Thursday, July 7, 2011


Friday, July 1 - Saturday, July 2

That's how long it took me to travel from Atlanta to Kigali: 24 hours and 35 minutes. With the six-hour time difference, that means I left at 5:45 a.m. and landed at 12:20 p.m. the next day.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.
My trip began when my lovely (former) fellow intern drove me to the airport early Friday morning. When I had called United to confirm my reservation on Thursday, they told me I needed to check in at the airport a minimum of 90 minutes before my flight. Because my flight was at 5:45 a.m., I arrived around 3:45. But the ticket counter didn't even open until 4:30 a.m. Gee, thanks United representative. I guess the 90-minute rule is bunk, though, because I didn't get to the counter until almost 5 a.m., and they still gave me my boarding pass. Success!

My flight from Atlanta to Washington-Dulles was short and uneventful; I was able to sleep the whole time. (That's one benefit of getting only two hours of sleep the night before a trip.) I had a four-hour layover in D.C., during which I obtained my remaining boarding passes and checked my carry-on. (Ethiopian Airlines has stricter restrictions for carry-on luggage, so my suitcase wasn't small enough for the cabin.) There were five other Mizzou students on my flight, so we slowly congregated at the gate until it was time to board. I was glad to get to meet the other students before we left the States, because I had to miss the classroom sessions in Columbia while at my internship.

At 11 a.m., it was time to board the plane for our 13-hour flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia! Let me just say that foreign airlines are so nice. A Mizzou student who did the Rwanda program two years ago told me she doesn't like any American air carriers after flying internationally. I think after this trip, I would have to agree. (I'm excited to see what Emirates Airline will be like on my flight back to San Francisco!) The seats on Ethiopian Airlines reclined farther than usual, the food was much better than expected (and actually quite good), the stewardesses were very polite and very pretty, and the movie selection was amazing - and free! I watched The King's Speech (finally!), The Resident and A Good Year. The rest of the time, I was thankfully able to sleep.

I didn't need the eye mask, but the mini-toothbrush and toothpaste came in handy!

The airport in Addis Ababa was not as glamorous as the airline, however. Unless we wanted to go back through security, our options were limited to sitting at one of the three gates. So we sat at our departure gate until it was time to board. The flight to Kigali was also short and uneventful; I woke up only to eat (again). Once in Kigali, I got my passport stamped! This was more exciting than it probably should have been because most of the countries I've visited haven't stamped me. The agent didn't ask for my immunization card, however, which was disappointing considering I only got it for this trip. At least I'm protected from yellow fever!

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Finally, we got our bags (it was such a relief to see my suitcase come around the conveyor belt - remember this?) and our adventures in Rwanda began!

Stay tuned for a recap of the past few days. (We finally got Internet in the apartment tonight!)

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