The bonds that we made with the three other families were priceless. The only thing I would suggest is to request the actual Guest House vs. the Hotel that they recently purchased, it has a much more "homey" feeling. Also, having the drivers there was wonderful. Just having a chance to meet these amazing individuals and to learn about their life aka life as an Ethiopian, once again priceless.

  5. My cousin who adopted 2 years ago stayed at The Cozy Place (technically Mr. Martin's Cozy Place, I think) and swears by it. You can get a driver through them, apparently, and she said the whole experience was just warm and wonderful. Google them. They are online. I think we are going to stay there at least part of the time.

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