Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 14th, 2009

Back in Lusaka-
Yesterday I said goodbye to my new friends in Zanzibar and walked to the 'Main' road where I waited for the 'dala dala', I waited and then waited a little more. Finally, about an hour and a half after its scheduled time of arrival, the dala dala appeared. Upon reaching Stone Town, I called my trusted taxi man, Masour who was patiently awaiting my arrival. He took me to the airport and walked me all the way through security to the waiting area. I sat in Zanzibar's Intl airport people watching, wondering and taking in the sight of planes coming and going not but 100 feet from me. It was awesome. My flight left around 4pm arriving in Addis Ababa by 8pm. Ethiopia's airport is mayhem, always mayhem. There are people everywhere and no direction from anyone, signs are ridiculously misleading and EVERYTHING is done by hand- not by computer. Therefore when I had to book my hotel for last night it was me and 150 people- waiting....waiting.....then sent to the Immigration line to do some more waiting. All the while people are pushing, talking VERY loud, pushing some more and oh, CUTTING in line. I got to my hotel and was O-U-T, in need of some space. I felt much better this morning.
Ethiopia is a beautiful country one that I would like to explore more of in the near future. Ethiopia physically split by the Great Rift Valley, is known as having a history that goes back to the Old Testament. It is the land of MANY religions, beliefs; land of Sheba, land of Axum and Lalibela, of towering obelisks and, the Ark of the Covenant. Ethiopia was Christian before much of Europe and even unknown to Europe for 1,000 years or more after.
Not far from the capital of Addis Ababa you can visit some of the temples built 1,000's of years ago, you can only reach them by rope and, they go straight UP, some of which reach 2,500 meters. I really really want to experience this so....anyone down? lol.
Another dying desire I have is to visit is Malabo, the capital of the largest city of the Equatorial Guinea. Malabo is just under 30,000 square kilometers with a population of under 500,000. The official language is Spanish as this small country in continental Africa only gained Independence 41 years ago (Spanish ruled for almost 200 years prior). I am so interested in this coastal city, it looks beautiful and just has so much to offer history wise and resource wise (ya- scary). Ok, enough of Malabo.
Now I sit here in my hotel room in Lusaka listening to CNN discuss the terrors of Somalia, Honduras and Pakistan...it goes on and on. I change the channel to hear corruption charges on the former President of Sierra Leon, change the channel again and I see hunger, poverty, a lot being done with little to show. What to do?
It is hard to succeed in one thing and revel too long in the success. Success breeds greed for more and whether accomplished with heart, passion, motivation, 'smarts' or dishonestly; it will grow. I guess what I am trying to express here is my disdain for corruption and my utter disgust for the innocent dying. I met a man today on one of my many flights, he is 72 years old, retired and 30 years ago on a safari trip to Zambia he was touched. 'Hank' started a non-profit, he got a few of his friends together and now has multiple IGA (income generating, self-sustaining projects) all over Africa. Twice a year Hank and his buddy, travel to the outskirts of Zambia in shanty towns and build homes, schools, and assess whatever is needed. This trip they brought with them: 80 kilos of medical supplies and food. Hank said to me, 'Krista, 30 years ago I was touched by something that I knew then and there wasn't right. I knew that I would never be able to live my life [style] the same and feel good about myself- knowing what is out there'. Hank is right which possibly explains why I am feeling this melancholy now as I approach the end of this journey.
I feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to do this documentary. I am forever grateful for those that have supported me both emotionally and financially. I am indebted to those that accommodated me al over this continent, fed me and took me in without hesitation but, most especially I am grateful to have had the trust, confidence and camaraderie of the refugees of Kala and Mwange and to the returnees of Katanga province. The outcome of this project has been unprecedentedly positive- puts me in a state of shock really. I can't believe it. All the while however, I feel sad. Sad because I am leaving and, this 'incredible journey' is coming to an end physically. But the issues still exist, the unrest is still unsettled, people are still hungry and jobs are still nil. I guess in life there will always be a double edge sword, a yin-yang, an open door followed by a closed one. This is life.
From here...one more meeting tomorrow with UNHCR Lusaka, followed by a potential goodbye and thank you to the US Embassy. I will send off copies of the film to DRC and deliver within Lusaka while wrapping up some final project notes and survey data. Thursday will come all too soon as I depart on my journey back to the US-reality, a reality of which I am most excited to explore and experience as I take life again, to the next level.

For now,

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