Friday, November 03, 2006

Travel Story Part I

The decision for me to go to Ethiopia with my mom was fairly last minute. I had only two months to raise all the money for my plane ticket. I worked at my job as much as possible until I got Mono, leaving me very, very, sick for about 1 month. Friends and family were so generous though. I sent out support letters, and by the time we had to purchase our tickets, there was enough money left over to buy a suitcase full of donations. Thank you Jesus!

Dec. 3 could not come fast enough. I was out of my mind with excitement. Instead of trying to make up the work from the three weeks of school I had missed because of Mono, I used my class time to learn Amharic phrases from my friends.

The day finally arrived and I was deliriously happy. My Dad cooked my mom and I a big breakfast (home-made egg McMuffins, and orange rolls), then drove us to the airport. We had LOTS of luggage because we had two huge suitcases full of donations. It was manageable though.

First we flew to D.C. where we had a six hour layover. I just walked around and did chemistry homework. After that we boarded Ethiopian Air!! The plane ride wasn't too bad. It was definitely long, but I slept, watched a movie, and read a little. The airplane food was not my favorite. They would feed us breakfast at night because of the time change. We stopped in Rome for fuel, and the little I saw of it out the window was beautiful!

When we arrived in Addis we had to wait in a long line to get my Visa (my mom still had hers from the last trip). I was feeling really nauseous at this point, and was terrified that I was gonna throw-up in the middle of the busy airport. I didn't though, and when I got my Visa we went to claim our luggage. When all our bags were accounted for, we found the other CHSFS families and talked with them for a little bit. They were all very nice. I also got to meet the famous Tesfaye! He is the driver for CHSFS and everyone loves him. He recognized my mom right away, and gave her a big hug.

I was fascinated with the city on the drive from the airport to Center A (guesthouse and where the youngest babies live). Even though it was dark I could see a lot of corrugated metal, interesting billboards, and shops. It took a second for me to convince myself that I was just fine without a seat belt (no one uses those in Addis).

When we arrived at Center A, we were greeted by the orphanage directors, and some other staff members. They were VERY disappointed that Aaron Tariku didn't come with us. Which of course made my mom very sad because she was missing him already and wished that he was there too.

One of the women traveling with us got to meet her baby! It was so sweet to witness that moment.

After getting settled in, we got ready for bed, anxious to wake up and meet our Tekle!


Susy Q said...

I enjoyed reading this- and now it makes me even MORE excited to be travelling to Ethiopia soon (if that's even possible)!

EuropeanTop said...

Hello and thanks for the opportunity to read and post on your blog.

I’ve just posted an article related to travel tips for seniors on my blog and I thought maybe you’d be interested in reading it. Here is short preview of some of the areas I covered:

- Prefer a backpack on wheels instead of a suitcase, you could pull it behind you when your back hurts or you are exhausted.
- Consider checking your bag in with the airlines, because it would become an unnecessary burden to be dragged all over the airport or the city if you are going to have a short visit.
- You could stay outside the city, in a hostel maybe, because it is cheaper, less crowded and the air is much fresher, but you have to walk or use the transport more, to get in the city or to the station.
- Most museums, some concert halls, railways, airlines, bus lines, ferry and shipping lines have a discount policy for seniors.
- Electronic devices are useful but sometimes they can give you a lot of headaches. You could help yourself with a micro-tape recorder to record your notes. It would be easier than to write and you would put them down on paper later, to share your notes with your family.
- If you bring a camera with you to keep the beautiful images alive along the time then make sure you know how to handle it or you might fail to record them not only on that camera but also in your eyes.

For more resources on travelling to Europe you are welcome to visit my blog, where you can also get acces to some excellent maps of Stockholm and maps of London, together with information on hotels and restaurants.

Best regards,

Michael R.