Well, we are less than an hour in the air before we land in Ethiopia. It has been 11 hours and 50 minutes in the air. We have been fed three times, I have watched several movies, napped, stretched my legs and now sit here contemplating my navel.
We are half way around the world. Half. Way. Around. All we needed to do to accomplish this was step on a plane. I was asleep before we took off and awoke some time later shocked at how smooth it was. Nothing like a King Air 200 let me tell you.
Surprisingly, even though I didn’t have an emergency aisle seat, there was more leg room than I expected and luckily the chair reclined a bit which helped. The food has been lovely, but the bathroom has not. At the beginning of the flight it was fine, and we have had no turbulence, so I cannot understand why there is garbage everywhere and urine on the floor. People can be gross, no matter where you are in the world. I wondered why the airline gave us all socks, and the prevailing thought it that it is so you can put them on and since they are yellow, you wont notice the urine soaked in them….then when you land you can put your shoes back on and have clean feet.
During one of my stretching sessions and water breaks in the rear galley, I spoke with several people who have been to Africa many, many times before and they have all said it isn’t somewhere that you only go to once. Malawi is being portrayed as both beautiful and lovely to go see. There hasn’t been much feedback about Ethiopia, which has my spider senses tingling.
I asked one man what advice he would have for me, given this is my first time being here, and the nature of the work we are here to do, and after a few moments pause for thought, he said, “Just watch, look, listen and learn. Don’t come with the attitude that you are going to fix everything and everybody, and that your way is the best way to do things. I am ashamed to admit it took me several years to learn that. Don’t make my same mistakes. You will love it, AND you will come back.”
I am obviously still without any reality of this place as I type this, and I can’t help but wonder as I look around the plane, what the stories are of all these people around me. If we are headed into such abject poverty, how are all the people who are on this plane making it? Surely not everyone on this plane is visiting. Some must be coming back home. What are their stories??
The need to stow my tray table and return my seat to an upright position has arrived, so I will bid you adieu and check in again once we have gotten settled.