With less than a month until we leave for Ethiopia, it’s all about preparation mode. Memorizing stories that will change the lives of those we meet, gathering items on the suggested packing list, and getting vaccinated.
Today at the Travel Clinic my African American nurse asked me where I was going. When I told her Ethiopia her response was, “I know nothing about Ethiopia.” I thought her response was odd but smiled and waited as she determined what vaccinations I needed. She then confessed that she was indeed Ethiopian! She asked if I was going for missions and I quietly said yes. She continued to work and I continued to wait until she looked up, looked directly into my eyes and asked me, “do you know Erin?” My reply was an enthusiastic, “Erin Johnson? Yes!” To which she responded “Now I know you are my sister!” Our group leader Erin had visited the same travel clinic more than once in years past and had made an impact on this nurse!
Prior to today’s appointment, I had spent about three weeks trying to talk to someone who could make me an appointment for the Travel Clinic and had been referred to multiple locations around San Diego, finally landing at this distant clinic. This had been very frustrating to me but my frustration had been in vain—God knew what I needed before I did. (Isn’t that always how it is?!) For the next hour nurse Yeshie and I talked and laughed like we were old friends. She helped me with my vaccinations of course, but she also answered questions that I had been pondering. My questions ranged from, “What should I order at the Ethiopian restaurant the team is having dinner at tomorrow night?” to, “How do I say hello and thank you when I’m in Ethiopia?” to the one question I really wanted to know the answer to, “What is the bathroom set up in Ethiopian villages?” She explained, advised, and reassured me about all manner of things. I left the Travel Clinic more at ease and with a new sister/friend. I am grateful I will see Yeshie for one more vaccination on the day we leave for Ethiopia. Until then, I have some packing and memorizing to do!