Thursday, February 21, 2008

Welcome to NYC

I took what baggage had arrived and I walked right out into New York. It was beautiful, about 64 degrees and the sun was just starting to set. I got on line for a cab just as if I knew exactly what I was doing. My turn comes and i get into a mini van type taxi. The driver was very nice and within a few miles he tells me he is Ghanaian. Crazy! He was so thrilled that I will be visiting his country. He has two children aged 7 and 5 and he very much wants to take them there. He still has family there. He said I will absolutely LOVE Ghana and will want to extend my stay. He says that they will treat me like a queen there. Everyone will be very friendly and gracious. He says the food is amazing and fresh. He made me excited to be going. He said he thought it was a very generous thing to be taking supplies there. He told me that Ghanaian people are the same as all of us, only they suffer from poverty and lack choices and opportunity. We talked and talked so much that we missed the turn. He wasn’t familiar with the area I was going. Once we finally arrived, I asked his name. He told me his name was Emmanuel. God Bless you, Emmanuel and thanks for getting me here safely. I will say hello to your brothers in Ghana.

The flight to New York...

So I made the stand by list! I was on the earlier flight out of DFW bound for JFK! One of the flight attendants was a little too rough while re-arranging the overhead bin and dropped a bag on someone’s head! Now we have an ice-pack, a couple of people in suits and a very pissed off uppity lady with a headache. This single act delays the flight by an hour and fifteen minutes. Sheesh! There were people who were trying to connect for a flight to Rome who were surely gonna miss their connections. I just sat back and watched it all thanking God I didn’t have a connection.
Have you ever wondered why all the coughing and sneezing on a plane? What is the deal with that? None of these people sounded ill while we all sat together in the terminal. Anyway, I’m older and overflowing with phobias, paranoias and psychoses so all this coughing is really starting to get to me. About the time I go into full on panic mode, the considerate passenger in front of me decides to recline his seat and spend the rest of the flight in my lap. Oh yes, thanks buddy. Now I’m not worried about all the coughing and sneezing. I’m worried cause I can’t move my legs! I take a few deep breaths and just close my eyes. What choice do I have? Thanks to passenger 35G, I will opt for the emergency exit row from now on!
We land at JFK (not soon enough) . 35G is fresh as a daisy, stretching and gathering his belongings. Once the blood returns to the lower half of my body, I can do the same. I decide that in addition to the emergency row aisle thing, I also need to lose a bit of weight! As I walk through JFK, I read the sign that says “Welcome to New York” I think, “weird, I’m in New York.”
One of my bags is also in New York. The other one, who knows? I make my way to the Baggage Information area only to be assured that my bag is indeed NOT in New York. Oh, Thanks so much! You’ve been very helpful! I got a phone number and hopefully it will arrive on the later flight. I will absolutely WHIG out if it’s not. I have 90 pounds worth of supplies in that bag! But my legs are still a little numb and I don’t have the energy to whig out now, it can wait til tomorrow.

The first flight

Got to Corpus Christi Int’l this am about 0740. DH, my Dad and C-man all came to see me off. They’re still not happy. C-man is excited, but they looked pretty deflated to see me going. First leg was no problem. I had to pay $200 in poundage overage fees. I sure hope North American Airlines isn’t as much. Managed to get on a stand-by flight out of Corpus at 0930. Pretty uneventful flight. There was a big, friendly, loud man that reminded me of TS chatting with everyone and a small group of “very senior” women on their way to a cruise. Flight time about 1 hour 10 minutes. DFW has it goin on! I arrived at Gate B13 and needed to get to D40. Impossible you say? Nope, turns out you just walk yourself right over to the Sky Tram and you’re there in less than 1 minute! Super Cool! I really should get out more. So here I am at gate D40 wondering if I will make it on this flight stand by. I won’t know until boarding time in about 45 minutes. Stay Tuned!

I'm Back...

This is so terribly pathetic. I have been back for nearly a month and I am just getting around to updating this blog. I have to say that I thought journaling verbally on my ipod was a super idea. Truthfully, it was easier, but it is what has been putting me off updating this. I now have to listen to it and transcribe the entries. I’m certain some of you techies know a program that would do that for me, but I don’t know of it. So here I go. Probably one day at a time. Be patient with me (all two of you who are reading this). First of all, it was a life-changing trip. I’ll start with that...

Some Awesome Choices

I support the older child fund of Layla House, the Ethiopian orphanage run by Adoption Advocates International. You can read more about it on their new web page!

I recently committed to sponsor a child’s schooling for one year in Burkina Faso through this organization. Until All Have Homes. Her name is Samira, she is 8 years old and currently attending grade 2.

The dearest cause to my heart is Beacon House Children's Home in Accra, Ghana. I will dedicate a post to this facility in the future.

Information on Ghana from the World Fact Book

Ghana at a glance.

I decide to visit Ghana

I finally decided (at DH's suggestion) that I should visit Ghana and see first hand the situation there. Is International adoption something that would work for our family? Are there other ways we can support and assist these needy orphans? Will this hunger I feel to aid the people of Africa fade? All of these questions...I was swimming with emotion and turmoil. I arranged for the 5 immunizations I needed, got prescriptions for anti-malarial medication, got a Ghanaian Visa, booked a flight and didn't look back. I spread the word about my trip to my co-workers and in just a weeks time I collected no less than 100 pounds of donated supplies. Thanks to EVERYONE who donated to these kiddos. I can’t wait to see their faces. More about Ghana on my next post...

So much need...where do I start?

Once my research was in full throttle, I ran across a few people and websites that were very helpful in helping me to sort out who I wanted to support in my efforts. There are so many organizations and so many countries and people who are in need of a hand up. It is very easy to get overwhelmed and feel that you could never make a difference if you look at the whole globe and all it’s issues. I really wanted to just focus on a few agencies who support biological orphans in one or two countries. I started by contacting Adoption Advocates International in Washington state. I was interested in their older children, particularly boys, who have been waiting for referrals for an extended amount of time. I learned of their new program in Ghana and was put in touch with Anita the coordinator for that program. (I’m super excited about that Hyperlink I just created, you have nooo idea!)

The beginning...sort of.

So I was watching Blood Diamond in January or February of 2007.  That was the beginning of the end for me.  I was a changed person from that single movie.  I know it sounds so trite and even sort of trendy in this age of Hollywood adoption stories, but I promise you, I see the world as a completely different place.  Since that time, I have tried to educate myself as much as possible about this continent on the planet that I know so little about.  I have read many books and have been in contact with many people.  It's amazing how the networking starts to unfold once you open your heart and mind to a new adventure.  That's how it starts for me.  Thanks Leonardo DiCaprio.