I fly to DC late tonight, then take off from there tomorrow morning (Saturday) for a 13 hour non-stop flight in to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I have THREE 50 pound bags that I'm hoping I can get over there with little to no charge. (Yea, right). Whose brilliant idea was it to take 600 backpacks for all the kids in Ethiopia - on top of everything else for the girls in Uganda?? Oh yea...mine.
|(I've got 600 of these in my luggage right now. 600 is A LOT.)|
In my defense, I really thought my boyfriend was going to come with me - and help out with the luggage - but due to previously scheduled family vacation time, and our lack of time off available at our jobs, he can't go this year. So, yeah, I'm flying solo in Africa. Should be a good time! ;)
I couldn't find any reasonably priced place to stay in Addis Ababa that looked non-sketchy, so I'm "couch surfing." Ha, as if that couldn't be sketchy enough! ;) Hey, don't judge. I'm cheap, and I love to meet new people, so this is perfect! Basically, I'm staying with a girl from New Zealand, Sophie, who I met on the website www.couchsurfing.org. She lives in the city with her geologist boyfriend and is going to let me stay on her couch. It's free, she seems really fun and has been VERY helpful! I'm actually excited for my first couch surfing experience!
Already checked the weather. Hot (80's) in Ethiopia, and no rain the 3 days I'm there. That was a nice surprise, since it is currently their rainy season. Uganda is also supposed to be hot, but a chance of rain (30%) every day, which could be fun. I'm pretty sure everything is just dirt there. Not a whole lot of cement sidewalks and concrete roads. Glad I fit in my big yellow rainboots and my K-State poncho for this trip! That shouldn't stick out at all in Uganda... ;)
|Forecasts for Addis Ababa (left) and Kampala (right)|
So here's the tentative schedule (keep in mind it's Africa -- and things never go as planned):
I get in to Addis early Sunday morning (Saturday night back here), and Sophie is going to pick me up at the airport. Depending on time and how I feel, I might try to go to church that morning. I have a couple of options for that, one of which is going with a girl from Tennessee, Kiely, who lives there and works for Live FashionAble - the coolest scarf making company ever. They've actually entrusted me to bring over some dye for the new fall collection to deliver to the factory! That afternoon I'll probably just relax and sort through all my luggage - assuming it makes it over and through customs. It's not organized at all right now, and that needs to change before Monday morning!
Kiely invited me (and Sophie, if she wants to come) to dinner at an Indian restaurant with some of her friends Sunday night, and I'm pretty excited about that! Good food and meeting cool new people!? Sign me up. :)
Monday morning Alex (HopeChest staff) is picking me up and we're making the long trek out to Trees of Glory, where my sweet little Mita is. I'll deliver 150 backpacks to the kids there, along with a little "Jesus Loves Me" bead/safety pin craft for them to put on the bags. I have lots of black permanent markers they can write their names on the bags with so they can tell which one belongs to which kid. Hopefully that works...I didn't get around to trying it out before I left, so we'll see.
Monday afternoon we'll drive back to Addis and visit Kechene. Same thing there with the backpacks and craft. My friend, Angie, sponsors a little boy there, so I'll have to give him some extra attention and get some cute pics for her!
No plans for Monday evening. Maybe dinner with Sophie or Kiely or something? And hopefully some internet time! Kiely told me about a few places in the city that have free wifi! Hopefully that pans out. I would love to be able to update this and send out some emails...and maybe some Facetime/Skype!
Tuesday morning I will be visiting Kind Hearts, where my Beza and Matt's Yitbarek attend. That afternoon, I am SO EXCITED to finally get to go in to Korah. Children's HopeChest just started a new carepoint there that I get to visit - and give out bags/crafts to each of the 150 kids there!
Assuming those two visits don't take ALL day, I am planning on visiting the FashionAble factory Tuesday afternoon to see the women there and how the scarves are made. And to buy some scarves, of course. They're around $40 if you buy them here, and word is they're around $12 there. Score! :)
Tuesday night I'll probably just do dinner again somewhere - with whoever - try to get some wifi time in, and pack up what's left. I leave Wednesady morning for Uganda! It's a little less than 2 hour flight from Addis to Entebbe, Uganda - just south of the capital, Kampala. Jonas and Sarah, workers for ThinkHumanity, are going to pick me up there, and accompany me on a 4 hours bus ride to a little town called Hoima in northwestern Uganda. (Can't wait for THAT bus ride! ;) ) That's where I'll set up shop for the next 4 days.
I'll be staying at a hostel that houses 30 14-year-old girls attending secondary school (high school) there. Beth, the founder of ThinkHumanity, took these 30 girls from the Kyangwali Refugee Camp on the border of Congo/Uganda, got them sponsored (Matt and I each have one), and got them enrolled in school. She has also partnered with Feed Just One to provide healthy meals to the girls. (If you're going to click on one link from this post, click on the Feed Just One above. Their website has bios on all of the girls I will be staying with, as well their store where you can get a shirt to support them, or just donate a meal to them!)
|The girls at the hostel in Hoima. This is going to be fun!|
I don't really have any concrete plans for the time I'm in Uganda. Spending time with the girls, visiting their school, starting a bible study with them (bibles are already packed). At some point, I will be visiting a couple of locations to dig a new well -- which is AWESOME! A friend of mine's mom heard about where I travel to and what I like to do, and long story short, through a crazy chain of events that could only be orchestrated by the man upstairs, she is going to provide funding to dig a well in a remote village in Uganda in remembrance of her parents! How cool is that!? :)
Saturday I will make the long bus trip back to Kampala to visit the Acholi women in the rock quarry. These are the women who make all my fun jewelry and sling bags that I love so much! I'll probably come back with a truck load of new stuff from them! Then it's back to the airport that night to fly back to Addis, and then a lovely 17 hour flight back to DC, arriving Sunday morning. Barring any delays / cancellations, I should be back in KC Sunday evening, and back to work on Monday!
As always, I'll update this as often as possible, but I make no promises! (I do promise to take lots of pictures, though!) I have the low-down on some Wifi in Addis, and Beth just informed me that there is a computer in Hoima that usually has internet, so I should be good to go communication wise. But again, it's Africa...so who knows!
Wish me luck!