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Day One – Washington DC

So, it was an interesting start to the trip. Nothing major going wrong, but things didn’t go exactly right. Like I said, it was interesting.

It started at church when I went to get a check for the money that had been raised. While there I was offered a box of medical exam gloves that were donated for a future trip to Mexico (building houses so the medical gloves were not necessary). So I sat with Jeff and the kids to open the sample packets and sort the gloves. Half an hour later we had quite a collection to give the midwife.

Then off to the bank to exchange the check for cash. But that didn’t work quite right because our money hadn’t been deposited yet — but half an hour and one visit from the pastor later and we had cash in hand. But not just any cash. In Central Africa the quality of your money can decrease its value. So we had to wait while the bank cashiers swapped out ripped, written on or old money for crisp, fresh bills.

No time for lunch with the kids, it was straight to the airport. After Jeff and the kids left, and I was alone behind the security check they put up a sign that said the flight was delayed at least an hour. I did make it into the air and was able to meet up with Tammy after walking the entire length of baggage claim at Dulles twice.

Tammy had a similarly interesting morning. As she was leaving for the airport she received a call that someone wanted to make a donation. She also rushed to the bank to get appropriate cash for the trip, but didn’t have the hours to spare at the airport. She checked in two minutes before they were closing the flight and ran to the gate as they were calling her name for the last boarding call. She didn’t have a direct flight, but she felt safe that her layover was adequate –until the plane spent over 30 minutes on the ground.

Like I said, we both made it, stretched our legs as we looked for each other in baggage claim and made our way to the taxi stand. Our poor taxi driver couldn’t figure out where our hotel was. What should have been a 15 minute $10 taxi ride was 45 minutes, three phone calls to get correct directions and one stop at a wrong hotel that totaled $45 on the meter. But since it was his fault he didn’t charge us at all for the ride.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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