Monday, November 7, 2011

Looking Back: One Year Ago (Not) Today–To Go or Not To Go

Monday, Nov. 1, 2010

(Just FYI, before you read this…in Congo, it’s not enough to purchase a plane ticket to get on a flight.  Prior to your trip, you have to go in person to the airplane’s downtown office to confirm with them that you do, in fact, want the seat on their plane that you’ve already paid for.  If you fail to do this, it’s highly likely your seat will not be available when you go for your flight.  We’ve heard, as well, that even if you do this step, there is still a chance that your seat may not be available when you physically get on the plane.  We’ve been told that we just need to run like crazy and get on the plane first.  Gulp.  With that said…)

We decided to go to Ethiopian Air today. It was raining when we got up and our driver was late. When we left, though, there was no traffic and we got there around 8:20 (they open at 8:30.) There was a crowd of people outside, so we just stood outside with them, assuming they were waiting for Ethiopian Air to open. There was a security guard and he was asking me some questions. I finally understood enough French to get that he was asking if we were going on a trip with Ethiopian Air. I told him yes and asked if we wait here? (My very broken French went something like “Attendez?  Ici?  Maintenant?)  We actually had a small conversation in French and he told us to follow him. He walked us right upstairs into the Ethiopian Air office and we were the first ones they helped that day!

We were anticipating being there all day, but thankfully it only took another dad, Barb, Hubby and I about 45 minutes to do everything we needed to do. Amazing! Nothing is efficient in Congo!! So now we’re all reserved…we just need to pray we get our DGM letters today or tomorrow!! We came back home and started packing up a little.


Well, it’s later tonight and today has been another rough one. When two other parents went to Ethiopian Air this afternoon to confirm/fix their flights, one of the dads discovered that his daughter’s ticket didn’t go all the way home, but only got her to Washington, D.C. The lady then realized that she had also done our reservations wrong and that our kiddos didn’t go all the way home either. So she did the wonderful customer service thing and cancelled our lap kids without contacting us.  Seriously.  Then, when our friend called us to tell us what she was doing and put her on the phone with us, she refused to assist us today, insisting that we return again tomorrow. Oh my, morale in our group dropped very low very quickly. Right in the midst of all of this, we got a call from Pastor Peter that we’re not getting our DGM letters today. Not a fun afternoon.

But, there is a glimmer of hope tonight. Pastor Peter came and said that half the group will get their DGM letters tonight and the other half tomorrow (first he said by 10 am, then changed it to 2 pm.) We’re hoping our friend can still make her flight tomorrow, so Pastor Peter went back to DGM to get hers. I’m just praying that all of these letters will really come as planned and that we can go back to Ethiopian Air tomorrow and get this all straightened out. Hopefully we’re all on planes no later than Wednesday to head home!!!   I think we’ve all loved the experiencing of being here in country, and getting to know the beautiful people of Congo, but we are all quite ready to head back home.

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