Stepping off the plane in Addis Ababa, I can close my eyes and imagine I am on the science fiction planet Dune. Not because Ethiopia is a desert, far from it, but because the air smells of dust and spice. I arrive to greet the late dawn–the air beyond the cabin doors is cool and relieving, an open quality I missed for the last 8 hours of flight.
In this Ethiopian capitol airport the prayer room with its colorful rugs is quite busy–as is the glass smoking box nearby. In Frankfurt, Germany, this room was dubbed the Camel Box. I have a terrible headache and think sleep would help except this is a sinus headache. A headache is nothing considering the checkpoint is scanning for possible ebola.
The lady who sat next to me on the plane was surprised to see every disembarking passenger getting their fever checked. Two women in medical masks performed this duty; one with a thermometer that touches your forehead, the other with a large beam scanner that sat 4 feet away and looked like a massive radar gun. What is the speed limit in the airport.
You’d think people would go toward the one that hasn’t touched a thousand faces this morning. They don’t. Maybe because the other one looks intimidating and more nurse/security in nature. Although my flight was terribly hot, no fever registers and I am waved through where I will anxiously await the arrival of my niece.
Kristin King is a writer, publisher and president of Future Hope Africa, a non-profit dedicated to encouraging children and families in Africa through education, opportunity, and by the grace of God.