Chaos, dehydration, deadly BO and Malaria

Chaos, dehydration, deadly BO and Malaria

I’m in I’m sitting in the Amsterdam airport and could not be happier to be out of the Entebbe Airport. That was a complete nightmare. First I finished my shopping too early and ended up at the airport at 1pm. My flight didn’t leave until 9:50pm but there was really nothing for us to do in Kampala and Farouk needed to go back to Jinja because his next “Madame” was having him take her on her journey. So I went early and he drove slow.

I sat and met a variety of people waiting including one man from Angola who worked for a Dutch NGO doing educational projects. He would be waiting in the airport all that day and all the next day for his next flight. He was staying several hours from the airport and this ride that took him here was the only opportunity for him to come to the airport. So he would sleep there on the floor that night. Lord thank you for my car and daily transportation.

When it was time to check in after some hours, I stood in the security line again, this is twice now for my bags to go through, which is fine, but me handling now three bags and a tote bag is a handful. I travel with a small pull bag and a tote, and one check in. I added a suitcase (GIANT-thanks Katie and Robert) to transport a painting that my new colleague and friend, Chris’ wife painted for me. Once my bags were through and loaded back up as we say here in Texas, “I was sweatin’ like a pig” which is an odd saying because I understand that pigs do not have sweat glands….

Origin of phrase “Sweating like a pig”
Speculation is that the idea that pigs sweat profusely could have derived from the fact that they smell, with the assumed cause being `sweat.’

Apparently the KLM flight ticketing system was down, so they whisked everyone like a herd of cattle into a holding area where we stood for three hours in the extreme heat with no air circulation. Mosquitos swarming all around us, sweat dripping. Everyone was about as miserable as a traveler can be. I’m traveling in a Tryst brand tshirt-material tie died skirt and shirt. I have two skirts and a top that I mixed and matched from Tryst. All the African girls loved them. The skirt is stretched out so bad from me sweating that I’m having to roll it several times so I don’t lose it as I walk. Being in my same clothing so long is icky. I’ll change into some jeans in Dallas.

When each person was queued up at the Entebbe airport, we stood there as they manually wrote out ticketing, and then had to call an office where only two people sat at terminals that were connecting to the flight ticketing system. Only two! They were kind and apologized and offered the standard TIA (This is Africa) reason. There were three major international flights leaving all within an hour of each other, and it was sheer chaos. The agent had to tell the person on the phone each of my destinations and they hand wrote out baggage claims and labels, confirmation numbers, flight numbers, gates and seating etc. The phone part of my ticketing took 20 minutes. When I got to the customs exit I realized that he had forgotten to put in my exit departure sheet that we are required to fill out and here he came running with another part of my ticket that he also had forgotten. I asked him about the pink departure slip and he went back again running. Finally everything was in order. I started check in 3 hours early and it was a few minutes to boarding when I finished through the line. I PRAY that my bags make it.

The worst part of the ordeal was the sweltering heat in the holding tank. We were all pouring sweat even the Africans. This wasn’t going to be good for the plane. I can assure you that the man and his wife that sat next to me could be smelled at the front of the plane by the pilot. It was deadly BO although they were quite sharply dressed business people. It is something in international travel you just have to get used to. After a while you only catch strong whiffs. UGH. There is also nothing worse than BO covered over with aftershave.

Of course the flight was not without event either. Right after takeoff a young missionary on a Medical/Dental trip got dehydrated in the holding area. He had not eaten well and had not drank well during the day and he was sitting across the aisle from me. I heard his mom yell “we have a medical emergency” and I looked over and the young man next to the window was as white as a sheet and about to go out. They called the dentist traveling with them to come up. I told the Doctor I was a medic and I felt sure he was dehydrated, and probably about to go into heat stroke. He was so weak that the men had to lay him down in the aisle next to us. The attendant got oxygen and orange juice and water and we asked if they had IV fluids, stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. He wasn’t doing well. When they could get him up again about 30 min later they moved him to a “medical area” of the plane where he could lay down again and recover, His mom was so worried.  No one knew if he was taking his malaria medication faithfully.   Unfortunately, one missed pill and it isn’t a good outcome if you are bit by a mosquito.

I’m a little worried he might have malaria. Only time will tell and that will be another unfinished story, but a good one to recant. He never felt good the whole flight so I hope he will be better when they get home to Oregon. End of story I’ll never know.

I hate to complain but if you fly you will understand. You know sometimes you get this metal box at your feet under the seat in front of you. I hate these seats because once you have your handbag under there, your legs must remain bent the entire trip. Waaaah. I have these same seats twice now. Do not get Row 15 Seat G on KLM international flights. I miss being bumped up to 1st class. That hasn’t happened in ages since they started shutting down so many flights. It was good while it lasted 🙂

So…it is two for two on the Entebbe-Amsterdam, Amsterdam-Entebbe flights. I’d much prefer the non-puker flight.

I cannot remember if I told you that the young missionaries in training that were staying at my guest house came back on my last night. I had wondered what long term missionaries do for malaria prevention. Now I know….they don’t. I suppose when you live in a malaria country you just assume that you will get it at some point. Already two of their children have it, only two weeks in. Horrible. The symptoms are just devastating. I will pray that the children get medical treatment and feel better soon. Thank you God for Malarone, the malaria medicine that is keeping me well. Malaria needlessly kills so many children and adults each year. The numbers are staggering.

Guess what was the first thing I did when I landed here? I bought two large diet cokes. I was informed that I couldn’t take them on the plane with me and I smiled, “I know,” I’ve proceeded to down two of them in record time. This is always my thing that I miss when I travel. We were only able to find it once in Uganda. We did try! haha When I told Farouk that I missed my family and diet coke, he made it his mission to find me one. Isn’t that sweet?

So I’m here in the same clothes for a couple of days and happy to be in Amsterdam where everything makes a bit more sense. Being able to lay down will be good again. This journey home is a long one. I’ll have to go through security here though it is much easier now when I only have two bags and the AC is on! 🙂 Yay Amsterdam!

Looks like my computer battery will die out in a few minutes so I will bid you all a good day and know I’m on the road again….

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