Monday, February 1, 2010

Trip to ET Day 1

Trip to Ethiopia

Day 1 - Spent from Wednesday at 10:00am till Thursday at 9:40pm in the air or in airports - YUCK. This trip is really torture. Ethiopian Air has NO seating room and my legs are swollen to the size of tree trunks and feel numb. At Dulles airport in Washington D.C I would up being on a shuttle bus with a woman that attends Holy Redeemer (our church in Aledo). Isn’t that wild!! I mean we likely have around 400 people that attend mass regularly so to see someone else from Holy Redeemer was quite a treat.
While waiting in line to check into ET Air I met a couple adopting a 2 year old and it just made me miss my little guy even more. I remember the anxiety and lack of patience and just wanting to hold my baby. Luckily they don’t have to wait long and get to meet their son tomorrow.
I also acted as Jesus’ model of servant on the flight to Addis b/c I was sitting by an elderly woman who apparently has Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Hypertension, kidney disease and just had 2 major surgeries. I know this because 1. I became her caretaker for the flight. I had to get out her medicines and give them to her (which is why I know her medical info), 2. She kept moaning so I had to check her incisions/drain tubes (2 in the chest and 1 in the neck) 3. She spoke NO English so I had to read a note that was pinned to her and tell the stewardesses that she could only drink water and could only eat vegetables. 4. She couldn’t get up from her seat so I had to sort of act as a pulley and try and use my weight to counter hers to get her up and moving. 5. She kept trying to open metal and plastic containers by stabbing them repeatedly with her plastic fork. I would simply lift the lids off for her but she never quite got it so eventually the stewardess would just hand me her tray and I’d get everything set out for her to eat.
Since I am traveling alone I think people assumed that I was traveling as her caretaker for the flight b/c no one else really offered to help. For the life of me I’m not sure why the airline would put her in a center seat in the most crowded part of the plane.
And I don’t want this to come across as whining or poor me, on the contrary though it was trying at times I was happy to be there to help her and would hope that if she were my mother/grandmother someone across the world would do the same.
On another note… Ethiopian women are gorgeous! Wow, the stewardesses and ladies on my flight were sooo pretty. I swear to you that by the time the plane landed I looked like I hadn’t showered in a week. My hair was all greasy, I’d washed my face twice in the plane sink trying to get a bit refreshed, my eyes were bloodshot from exhaustion and yet the young woman sitting in front of me looked phenomenal. I don’t know how she did this but I SWEAR that she had the same amount of lip gloss on at the end of the flight as she did at the beginning and I never saw her reapply! I was watching since I was stunned the entire time at her freshness. How do they do it? The other white people I saw on the plane were about as bedraggled as myself which made me feel less hideous but they were smart enough to bring a hat.
My driver from the hotel didn’t show up at the airport or at least I thought he didn’t show so I got a taxi which was fine but I didn’t want to spend the extra money or get haggled. I can say that Dawitt (David) was precious and very sweet and we only almost died ONCE so that was a plus.
I’m staying at the Addis Guest House which is not luxurious believe you me. I was actually a bit surprised at it’s lack of aesthetics but the staff are AMAZING and VERY accommodating. I mentioned that I wanted to find a place to boil some water and they brought me a propane tank with a 3 fire stove top! They also got me internet access in my room which so far hasn’t worked at all unfortunately, I’ve got a nice TV with a few American TV channels. Their huge bottles of water are the cheapest I’ve seen so far and I have a great hot shower. So I have to say that I would recommend it to others as long as they don’t care about looks. I was worried about being alone but everyone has treated me like a little sister so far and seem to be looking out for me. Tomorrow I go to Kind Hearts with Peter from Children’s Hope Chest and I can’t wait to get rid of some of these donations! The worst part of traveling alone is having to lug everything myself. My back is killing me J

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