Last time I went to Kenya my flight home passed through Ethiopia. Well, “passed through” is probably not the right way to put it. I sat in Addis Ababa for almost six hours.
I have to be honest, as my trip approached, I was not looking forward to that flight. I’d never flown Ethiopian Airlines before, and I’d never been to Addis, and my friend had recently had a less than pleasant experience there, and…..
As you can see, my anxiety over doing something different or going somewhere new latched on to any and every possible problem.
Ethiopia isn’t like Kenya. Or Tanzania. Or Uganda. Or any other place I’ve ever been.
The people don’t speak Swahili.
I have no idea what their money’s worth.
The airport doesn’t have a Java House.
Leaving Nairobi that night I was heading straight out of my comfort zone.
(Yes, even the crazy lady who’d rather be in Africa has comfort zones. This was not one.)
Now, everyone who has ever adopted an Ethiopian child can tell you what happened next.
There was no reason for me to be afraid of spending that night in the Addis airport.
And, to be honest, I’m actually kind of looking forward to the next opportunity to pass through there (and hoping it might be in daylight hours).
Because one thing I expected to see and experience while in Addis did happen.
I got a glimpse into another culture.
A beautiful one.
I had plenty of time for people watching so I observed store clerks interacting, tourists shopping, families doing what families do in the middle of the night at international airports (rocking babies, chasing toddlers, trying to sleep), and I was reminded that:
Different is not always dangerous.
These days it seems many people in power want us to focus on our differences, to fear them.
But, really, our differences are few while the things that unite us can’t be counted.
And, we’re loved….
By a God billions of us don’t know.
And, facing our fears is the first step to fixing that.