Monday, April 9, 2012
Ethiopia, Take Two -- Day One
We received our invitation to travel on a Thursday, and we were on a plane that next Monday morning. I'm glad we had things ready to go so we could leave quickly. Since we already did this trip once, we knew exactly what to expect . . . Or did we?? We had so many funny thing happen to us on this trip, we just had to chuckle.
Our trip was pretty quick -- so quick in fact that we didn't have time to get 'jet lag' which isn't necessarily a bad thing! We left on Monday, arrived in Ethiopia on Tuesday, picked up Elliana on Wednesday, had our Embassy appointment on Thursday, and flew home Friday night! Whew!
We took the direct flight from DC to Addis again. It's the quickest (but most painful) way to get there. We were lucky to have an extra seat in our row going over, which was wonderful. We watched about 4 movies on the plane ride over. I think every movie we selected was a tear jerker.... or maybe I was just emotional! I don't think either of us slept more than an hour on the 13.5 hour flight.
Once we landed, we knew exactly what to do. We exchanged some money, and headed for the Immigration Line. (we already had our Visas). After we made it through, we quickly grabbed our bags and looked for our Guest House driver. Last time, he was waiting right as we came out with a sign with our name on it. This time, however, there was no one around. Hmmm... After about 15 minutes of waiting, we were approached by a man working for the Hilton. He asked where we were staying, and we told him. He said, "please, come into my office and rest. I will call your Guest Home for you." I was very leery of this... why would he want to do this for us? We weren't staying at the Hilton. He kept saying, "Please come my brother and sister. I want to help." "Here is some water.. please rest." Finally, we shrugged our shoulders and went with him. Sure enough, he called our guest home who then called our driver. The "Hilton Man" walked us out into the parking lot right to our driver. (the driver was waiting out in the parking lot for us -- who knew!) Before he left, we thanked him over and over [and slipped him a few bucks], and that's when he told us that the was a part-time Pastor, and he can recognize a brother and sister [in Christ]... that's when I realized he was our angel for the day.
After we arrived at our guest home and started to get settled in, (long story short) -- we realized that we were missing a bag and actually had someone else's bag! It was identical to ours, except it had a lock on it. We quickly called the airline, who confirmed they still had our bag. Thank goodness because it was MY bag that we were missing and it had most of the donations in it. All we had to do was go back to the airport and pick up our bag. (easier said than done!!). We arranged for another driver to come pick us up and make the 30 minute drive to the airport. Once at the airport, we had to go back through security and they had to scan the bag (you know.. the bag that wasn't ours... that we had no idea what it had in it... yikes!!). Luckily we made it through and made our way to the lost luggage department. The nice lady behind the counter told us to have a seat and the owner of the bag would be here soon. Uhhh, what? Oh yeah, they forgot to tell us that it is their policy that the owner of the bag must come to the airport to inspect the bag to make sure we didn't steal anything from it. Oh my goodness.... One of the managers felt sorry for us waiting and he tried to let us go, especially since the bag was locked and we couldn't have opened it, even if we wanted to ....but, no such luck. We waited, and waited.. and were entertained by the family of rats climbing up and down the wall in the holding bay. We were both extremely tired, hot, hungry and getting a big grouchy. I was wondering what would happen if the person came and decided that he was missing something... would we duke it out in the airport or what?? After an hour of waiting the owner of the bag finally came. He was a very nice Ethiopian man who thanked us for bringing his bag back and couldn't believe we had the same exact bag! He said no worries and welcome to Ethiopia. God was truly with us that time as well.
After that fun trip, we made it back to our guest house just in time to eat a late lunch and catch our next van (that we had previously reserved) to the Former Fuel Wood Carriers Association. I wanted to purchase some more scarves! Next we went to Kaldi's Coffee for another Caramel Micchiato (yummy).
After we arrived back at the guest home again, we were reunited with the Rudstroms from Alaska (whom we met on our first trip) and their sweet daughter Tizita. They had just returned from picking her up at Acacia Village and were so in love. We also met up with our friend Tom (whom we met in our first trip as well, along with his wife Liz). Tom came solo this time to pick up their son Henok. Tom and Henok stopped by our guest home to say hello, along with our previous guest home manager, Nardos. It was so nice to see some familiar faces. Tom and Henok were going to go with us the following day to Acacia Village to celebrate Henok's 9th birthday with the children at Acacia Village. This would be his last day with his friends at AV. A bittersweet time, I'm sure.
It had been a full 36 or more hours since we had slept. We showered and literally fell into bed laughing about the days' events and beaming with excitement over what the next day would bring... the day we'd bring our little girl home forever... her Gotcha Day!
Posted by Baxter075 at 7:15 PM