Oh, the people you’ll meet

[Edited the Title, because I could and it fits better]

Just a few short hours ago, I arrived on the Africa Mercy after a very long and (at times) frustrating trip.  It started on the 31st of May at 3:30ish am as I arrived at the Atlanta Airport for my 5:50am flight, only to find that the counter would not be opening to check in until 4:30.

So, as I waited, i started to talk to the guy in line ahead of me, Thomas.  He was/is heading to Tanzania to visit his girlfriend, who is in the PeaceCorps.  I found out they have been dating for three years, and they havn’t seen eachother since she headed out into the brush of Africa, a year ago.  He had never been to Africa, and he was just a little bit excited about heading over.  We also realized that we would be on the same flight to DC and then to Addis Ababa. 

Eventually 4:30 rolled around and we got checked in and headed through Security.  I met a couple people there.  The first was an older lady who had been on the flight out of Dallas that had to do an emergency turn around and landing because the engine ‘went to hell.’  Because of that, she had missed her connecting flights and was still trying to get home. 

The second was this girl with pink bags and a mother and father who followed as close as the glass wall would let them.  So, I asked her where she was heading and she told me she was heading to the slums of Nairobi, Kenya to stay for two months with a local family she had met the year before and who had invited her back.   She also was taking the same flight up to DC and then to Addis Ababa.  (Chloe’s story can be found here)

As we were talking, another girl, Abby came up.  She is also heading to Nairobi, Kenya where she had lived for 8 months last year.  She was going to visit some of the families she had met and all her friends that she had made there for two months. 

So, the four of us boarded the flight and headed north towards DC.  When we got there, the girls (Chloe and Abby) headed towards the main terminal to check in at the main counter (out past security) while Thomas and I headed towards the boarding gate to check in. 

As I was checking in, the guy at the counter made an observation that my bag wasnt going to the same place i was (weird).  Somehow, it was planning to travel to India.  We stopped those plans and put everything straight. 

After checking in and grabbing some Starbucks breakfast I was sitting in the boarding area when I spotted an official Mercy Ships shirt (as opposed to my spray-painted ghetto one).  So I waited until she got off the phone and introduced myself to her.  Sarah is working in the Hospitality dept. for the next two months.  Somehow, she was surprised when I waved at ‘random’ people and they came and sat with us. 

So, the five of us talked and got to know eachother a little better in the next hour+ we sat there waiting on the flight to board.  Finally, at 10:45, fourty minutes after we were supposed to leave, we started boarding the plane.  The flight was a long, boring 16 hours, with a pit-stop in Rome to refuel.  As we arrived in Adis Ababa, Sarah and I said peace to the other three and ran off the plane, which was supposed to leave 10 minutes after we landed.  We got to the plane (after being yelled at for following orders and yelled at again for not following orders) and waited another 45 minutes. 

So, we finally headed off on the last leg to Lome, Togo, a five and a half hour flight across Africa.  We arrived safely, an hour after we were supposed to arrive, got through customs and realized that nobody was there from Mercy Ships to pick us up.  So, we waited.  And waited.  And waited for 2 hours before we finally got through to the office.  And we waited another hour before someone showed up.  To tell the truth, we were both livid, until we were greeted by our bosses (well, Sarah’s boss and my bosses boss) and figured out what happened. 

Somehow, there was a mix up, since almost everyone uses AirFrance, not Ethiopian Airlines.  So, when 10+ people were supposed to show up today, somehow we got overlooked/put in the flight that was coming in at 6:30. 

In the end, everything worked out well.  We learned a lesson in patience and forgiveness.  And we made it to Mercy Ships, Africa Mercy, 38.5 hours after arriving to the Atlanta Airport.  Through all of this, I got a grand total of 6 hours of sleep (including the 1.5 the night before i left).  Now its time to hit the sack, and reset my internal clock. 

God Bless and PEACE

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: