The good and the bad...
So the good news is that I arrived alive in Mekelle last night the bad news is that I really didn't think we would make it. There were grown men trembling with fear at the extreme turbulence we underwent. I was in a small plane with 2 seats on each side for a total of about 40 people maybe. Flying over the Great Rift Valley was AMAZING! I can not tell you how breathtaking the topography is. I would recommend EVERYONE take a flight from Addis to Mekele just to go back in time thousands of years and see the primal Africa. When we landed I can not tell you how grateful I was. The pilot seemed to keep flying into the weather as opposed to getting over it, then the landing nearly took off our landing gear and the whole plane started skidding off the runway!! YIKES! Then I got to baggage claim, got my things and no one was there to pick me up. Apparently the dean thought I was going to be in in the a.m instead of p.m. I literally was the LAST person left in the airport with no phone number or phone for that matter. There was only one taxi left b/c he had broken down so I just walked up to him and asked him to take me to Abraha Castle where I am staying. The car was like a bucket of bolts and we could only got about 40 miles an hour the entire way uphill! I thought for SURE that we would be stranded but his car powered on and we made it! I had to call CVM in America to get in touch with the Dean for me since I didn't know when I was supposed to teach, how to get there, nothing.. I was totally in the dark. Luckily a school rep. called me late in the night and told me they'd pick me up in the am (this morning). My hotel room has all the basic necessities but the door is made of steel and there is about a 1.5" gap around the entire frame so snakes, bugs, anything could easily get into my room! I am paranoid about getting in bed with a big snake or spider under the covers! The staff is very nice and the landscaping is beautiful though. I couldn't sleep this morning b/c the Muslim prayers started at about 4am and the Orthodox prayers started as well and it's like they have a contest against each other to see who can pray the loudest. Not good for sleeping. Also one Thursday I started having vision problems. Like with my glasses on I can not see anything up close w'in about 2 feet. I have to take my glasses off to type this now, to look at my camera, to read. it's really freaking me out b/c yesterday I started having dizzy spells. I don't know if it was altitude sickness or what but I need to make an appt. with an ophthalmologist ASAP b/c I don't know how I'll do surgery if I can't see.
I start teaching today at 2:30 and then I've been invited to the local Tim Cat festivities. The Ethiopians celebrate epiphany then. I have to get going since I'm on a professors computer but I just wanted to let everyone know I'm okay aside from the whole vision thing.
Becky Lee Burk