Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Zambia 2013...last day

Day eight: We're up early again, not because we had to be but because Ellen doesn't keep track of the time and she got bored. Have I mentioned my roommate is an insomniac? She has done very well in letting me sleep for the most part, her kindle helps. My warning of imminent death if I couldn't sleep may also have been a motivation. I also mentioned to her that she would need to share the room with me unlike in Kenya where her stuff was everywhere, even on my suitcase. She did better and I'm a minimalist so it worked out. You can check out the video for proof of truth.

So we wait this morning to start our llloooonnnnggggg flight home. As I hear the news of the Nairobi airport on fire, terrorists are suspected, I have to wonder if this will impact our flights. I guess we'll see. I can't believe it's over already. I would willingly stay another week, but at a slower place. We'll see what vehicle arrives to take us to the airport. We'll say goodbye to this beautiful country, our laughing friend Fraywell and his lovely wife, Loveness. 

Fraywell and Loveness arrived in the Jeep! It was fixed last evening and although it is still running a little rough, needs a tuneup, it is running. We loaded up and arrived at the airport in plenty of time to check-in, have a drink, do a little shopping, and get to our gate. I'm hoping to sleep on the flight from Addis to Washington, we'll see if my body cooperates. 

My sister had given me a ring a couple of Christmases ago with Jeremiah 29:11-13 inscribed in it. I wore it to Zambia instead of my wedding ring but last night I felt very impressed to give it to Loveness. So I did this morning when we had a moment alone and told her I would remember my Zambian sister. I plan to replace the ring, just a simple silver band, because I treasure the gift from my sister and now I'll treasure the memory of where the first ring abides. I am forever grateful for the experience of seeing true African life. It is a hard world for women, without conveniences, old world ideas of women's roles, and little hope for change in the basic areas. Even with some limited modern conveniences, even the smallest tasks are time-consuming. Cooking, cleaning, bathing, managing a home just takes more time with the lack of clean water, electricity, and things we don't even think about.

So we made it to the airport, did a little shopping, got a replacement band for my silver one with little geckos on it. It's wide and I love it! Finished up some gift buying, I think I'm covered. Our flight took off on-time and the biggest blessing of all, we were in business class! Our first flight from Addis to Lusaka we were in coach and by the time we landed my feet were huge and I had impressions in my knees from the seat in front of me. So very tight. But this time, room to spare, no swelling, no indentions and a much easier flight. Thank you God for this treat. 

When we arrived in Addis, we were told which terminal to go to and as we walked off the plane, there was a bus. It took us to baggage claim, we found a sign directing us to our terminal, and after many questions, found our gate. I think the lack of communication is the caveat in most international travel, at least in Africa. Bathrooms with no paper, shopkeepers who tell you one thing and gate agents who tell you something different, the most intimate pat down I've ever had at a security gate and the longest line we've encountered all to get to our gate. I think in light of Nairobi, things are tighter than usual and we are headed to the US. 

We get to the gate and then we wait...last group to board, some seat mixups and we're on our way to Washington. Very little sleep, very long flight, and some major wackado hair. Of course that is par for the course, I forgot my blow dryer and have been wackado hair woman all week. At least it is sort of clean, Ellen's goal for this trip was to not wash her hair the whole time we were gone. She succeeded. Her hair is a great deal longer than mine, but the thought makes me itchy.

I've discovered something else about my friend, she is Peter Pan. She is also a major nester and rule breaker. And the ultimate Oma. A heart for women and children, she has reveled in her time with the Zambian women. I was a little afraid she wouldn't come home. But she did and is now applying to be my permanent traveling companion for all Africa reviews. We might have to compromise on the hair-washing thing.....

I'm really dehydrated, my skin looks like alligator skin. I know I haven't consumed as much water as I normally do. With hours on the road and hours on the plane and sketchy bathroom facilities or none at all, I refrained from drinking during travel. I feel dried up, everything is staticky, and I can't wait to get home and take a shower, drink some water and maybe, eat something Mexican. Or maybe some BWW....we'll see who comes to the airport. We layover in DC, fly to Houston and layover some more and then to OKC. I'm sad to leave Zambia but I'm very ready to stop flying and to see my family. I'll have to take them with me next time.

As I reflect on the trip, I am just grateful. I never knew what an adventure my life would be and I wouldn't change anything. Thank you God for such an incredible existence. Never let me forget their faces.


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