My African Journey

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By the end of my second trip to Ethiopia, I knew that I would someday comeback to adopt a child................. (a little girl).

It started in April 1994,  I was to go to Ethiopia with some friends of mine that were from the native country.  The revolution was over and now was the time to go to this forbidden country that I had only read about,   Ethiopia - Addis Ababa. 

I kissed both of my parents goodbye that day and thanked them for all of their support, not knowing what the future would hold up to me.  I left the San Francisco Airport that afternoon for my African adventure.  I arrived in London the next morning.  Since my flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was not until that evening, I decided to stay at an Inn until several hours before my flight.  Rested from the long journey thus far, I went back to London Heathrow airport and awaited the arrival of Ethiopian Airlines.  Boarding pass in hand and a backpack with my personals, I awaited the airline in the boarding area.  At about 11:30p.m. one full day after my departure from San Francisco, I began to see out of the darkness a beautiful huge bird with the Ethiopian logo on the side of the airline.  I was overwhelmed with tears of joy because here I was seeing for the first time in my life a totally black owned airline with a full staff of Black African pilots, co-pilots and hostesses.

I boarded the airline and there I was on my way to Africa.

You cannot begin to imagine what was going through my mind.  I was filled with apprehensions of what was going to happen to me alone on the continent of Africa in Ethiopia.  With no family to talk to and not knowing the language, all these things were swimming through my head as I fell into a slumber for the long flight to the Continent.  I arose the next morning still flying.  Now,  I could sort of make out the land but no real distinction of where I was.  It was about 2 hours later that I heard the pilot say that we would be landing in Addis Ababa in 30 minutes.  As I refreshed myself, I wondered if would recognize the woman that would become my mother away from home.  Would she recognize me, of course neither one of us had seen each other in over 10 years maybe longer.  But I was to land soon and I would just have to make the best of it.

The plane landed and I disembarked.  The first site that I saw was a soldier caring a rifle and you can just imagine what I was thinking.  Onward,  there I was in the immigration line to get my papers stamped.  Stamp, stamp, stamp I just become a legal immigrant in the country, next I had to locate my bags.  Now this was a true adventure ----- BAGS everywhere.  I finally located one of my bags and it was on a cart that belonged to an elderly Ethiopian woman who had gotten off of the same flight.  OH! my did I have a time explaining that the bag belonged to me...with all my marking that I made just in case this type of incident happened.  One bag gained and the other (of course, what did you expect) missing.........

Next came the process of customs.....well needless to say that was another snag that I had not expected.  Since I look very similar to the Ethiopian people, I was mistaken for a native of the country on my return home.  And when I couldn't speak any Amharic (native language), well you take it from there.  After showing the passport and explaining  where I came from my father and mother and mothers maiden name, they were very apologetic and cleared me immediately.  By this time I was ready to get into the great outdoors and hoping that the people who would meet me at the airport to escort me to my dwelling for the next couple of weeks would be waiting.

I arrived safe and sound to the outer front of the airport and all of a sudden a peace came over me.  I WAS HOME.  I can't explain it but I had no fear.  Not of the people, the place or anything.  I did not see my African mother and I did not care at that particular moment, I was in Africa.  I had made the journey back to the Continent and all that had surpassed over the centuries now gave me peace.

Well needless to say my African mother who I will call (A) arrived.  Luggage in tow, the Mercedes taxi cab sped through the city while my eyes were glued to the window to take in all the sights and smells that would become so common place to me in the weeks ahead.  I was delivered to a walled gate that lead inside to a villa.  Awaiting my arrival was the entire household, relatives and close neighborhood friends of (A).  When I disembarked from the car, there were onlookers full of smiles, but also wonder in their faces, 'who is she'.  I was lead into the living room and made to feel as comfortable as possible with all eyes glazed on me.  Here I was sitting in a living room in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  and feeling somewhat confused due to the jet lag, but never-the-less I was with family (attached across a vast world).  The first one to come and speak to me was a 3 year old little girl named Mimi.  Of course she did not know any English and I did not know Amharic, at the time but we seemed to communicate through jesters and smiles.

Well to make this long story short my 3 to 4 week vacation turned into a 3 to 4 month vacation of which I came to love the continent of Africa, the Ethiopian people and the newly found family that I had crossed a world to visit.

.............. my journey in life continues... ;-)


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