Here I am. In Africa. This situation is so surreal; I have to keep reminding myself that this isn’t a fascinating documentary or a special on Discovery Chanel. THIS IS MY LIFE, and it couldn’t be more perfect. So far, I’ve loved every minute of this trip, whether it’s been cleaning and painting a dump of a bathroom, turning it into a proud little masterpiece or drinking coffee so strong it could give you a heart attack. All the fundraising has been worth it, and we’re not even half way done with the trip. Today was not the most adventurous of days. We bid our fond farewells to the ridiculously endearing people of Shashemene (I shed a few tears), and packed into our van for the 4 hour trip pack to Addis. Though I said that today was not adventurous, I must say that the driving here is ALWAYS an adventure. Swerving around pedestrians and dogs and dodging mules and other cars while flying down the road at hair-raising speeds. When we got back to Amazing Grace guest house we all breathed a sigh. We felt like we were home. This team has bonded so much in the past few days, we are like a very odd and diverse family, each person with an incredible story to share. I pray that when America finds us again, we will be able to keep our hearts knit together like this. I know this post isn’t very long, but I just don’t know how to put these last few days into words. So, for those who read this back home, keep us in your hearts and prayers and always remember that God can make your life incredible if only you say yes. Ciao!
We made it the guest home in Addis safely late last night! Surprisingly there were few glitches in our travels. On our first long flight from Seattle to Amsterdam the in flight entertainment system was dysfunctional so we had to settle for watching three small children terrorize the surrounding passengers and flight attendants. They succeeded in grinding more cheese into the aisle carpet than they actually ate, and rang the flight attendent call bell incessantly – all with ear to ear grins and a look of “who me?” each time they were caught in the act. Thankfully, most of us were able to sleep. On the second 10 hour flight from Amsterdam to Addis we were well fed and remained in good spirits. Shortly before landing they offered us small sandwiches that consisted of cheese and ketchup – unusual but tasty. Arrival in Addis was a burst of diversity in the airport. We easily got our money, visas, and luggage. Only one bag out of 11 checked was misplaced. A short van ride to the guest home and soon we were all unpacked and resting. Today we head to Shashamanae for 5 nights where we will help rebuild a school. Mosquito nets and DEET in hand we now set off on our next adventure.
The day started awfully early this morning as all nine of us were up and going well before the sun could make it’s morning debut over the Bridger Mountains. I wish were able to make my first entry from a land far far away and about things exotic and daring but since today is mainly a travel day the most interesting thing I can see from my current location is the Qdoba Mexican Grill at Sea-Tac. (rest assured i’ll be making that expedition very shortly) It’s a few more hours until we head out to Amsterdam and then on to Addis Ababa with an expected arrival time of 11:35 pm…TOMORROW! To anyone taking prayer requests, I could sure use an isle seat!
Although we’ve been meeting as a group for almost two months now, it’s been real cool to see how each one of us is going to operate in this group dynamic. So with my self proclaimed expertise in group studies let me catch you up on how I see things so far. Kim (my fellow co-leader extrodinare) is clearly the organized, caring and experienced aspect to this leadership tag team. Thayer, a fellow Griz, is clearly an experienced traveler. From his cute little pillow to his kindle, he’s the guy I hope to sit next to on the next leg of our journey. Cody will be my fellow adventure seeker and envelope pusher. Lets just say he had a pet bobcat! Doug logged his second flight ever today and is still bright eyed after being awake for 24 hours now. (that could be due to his Coke Cherry and 5 hour energy) Lizzy and Maddie bring youth and levity to just about situation and no conversation is ever focused for more than about 10 seconds. Melissa is the groups personal trainer and personal OBGYN. Im not sure how that’s going to work in my favor yet but I have faith in her skills. Averee is the considerate and compassionate component. I’ve also dubbed her the official JesusJuker! (google it)
Now let me finish with something a little more weighty. A lot of people sent us off with wishes of having fun and being safe. Now i’ll gladly take the wishes and prayers for fun, but lets hold the phone on “safety”. I’m holding out for experience, wisdom, strength and a whole lot of growth. Now in my experience most of these things are best learned in the absence of comfort, control and safety! Any parents and family members reading this, my mom, rest assured we’re going to bring everyone back alive but hopefully not the same! So lets all hope that the next sixteen days prove to be jam packed full of fun, growth and God!
Ok, time to get on the next flight. Europe here we come.
Finally, thanks to all the families and friends who helped us make this happen. (ie. Matt & Steph, Mike & Wendy and my family)
Talk to you all again on day 15. XOXOX