Trip 3, Day 2: The Dust Bowl

Last night’s dinner was a treat: a platter of chicken fajita-enchilada type wraps. Homemade tortillas, yum. Seasoned shredded chicken, which I picked my way through. Mozzarella cheese sprinkled over the tops and lightly toasted. Very American. Okay, maybe not. Listen, if it’s not injera, I am a happy camper.

After dinner the 7 other guests and me were a captive audience to Keith’s story-telling provoked by learning that one of the women is a nurse. Keith explained to her that with all the gushing and gaping of his wound, he had to push something back in. Um, his flesh. Vomit. Turns out the absence of running water was actually God’s protecting Keith, as it would have been too dirty to effectively clean a wound. And, I probably would have used it to brush my teeth again without thinking. Another guest produced a bottle of saline solution upon Nurse Jill’s suggestion.

Pancakes for breakfast this morning. Woo hoo! Everybody eats pancakes, right? Not this gal. You never knew to what level of maintenance I require. Pretty high. As to not be offensive, I ate a few bites dipped in syrup, which by the way bragged in a large print banner below the brand name about being a whopping 2% maple syrup, then divided up what was left and threw the remnants to the other guests so that it looked as if all guests enjoyed most of their pancakes.

Today’s agenda was supposed to be a trip to a smelly dump where a slew of kids live, which I understand is not that uncommon. But our itinerary changed when a psycho with an abusive history returned to the little trash village and threatened some lives. (Am I making this place sound appealing?) So, the police were all over the place, and instead we accompanied the woman, who began the ministry there, to run all over Addis for her errands and to check on the school children.

I’m not sure what mortified Keith more: either my ginormous straw hat, which my new friend Liz assisted me in turning soggy into floppy…or that I used a wet wipe doubled with my hoodie as a mask with which to filter the dusty, smoggy, exhaust-filled air. The entire day. Everywhere we went. People kept asking if I was throwing up or needed medical attention. Nope. I just really couldn’t breathe. (I’m not good at selling this as a vacation spot, am I? But it truly is a great place, i.e. you best come visit us!)

The 12-hour day was filled with dust. Lots of it. Covered my skin, clothes and shoes. Filled my lungs, despite the most sophisticated mask I could rig. Imbedded the callouses on my feet. Stuck to my lip gloss. Clogged up my tear ducts. Made me feel plain nasty, to the point of desiring a shower. Gasp!

When I returned to our room, I had the best intentions of showering but remembered Keith’s shower the previous night. I thought he was silently crying over the pain of his would being flushed out by water. Turns out, we have no hot water. The rest of the guests do; therefore, we, meaning Keith, think a knob needs to be turned on. What I heard was the sound of him hyperventilating in the freezing cold shower.

No thanks. All I need is a wet wipe and moisturizer. I bathed myself with the wipes and grabbed two containers of moisturizer, face and body, and headed down the pitch black stairs to join Keith. After slathering the moisturizer on every visible surface, I noticed I didn’t recognize the smell of my favorite Curel Advanced Moisture Therapy Lotion. Half a second later I felt the sticky residue left not by lotion but by soap. I quick checked the label on the travel container, and there it is: “Body Wash.” Oh, I prayed I had somehow mislabeled the containers, but upstairs in my room I found the “Body Lotion,” untouched.

Now, all I would have to do to remedy this problem is jump in the shower and rinse off. It would actually go a step beyond the soap issue and take care of the dirt issue as well. However, you know if I won’t lower my standards to eat a soggy pancake, as all pancakes are soggy, I will not lower it to take a cold shower, no matter how desperate. I proceeded to give myself the second bath of the evening with more wet wipes, although this one was much more difficult and needed to be much more thorough. Yes, I’d rather go to bed covered in dirt than covered in soap. Truly, I am disgusting.

All of the sudden, something hit me. Not physically. It’s that feeling you’re being watched, or that you forgot something vital. Or both. I stopped my bathing, which was right in front of the bed and in the line of vision from the door, to which my back was turned. And I saw it. That thing I forgot. To close the door.

Filled with horror, I didn’t know what to do. I was a deer in the headlights. Do I run naked to shut the door and risk being seen by another guest walking by? Do I scramble to cover myself leaving the door still wide open?

That’s the thing. Forget the police story I mentioned. It’s so safe here that I rarely shut the door and never lock it. And, I wasn’t worried that a creepy man was going to get a show. The only other people on our floor are 2 girls and a baby down the hall. It’s that I went to great lengths to avoid a shower, which in that split second was apparently a tiny bit embarrassing. Avoiding a shower is not even something I’m embarrassed about back at home where a daily shower is assumed at the least. Why here? I do not know.

Keith got another cold shower tonight, claiming he stayed in long enough to enjoy it. The cards are definitely stacked against my showering on th.is trip.

Here are the kids at the airport with Sherlyn, a.k.a. Gu Gu. Calvin was taking the pic. Yes, you are seeing this correctly. They are on a leash. This is the only way I manage in public.

Watching the planes. Garrison said the biggest plane was for Jesus, and all of them were disappointed as the planes took off leaving them behind. Sorry kids, we'll have to walk to Texas.

No comments:

Post a Comment