Let me just say right now, Don't get your hopes up! I don't want you
to read the title and think we're all together on a plane to the US.
The plan is still the same, for me to leave tonight and for Steve and
the girls to leave sometime next week. And I promise--we really feel
fine about it. "Are you still feeling good?" I just asked Steve.
"About staying? Yep! Fine" he answered. So there you go. Proof. I
think we feel really good because, as Steve put it this morning, all
the variables are present and accounted for, so there appears to be no
more bad news on the horizon. Anything else, like travel issues,
delayed flights, etc., are old hat to us and couldn't get us down at
this point. Plus, we have my dad's angel assistant, Carol, on
standby. She's a travel/tight spot wizard, and has gotten our family
out of more than few scrapes.
I say "expect the unexpected," which seems to be the theme of our
lives, because we were just laughing about that upstairs. I thought
I'd write a quick, rare morning post about it. Africa's theme seems
to be to expect the unexpected, too. We came down this morning ready
to leave for Meki, only to have Aki tell us Gecho is at the bus
station and can't get a travel pass. "What does that mean?" we
asked. We have noticed we've stopped at little checkpoint things
along the way at times, and sometimes Gecho hands over a few Birr and
gets a slip of paper. It seemed like the most casual
going-through-the-motions affair I've ever seen. Well apparently,
because Gecho has a van he has to have one of these passes everytime
he leaves Addis. Today, for some reason, they've decided not to give
any more out. "Why?" I asked Aki, being the American who expects
justification for everything. "I don't know," said Aki, looking at me
like 'why on earth should we know?' Well, maybe we can go somewhere
else--not Meki (we're really eager to get this "date" in away from the
kids before I leave. Maybe we'll have to just sneak out and find a
COLD Coca Cola Light, and a subtitled Cinema.). No, says Aki, they
won't let Gecho leave the city to go anywhere. We briefly considered
a public bus, but Aki pointed out that they are crowded and smell bad.
When an African says that, you know it's triple as bad as you can
imagine. (Back in the archives of this blog somewhere you can read
about our nine-hour bus trip from Uganda to Rwanda in 2005. We took
one of those public buses, and it was truly one of the worst
experiences of my life. People are three to a seat, in the aisles,
and all smelly, which only aggravates my terrible motion sickness.)
So, we are currently investigating hiring a car for Gecho to drive.
Although, Gecho just called Aki and said the van and minibus drivers
are all up in arms, so there may be hope. Perhaps a quick hostile
take-over of the bus station will produce travel passes?
So, here we sit on our first embassy-free day with time to go to Meki,
with an unexpectedly cancelled trip to Meki--the only place we were
determined to go. But hey--we're just laughing. It grants me my
first-ever, unexpected free morning to blog for a second without
waking Rowlina, the night receptionist, and being the cause of her
failing nursing school.
FYI, we have asked Aki to put out feelers about saving the horse down
the street. It appears there is a horse hospital in a town about an
hour away. If we pay a significant fee, they may be willing to drive
to Addis and pick up the horse. It's true that they would probably
just euthanize him, but he is dying a slow and horrible death and I
think that would be better. I'm sure they are surprised we'd consider
paying for such a thing. To us, it's a chance to finish one thing,
help one thing happen right, while we are here. My mom might say it's
my bleeding heart again, but I'd like to give the animal some dignity.
He's been with us on our entire two-week journey here.