From humble beginnings, the Fab Five joined forces to start a revolution.
Arwen- It’s no surprise that Peace Corps poster girl “Kanga” calls Seattle, Washington home. Having been raised by Wolves, this little blue-eyed blond with a penchant for eating kiwis whole can always be counted on to “bring home the bacon.” Never fear! Kanga has no qualms about taking the last penne in the airport if it means a full belly.
Ashley- You’ll know “Freckles McSickie,” animal riding extraordinaire (horse, ostrich, camel and elephant, thank you kindly) by her French braids and tequila shootin’. This little cowgirl grew up in San Antonio, Texas, where they like two wines and two cakes on all their flights.
Charlene- Y’all are gonna love this cutie sportin’ the faux-hawk; growed up right on the ol’ Appalachian Trail down in Botetourt County, Virginia. Daleville, to be exact. Don’t mess with “Lover” or she’ll go country all over your ass, just like she did to that Turkish gentleman what kissed her hand and complimented her eyes.
Elizabeth- This red-headed wonder-woman known as “Ginger Snap” hails from Santee, California. 92071, fool. It’s almost Mexico, which explains why she’s frequently seen with a Samurai sword, and has been known to head-butt complete strangers on the dance floor.
Renee- Don’t mess with “Roo,” she grew up on the mean streets of Darien, Illinois and just shaved her head-it looks gorgeous! She’s a real card-shark when it comes to that Middle America game Euchre, which only people born in land-locked states know the rules of. Lately, rumors have surfaced that this pretty lady, a lifelong White Sox fan, was heard uttering the words “America SUCKS!” to a British Embassy staffer, 24 hours into the ordeal at Cairo International.
Big Bom’s in hand, we boarded the Ethiopian Airline’s flight to Addis Ababa and kissed Uganda goodbye. Renee and I, ever paired together, had seats on the opposite side of the plane from the others, but we could still hear them laughing and talking in excited voices. We had been planning this trip for almost six months, and finally we were off. Egypt, here we come! God, we must have been annoying, turning around in our seats to wave at them across the aisles, sucking on strawberry lollipops, exclaiming at the gourmet airline food we were served (much better than anything locally available in Uganda). Ashley, batting her eyes at the stewardess and giving her a winning smile, was handed not one but TWO bottles of wine, much to our chagrin. A narcoleptic man sitting across the aisle from her handed her his unwanted cake, and the deal was sealed: best flight of Ashley’s life!
Giddy with excitement, we entered the terminal at Bole International and I could only think of one thing: injera. Real injera, made with teff. My favorite food in the whole wide world, not available in Uganda. With only this thought on my mind, I forged ahead and approached the first restaurant I came to, ordering a spicy chicken and lentil wat and two extra injeras. That will do nicely! Only then, with my craving safely taken care of, was I prepared to explore the rest of the airport with the others. There are several nice duty free shops, with beautiful textiles, baskets, jewelry and other trinkets, but before long, we had seen all there was to see. We returned to the restaurant to retrieve my meal, and did what any self-respecting Peace Corps Volunteers waiting for a flight would do: we sat on the floor of the airport and ate with our hands.
Ethiopia having been conquered (or at least sternly told it would be returned to in the future, for a longer visit), we boarded the next plane. I spent most of that time looking out onto the dark expanse of Africa spread beneath us. Every so often, we would come upon civilization, a long expanse of flickering lights, obviously settlements around the Nile River. We would lose the river for a while, but always find it again, this long, electrified snake making its way across the land towards the Mediterranean. Finally, we found it again, and did not lose it. Instead, the lights expanded out from the river until the land below us was completely aglow, the Nile still visible as a dark swath winding through the patchwork of lights.
Cairo was twinkling. At first I thought it had to do with how sleepy I was. Then I thought something was obstructing my view, but it wasn’t. Individual lights would blink off and on, but their neighbors, a few hair-widths away, wouldn't be disturbed. Electric current must be unstable, I surmised, but over the next few days, I saw that on the ground, current was fine. That wasn’t it. Cairo simply… glitters.