Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Africa - Post 1

March 29

We are finally settling in for a few hours sleep at a hotel near the airport in Ethiopia before heading out in the morning for Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. The flights were really not bad at all. It was a loooooong day of travel. But, good company, good movies (Secratariat, Morning Glory, and The King’s Speech), lots of great talks, and here we are.

I must have been running on adrenaline most of the flight over because I seriously could not sleep…even when I knew it was 3 in the morning “our time.” I hear that’s good though. It’s good to go into your first night really tired, so that you sleep really well. That’s what I’m hoping, anyway.

Not gonna lie…I got a little teary when we crossed over into Africa. Out my window on the plane, I saw the exact moment that we entered this vast dessert. Gorgeous and sandy and as far as the eye could see. And then, a surprise to me, tropical Ethiopia. It is beautiful and lush here. The people we’ve met are so friendly, and so beautiful! Seriously gorgeous…ALL OF THEM!

I’m struggling a little with their eagerness to serve me, though. I know I don’t really deserve that. And certainly not just because I’m American. But, being an American in Ethiopia is a big deal. Don’t tell homeland security, but I kind of hate that. The really sweet guy who stamped my passport asked if I was American. When I said yes, he put his hand on his heart and told me that it was his dream, to someday go and live there. What I wanted to say was, “Eh…it’s not all that great. We’ve got serious problems.” And tell him that he had a beautiful country, which I know also has it’s problems. But, instead I just said, “Well, come on. We’d love to have you.” He doesn’t need to hear my diatribe on the false gods of America.

I love it here already. I’ve barely set foot on African soil, (mostly thanks to a wait in the Ethopian airport of 3 (!) hours trying to get a simple transit visa in order to drive 5 miles to our hotel, check in for 7 hours and then leave) but I am totally giddy. And tired…so tired….

….headed to bed.

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