My journey began on Friday night August 2, and I’ve finally arrived in Tanzania on Monday morning at 5am. The complexity of traveling multiple legs with bags of donated socks can me a real time monster - no down time between flights (except for Ethiopia, which I’ll talk about later). The cost for getting the socks here so far is $360. My friends, The Scott Family have the other 600 pairs and I’m hoping they didn’t have to pay extra baggage fees. They arrive tonight and it’ll be good and somewhat strange to see familiar faces in such a foreign land. The completed task of getting the socks here feels good, I mean shit - I’ve been collecting socks, packing socks and lugging socks around for 6 months. : )
My flights changed at the last minute and I ended up having to spend 16 hours in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I’ve been lucky enough to keep an open mind & heart on this journey, and when this detour arrived ~ I ran at it the same way. What struck me first was the sincere kindhearted people - always smiling and willing to help. Genuine hellos and eye contact. The intense interest of connecting, as human beings - no guardedness, no walls - just honest to goodness talking. Before leaving Mr. Martins Cozy Hostel last night at 9pm, I was saying goodbye to Isaac, Sophie and Sandra like I’d known them for years. We sat around a small traditional coffee table while they drank St. George beer and talked about politics, beer, schooling and our dislike of country music - Isaac pointing out that its always about their tractor or their truck. : )
Then, they helped me load my immense bags into Samuel’s cab so I could get to the airport.
That was the beauty of my brief visit, the heart wrenching poverty was also part of my visit. Witnessing things that made my heart want to implode with sadness. Walking the streets of this city was powerful. The day to day life these people endure, cut to the quick. The small makeshift stoves, cooking with scraps of wood and trash, to roast corn. The muddy streets filled with trash, waste, sickness, dogs and people sleeping. It’s the rainy season now and it seemed to rain on/off the entire 16 hours I was there. The children playing in the street, calling me “sista” and asking for money. The other kids kicking a makeshift ball and giggling. At night they brought out homemade deep fryers and sold French Fries & Donuts. I of course, had a donut that put Krispy Kreme to shame. : ) There was also an abundance of pizza and pasta restaurants, which I found strange.
Now, I’m sitting at a picnic table overlooking the beautiful landscape of Tanzania. The place I’m staying is pretty darn swanky and is part of my Trek to climb Kilimanjaro. The grounds are clean and well maintained. The wireless connection fast and free. Everything is lush and the sounds of life abundant - birds, bees, colors & music…
I have a feeling my insides are going to be rattled every which way on this trip. So, hang on… I’m just starting.