Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Diary of Sierra Leone - Days one and two - travelling

Tuesday 18 Nov - 5:35 am PST
I'm on the plane waiting to fly to Seattle.
Off I go... years of praying, months of planning, days of packing and now I'm finally on my way.
I couldn't really talk to Asia on the way to the airport... I thought it was best to not give voice to my fears.
I know this is God's plan and I know He authored this journey.
I won't let my fears take anything away from that.
I want to embrace each moment on this adventure. Even the fear I won't speak. Even the fear is part of the experience and maybe God will use it to teach me something...
Long day ahead..."
9:00 am
Seattle Airport
Starbucks
My longest layover - I arrived here at 7:00 am - went down and claimed my baggage, then met another team member at the American Airlines counter - he gave me a bag from COTN to check along with my single bag - this is how COTN gets a lot of their items over to S.L. - with travelling team members because the mail is so unreliable. I checked in both bags with Continental - they're checked all the way to Freetown - three flights away - Lord, please let them get there!
6:15 pm CST
Houston, Texas
I'm just about to take off for London. So far I'm completely rested and amazed at how quickly the flights have gone...
Wednesday, 19 Nov
7:20 am London time (the same time zone as Sierra Leone!)
I'm somewhere over the Atlantic ocean - two hours from London.
I'd really like to go to the bathroom, but I'm locked into my window seat by Rodney, my racist Texas oil man seat mate.
Guess I'll wait until he wakes up.
9:45 am
London
I'm on a bus at Heathrow airport on my way to terminal 5. An 18 minute bus ride, the lovely British voice told me over the loudspeaker. This must be a huge airport.
10:58 am
Gate 38
After a trip to the wrong terminal and a second bus ride to the correct one, I'm at my gate.
I had a chance to freshen up in the bathroom - changed clothes from my jeans into more dressy clothes to be more culturally appropriate when we land in Freetown.
I'm waiting for Chris and Debbie Clark and the rest of my teammates. We're all on this flight together after all coming into London on different airlines and at different times.
One more flight and I'll be in Africa.
On the airplane - British Midland International
No idea what time it is.
I really want to get off this airplane. I'm officially tired of flying. Right now.
We must be getting close though - it's supposed to be a 6 hour flight and I feel like I've been flying for days...
There are lots of Africans on this flight... it's starting to feel real.
10:33 pm
Lungi Airport Hotel
In my hotel room
I'm in Africa.
But my luggage isn't. This is an adventure I didn't count on.
I'm borrowing some clothes from Becky, a team mate and washing my underwear out in the sink tonight.
I really felt like crying for about the first 1/2 hour after I realized it wasn't going to come down the little luggage belt...
But then I made the choice. The choice to not let this ruin my trip. So I don't have all my cute skirts and my dresses from Corey or any of the shoes I packed.
I'm safe.

And I'm in Africa.
At dinner, Reverend George (assistant country director for COTN Sierra Leone) told us a story from the war when he was severely beaten and locked in a metal container all by himself.
For six days with the sun beating down on the metal container.
He had to drink his own sweat to stay alive.
Somehow 5 days in Africa with only the clothes on my back seems more manageable - and certainly less tragic.
I am so blessed to be here.
We arrived after dark tonight. I can hardly wait until the morning sun to see this place God brought me to.
(On a totally unrelated note, I feel like I'm still flying. Wonder how long that will last...)

Thursday 20 Nov 7:15 am

I'm up and showered - wearing a borrowed skirt from Becky and my own shirt (it matches!) and my bra and underwear that I washed out in the sink last night.

I slept okay - I was wide awake from 1:30 to 3:30 - but God granted me more sleep and I didn't wake up until my alarm went off at 6:30. My cell phone found service, so I'm able to use it for a watch/alarm. Pretty sure that will not be the case in Banta. We'll see.

It's pouring down rain this morning. I expect things to be quite muddy. There was thick red dirt right as we came out ot the airport last night - can't imagine how messy that will be with all this rain.

I got to talk to Asia briefly last night to tell him I had arrived safely. I feel badly that I told him about my missing bag. I wish I could tell him that I'm okay with it. I certainly want my stuff back, but I totally feel okay with it. I'm embracing my two little pair of underwear and my borrowed skirt. I'm sure that is God's answer to Asia's prayers, so it's good I told him, I suppose.

Chris just knocked on my door to be sure I was up. When I opened it, it was like a sauna in the hall. Totally - a sauna. And I'm not exaggerating.

Time for breakfast.

The view from my hotel window... my first daylight view of Sierra Leone.

The hotel restaurant where we ate dinner the night before and breakfast before we headed out for Banta.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:37 AM

    Thanks for taking us along on the journey. Can't wait for the rest. I can't even imagine that they lost your luggage. Thankfully out of all the international trips I have made only once my luggage came a day late and that was when I was in Canada so it was all good.
    Blessings,
    Leana

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  2. I so enjoy reliving this with you Cathy. Can't wait to hear the rest of your story!

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  3. I'm so glad you are sharing!

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