August 20, 2006 (Remember when you read this journal that at the time I was expecting to adopt 2 three year olds to be named Kendi and Caynan. I didn't change my entries about them because they are a part of my experience.)
First, a few observations about Schipol Airport in Amsterdam:
- They allow smoking here--in all restaurants and bars! Pew-ee! Cough!
- Bathrooms are very quiet--almost silent flushes. It's a very calm atmosphere! But the toilet paper is ROUGH! Definitely missed the Charmin! =-)
- The chairs at the gates are hard and quite uncomfortable. They also sit very high so my feet just hung in mid-air.
- Dutch language is everywhere. Most signs have English too, but not all.
- If you want to buy anything in this airport you're going to need Euros. I didn't find a place to take US$. However, it was easy enough to use a credit card at an ATM to get Euros.
- Lunch was a bottle of water, and egg, bacon, and pepper sandwich, and a small can of Pringles. Euro 9.05!
- Sandwiches here are definitely different than in the Midwest! Cucumber and pickles....salmon and cream cheese...weird (but edible) bacon and egg (kind of raw egg)...yummy. ;-)
- I'm surprised at the diversity of the people at my gate. I would have thought a greater percentage would be African, but it's probably 60% African and 40% "other."
On the Plane to Accra:
This has been a much more enjoyable flight. First of all, I have an isle seat--much better! I'm in a row of 3 seats and at first nobody was in between the gentleman in the last seat and I. Then came a rather large Ghanaian woman who can hardly walk because of a leg injury. She has to keep her leg elevated, so they put her next to me and moved the gentleman to another seat (because her leg is elevated in the other seat now). So this woman will be sitting basically sideways with her back leaned against me for support for this entire flight.
At first I was a little disappointed with this scenario, but it has turned out to be very good. We lean up against each other and I suppose that helps to keep us both warm! Cecilia has 2 adult children and usually lives in Frankfurt, Germany. She is going "back home" in hopes that native medicine can help her leg. They thought she had a tumor, but didn't find one when they operated. They want to do an exploratory surgery now, but she decided to see what can be done in Ghana instead. She appears to be in an unbearable amount of pain and it has been a blessing to me to be able to bless her with my "service" during this flight. She needs help standing up, sitting down, walking to the bathroom, getting covered, up, writing, eating, etc.
Cecilia was born in Koforidua--one of the towns I will be visiting!!! She also knows where the Osu home is and seems supportive of our adoption plans. She looked through the albums I made for Kendi and Caynan and most of my Twi was used properly. She is from the Ashanti tribe and verified that K and C are both Ashanti. I was saying Caynan's name right (Nyarko--just how it looks), but had the pronunciation of Kendi's name (Amoako) all wrong. It sounds like "um-wa-ko".
We were late in leaving the airport (by 45 minutes) so will be delayed in arriving at Kotoka. I'm not worried though. We should still get there an hour or so before Lois. This plane is MUCH nicer than the Northwest plan--with individual media stations. But the seats are closer together so things are a bit cramped. I don't think I will want to sit down for a week after I get to Accra! My bum is numb numb numb (hmmm...might be a song in there somewhere).
Dinner was surprisingly good--chicken and rice with Pantang Sauce. I ate all of the main course (a first for me). Praise Jesus the motion sickness has not returned!!! I am extremely tired (maybe from the 2nd Bonine since you're only supposed to take one every 24 hours) but I'll take that any day over a sick tummy!
Okay, I'll say it! I am already in love with Ghanaian people!! There is such a sense of respect among them--addressing each other as "sista" or "brotha." "Sista let me help you with that." I don't think I can put into words (yet) what it is, but I love watching these beautiful people interact with each other.
There are MANY children on our flight. I'm sitting about 7 rows behind the bulkheads and you can't miss the kid sounds! At least two of the children are having a very rough time--complete w/ screaming fits. They all seem quite fidgety as well. I think that makes sense. If kids aren't used to being motionless (like many of our kids in America are because of TV!) it would be horrible being locked in this plan for 7+ hours! I wonder if I'm seeing my future though--as I watch these little tykes try to maintain (unsuccessfully) during this flight. I'm going to be glad to have mom with me when we return with C & K--that's for sure!!!
Something I've noticed is that I am able to understand Ghanaian English much better than I anticipated. It's much easier to understand that Khmer-English (Cambodia), Viet-English (Vietnam), or Creole-English (Haiti)! There is a certain "universal African accent" that we hear on American TV. As far as I can tell, that is what Ghanaian English sounds like--beautiful but not hard to understand.
Next entry---sitting on the floor at Kotoka International Airport in Accra!