Another one of those loooong travel days.
I woke at 3am (ugly given the fact that I didn’t go to bed until midnight) for my 6am flight. I arrived at the airport about 45 minutes late –something I NEVER do- due to a nasty bit of snow and ice. I met up with our Brigade Medical Director and we checked in together though not until we addressed a few hundred dollars worth of unwelcomed baggage fees. Groan.
Rant: Come on United (Gawd I wish I had another viable choice) I flew more than 100,000 miles on United last year, almost never checked anything, except of course when I’m brought medical supplies and donations somewhere, plus our bags for this trip were much lighter than the allowed max…yes they were big hockey bags but seriously your telling me IF I had them full of 70 pounds of hockey equipment there would be no fee but with 40 pounds of donations its $200?? How on earth does that make sense??? Ok rant over.
After being late and having the bag frustration our mission mojo took a turn for the good. Though there was a blinding snow squall and talk of flight canceling buzzed through the gate area we boarded our flight within a half hour of our original schedule and arrive in plenty of time for our connecting flight. We later learned that we were one of just two flight to take off then as many were cancelled due to the weather. I asked, “why us?” and the flight attended shrugged “we were just lucky I guess”. Well OK, Ill take that!
In DC we met up with three more team members from Out of the Ashes. The flight to Addis which was thankfully uneventful and we actually landed early in Addis. We then cleared customs with minimal pain considering the 800 pounds of supplies we were carrying (NO not kidding)
After a quick bag drop at the guest house we headed to Korah to survey the clinic site. The rest of the day was spent orienting, surveying the brigade site and meeting the new nurses at the clinic.
One thing that stood out for me was a large list names taped to the blue metal fences outside the gates of the shelter where we will work. It was a list new students for Out of the Ashes. (out of the Ashes is the organization I serve with that provides scholarships to poor students in Korah…scholarships that provide food, housing, books, tuition…and a way out of the poverty that surrounds them.
It was humbling to see all of those names…kids counting on us to send them to school and provide healthcare. It was both exciting and terrifying as we took in the responsibility we carried with us.
I cant wait to put a face to everyone of these names.