You Made a Plan? In Africa?

About a week ago, Mark Palmer, one of the off-ship program managers, asked if I would go up to Kara, Togo to take photos of a medical school graduation. Tom, the ship’s photographer, already had plans for the weekend, and he gave Mark my name, knowing that I too took photos.  The plan was to leave Friday afternoon, stay the night, attend the graduation on Saturday and then return afterwards that same evening. 

A couple of days ago, my roommate Lewis, who is the head of the communications department, got ahold of me and informed me that the higher up people at one of the international offices wanted to do a story on the medical school and graduation, and then asked if I would be willing to do some journalism work, ask some questions, get some quotes and take a couple specific pictures for the article.  Naturally, I said yes. 

The original plan of leaving yesterday (Friday) afternoon fell through as Mark realized that he had to be at the day-workers thank you event that was last afternoon.  We decided to call off the over night stay and just leave early enough in the morning to make it to the ceremony at 11:30. 

Mark was told my one of the doctors that frequently travels between Kara and Lome that the trip was about 4 hours long, but that was because she liked to drive slow.  With this in mind, we decided to leave at 6am this morning, arrive around 10, mingle with the people, the students, the teachers, and then attend the ceremony at 11:30. 

We all got into the dining hall this morning, bright and early.  Mark Palmer, his daughter Helena (?), Keith another one of the higher-ups on ship, and me with my camera, all ready to get into a Mercy Ships landrover and trek up to Kara.  All we needed to do was check the map so that we knew which road to take.

That was when we noticed that it was definitely going to take more than 4 hours.  After a quick check on google earth, we discovered that the trip was easily 400+ km, a good 6 solid hours of driving, if not more if we encountered a stopped truck, traffic, or a washed out bridge (all highly possible). 

So, with that, we all decided to stay up until breakfast was served at 7:30, then we all headed back to bed. 

The moral of this story (well, there are two morals to this story):  1. Dont trust the travel times between African cities given by Africans, they are a rough estimate, not accurate time of travels.  Check the travel distance yourself and time accordingly.  2. Like making plans for your life, don’t make plans in Africa.  God will laugh at you and then change them accordingly. 

God Bless and PEACE


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