I could tell that we were in Africa as soon as I turned the corner after coming down the corridor of the plane. I look up and see and African woman with a plastic bag on her head sticking straight up about 12-18 inches up above her had. She was wearing it with attitude like she had just discovered a new fashion that everyone was soon to follow. We proceed up the escalator and as soon as we get to the top a young boy is throwing up all over the airport floor. I said aloud to Jamie, "welcome to Africa". We walked around him and tried to find the bathrooms way at the other end of the airport. I was lucky to get in there before everyone else and I got into a stall without toilet paper, of course, but I always come prepared and keep kleenex in my purse. I hear someone in the stall next to me and as soon as I open my stall door the room is full of Arab women. But it was hard not to notice the woman that was in the stall next to me. She had left her stall door wide open. She had on several layers of pants on under a skirt. She continued to use the bathroom with the door open. I had my suspicions that the women stood on the toilet instead of sitting. I guess they are just use to the squat pot method. I can't believe that I am still shocked at what I see even after four years in Africa.
We were still not in Chad yet. This was our stop in Ethiopia. Then from there we go to Ndjamena, Chad. As we are boarding the plane I try to slip by the check in attendant after giving my ticket. He was busy telling the people ahead of us that they had to check in their carry on bags. I didn't want to do this with mine because I had breakable gifts in mine and the last flight from Knoxville to Washington broke one thing and I didn't want it to happen again. I was about 20 feet away from him and then he yells at me but I continue on like he wasn't talking to me Then he chases me down. I think, great here we go again. Jamie pipes in and told him we are not checking it in because the last flight broke something and refused to pay for it and showed us the fine print on the green check in tag. They have a little yelling match (which is the only way in Africa to get your own way, we have learned that" and Jamie won. There was plenty of room for it on the plane. Not many people on the flight to Chad. "Surprise!" "Surprise!" We both mainly slept on that flight so the last 4 hours seemed kind of short.
Now comes the real fun! We get to go through customs in Ndjamena. But I was so glad that everything went smoothly. A guy was already collecting our bags by the time we got to the baggage claim area. He recognized the Cabela bags and knew that they are all going to Bere. Thanks to Garwin McNeilus and his big tips we get special attention. We make our way outside and Jamie leaves me in the road with all the bags and he takes a taxi to get the truck we left at the mission housing. We get everything packed up and we now have to get our money exchanged. We go to the market area instead of the bank because we can get a better exchange rate. It is absolutely crazy down there. Cars are parked every which direction. Jamie finds a place to park and as we pull up a man is using the bathroom right there! I felt embarrassed like I was invading his personal space right out in the middle of the market. What is wrong with that thought process? It is crazy here! And to be clear this guy was squatting down using the bathroom not standing up. My mind just could not process this to be ok so what do I do? I got out my i-phone because I thought no one would believe me. Now I get the picture after he gets up and leaves his prize on the ground but I just wanted people to see how in the middle of everything he was and how close I was.
I just thought I would share the good things, the bad things and the crazy things this year. And it is things like this that make me ask myself, "what am I doing here?". Welcome to my world in Chad.
I hope this doesn't offend anyone. Its just so hard to come back to so many drastic changes.