Amsterdam yesterday was awesome! We chilled in the airport for awhile before it was time to board. There was a McDonalds that had nothing really out of the ordinary other than calling medium Big-Macs. Hmm…..figure that out. So we all chilled, went through security AGAIN, and chilled some more. We were using the same airline and this time it was a bigger and less crowded plane, so I got a whole row to myself. After some ginger ale after a nice take-off, I enjoyed the landscape. They had power wind mills and tons of green land and rivers. Lunch was a nice spicy Tsau Chicken with rice and veggies, noodle salad and desert. Soon as we went from the Netherlands to Germany and onwards the Alps began to rise.WOW! The Swiss Alps! It was so amazing to see the snow covered tops; some with clouds hanging over them. But I am jumping ahead of myself with lunch, because as soon as we passed the Alps, lunch was served as we flew over Italy. Soon I was fast asleep, which was defiantly an answered prayer. I don’t know for how long I slept, but when I awoke we were flying over the Sahara!!!
At first I thought we were just looking down at clouds, but then I realized that it was dunes. The funny thing was that while we were going over one of the deadliest places in the world, they were serving us Belgian Coffee Ice Cream and water. Ha! I was soon bored and walked around to see where everyone was. I found Matt and he came back to where I sat as soon as I came out of the bathroom. [I am telling you guys, I was very detailed in my journal entries!!!] We talked for awhile. Molly, Michael and Mary were behind us and Mary was out of it. With the addition of Laura, we began to play the name game. After awhile the desert began to disappear to the Savannah and we began to wind the game up as dinner was served. We had salad, oranges, a Belgian Waffle cookie, mousse, and this Italian pastry thing with mozzarella cheese on the inside. It was great! We knew the plane ride was winding down. It was beginning to darken as the sun was starting to set.
As we slowly descended we were mesmerized that there were no city light. It was dark, something unseen and rare in the U.S. Darker and darker it got as we descended onward into Kenya. No lights. It really wasn’t until we were right on the airport [Jomo Kenyatta International Airport] that we saw any lights. But it was defiantly quite odd.
We were not on African soil. As we taxied around and waited to get up to our terminal we just were shocked at how dim and shadowy everything was. We soon locked up to our bridge and began to unload. As I walked off, all I could think of as I took each step was, “Africa. Africa. Africa.” I was finally here after over seven long years of dreaming.
The first think I noticed was the smell. Many would probably associate it with an Indian smell. In fact, there were so many new smells I didn’t know. Immediately looking around it was obvious we were far from home. We all clustered together at one side of the hallway. To my back was a store selling all African stuff. In America, no one would step into a store like that, but here it seemed the most normal place. We went into a large room where everyone was filling out their immunization forms. Thanks to Joey’s quick thinking we already had all of the forms filled out and were quickly sent to the visa line. All he needed was to look at my passport, stamp it, and gave it back. We were soon handing Joey out passports as we headed down the flight of stairs to get out luggage. We left Tana and the other two girls to watch our hand-luggage as were went to get our checked-in luggage. We soon had all of our luggage, went through customs, and went to the front parking lot……WOW. I felt rain sprinkling down on my face. African rain. It was quite cool outside. Had I not been sweating from carrying all the luggage I would probably have put my coat on. The JOURNEY leaders met up with us [Gibson and Moses] and had signs made for us as we waited for our bus. As the bus arrived and we began to load our things on top of this bus, some locals began to help and then ask for money. Feeling awkward I said, “Sorry.” Matt was asked by the same guy and felt horrible for not being able to give anything. I assured them Joey and Suzanne were handling it. As we loaded the bus we were able to cram everyone in it because extra seats folded down in the aisle. We were on our way.
The sights! The sounds! The smells! WOW! We were mesmerized by all that we saw. Coca-Cola signs were everywhere as well as other popular companies (Yamaha, BMW, etc.). It was crowded on the roads, and the roundabouts were tricky. The frogs sounded awesome, almost extra-terrestrial like. If were were this pumped, we couldn’t wait for it to be daylight. The ride was long and soon we found ourselves and Ufungumano. It was a tight entry, but we made it to the front. There were people there to help unload everything. I found that I was assigned to a room by myself [You can imagine my imagination racing at that point]. What?!?! I thought I would be in a big room on a cot. Nope. I had a bed, desk, phone, bathroom, toilet, sink. I never expected that. We were all nervous to be in our own rooms, especially in a place we didn’t know. After much talking [and exploring] we began to become assured everything would be okay. So for mostly the whole night I didn’t know the bathroom light was hidden behind the scrolling door. So I showered (no pressure) in the dark. Yeah….As I took my pills I heard someone scream. Spider? No. Bug? No Amber tried to get the hair dryer to work, but all she got was a flaming spark. Everyone came rushing. She was fine and 5 minutes later I was getting into the bed. It was nice and soft and the pillow was perfect. I was out!
Wow. So this is probably my longest post. 1,100 words. But this day really was the accumulation of all those years of dreaming of Africa. It was a tremendously historical day for me and I hope through reading this you will get a feel for the excitement I experienced.
Pictures on their way!