Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Travel TO Ethiopia - December 13-14, 2010

We left from Mobile, AL on our trip to Ethiopia. We had 6 carry-on suitcases, 3 regular size suitcases, and 8 red bins (7 full of donations, one full of FOOD for us to eat while in country). We had so many bags and bins that we had to borrow the church van to carry all of us and all of our stuff to the airport! After a wonderful US Airways customer service rep helped us overcome an issue with US Airways’ policy about number of free checked bags, we were off to go through security (the first of MANY times over the next 2 ½ weeks) and board the plane. We had some sweet friends who came to see us off, and that was very special to us. (Thanks, guys!)

You can see 4 of our 8 red bins and a couple of our suitcases in this photo

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We had a long layover in Charlotte, NC while waiting for our US Airways flight across the Atlantic to Frankfurt, and ate our last “American” food for a while.

The flight to Germany left the U.S. late, arrived late to Frankfurt, and almost made us miss our connection to Addis. We were very concerned all the way to Frankfurt that we were going to miss our next flight, so Michael spoke to one of the flight attendants about it. When we arrived in Frankfurt, they announced on the plane’s loud-speaker that the people with the connection to Addis were to meet two airport guides who would take us to our next plane. They were amazing, and we could NOT have made the flight without them. We went through back corridors, were rushed to the front of the security line, and walked out to our plane which was already disconnected from the gate and about 45 minutes late leaving. We totally would have missed that flight without that help. God smoothed our way yet again!

We arrived in Addis later than expected (because there was “some family” who made the plane leave late!) and then 5 of our donation bins were not there with the rest of our luggage. (It was the five that were causing “issues” in Mobile.) We had to wait in line at the “lost luggage” counter for a LONG time and finally completed the process to file a claim for our missing luggage before we left the airport. We are SO thankful for the great AWAA staff who were waiting there for all of us weary Pierces!

Finally we were able to go to the Guest House to sleep in an actual bed! (A “taco” bed, but at least we could be horizontal!) We had a suite which has two bedrooms – each with its own bath – and a living area and small kitchen, so everyone could finally get some rest before our big “gotcha!” day.

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