[My family and I just returned from a two-week trip to Sierra Leone, Africa for Chance's job with Lifegate Ministries. This is the first of my journal entries from the trip.]
Monday, March 24, 11:14 AM CST
We haven't actually left yet. We are still packing. And repacking. And packing again.
Even Nasko is packing. He asked if he could pack a bag, so I let him. So far, it contains three pairs of fake eyeglasses, two glasses cases, and one set of plastic keys that don't unlock anything. I feel like he gets it. What else might one need when traveling to a third-world-country?!
While rocking Louis to sleep for nap, I thought I'd research some of the amenities offered at the Brussels airport. I think I remember seeing a kids playplace there once. I pulled up their website and there's a news bulletin informing travelers to be prepared for possible delays... The president of the United States of America will be visiting Brussels on March 25-26. We cannot seem to get away from that man...
Tuesday, March 25, 2:25 PM
At the Peoria airport, Nasko watched out the window as they boarded one plane. The pilot could see us, and he began waving at Nasko. Well, that was better than meeting a celebrity, in Nasko's mind. He started waving back like a mad man. He even ran to different windows to be sure the pilot could still see him.
This has done nothing to help the fact that Nasko believes he is going to be given the opportunity to "drive" our airplanes.
A little while later, Nasko befriended another man in a uniform. He held this employee's hand and asked the man to take him to our plane's cockpit.
Too bad this man was in charge of moving the luggage, not flying the plane.
[We flew from Peoria to Chicago, then Chicago to Brussels.]
Tuesday, March 25 (still? maybe? And I sure as heck don't know what time it is.)
The key to relaxation for Chance and I? Apparently a seven hour flight. I got to watch TV. TeeVee y'all. I never get to watch TV at home. And guess what?! The show had nothing to do with school buses or fire trucks. It was marvelous.
(I watched every episode of The Big Bang Theory that I possibly could!)
Louis fell asleep as we were taking off, and Nasko was content to look out the window or sit in his seat and play. Actually, the area we sat in wasn't too full. Nasko sat four seats away and was well-behaved. Who knew flying could be so relaxing?! I mean, I got to sit and watch TV!
[We flew from Brussels to Freetown, Sierra Leone, Africa]
March 26, 6:02 PM (GMT)
We survived! We made it.
I did not strangle either of our children (or Chance for that matter). We travelled for around 26 hours and it is officially over.
The best part about arriving (aside from seeing Rick's gorgeous white face, of course)? It was hot and humid when we landed.
Hot and humid. I was afraid my body has forgotten how to perspire (it's been a miserable winter) but never fear, the warmth was amazing. I'm sure I'll be over that in about 15 minutes though.
Yup. Over it. The line for customs is long and there is no breeze in the airport. Or air conditioning. Haaawwwt...
All of our luggage arrived! Praise God! We actually packed most of our clothing in a carry on and then divided the rest of our luggage among two other suitcases. We were preparing for the worst. For example, if one suitcase was lost, I would have been out only two bags of gluten free noodles, instead of four. It's all about the important stuff arriving...
Now a three-hour ride in a truck.
I couldn't stand it any longer. I made Rick's driver pull over so I could pee on the side of the road. The last time I came to Africa, I avoided having to squat and pee outside the entire time. This trip isn't off to a good start in that respect...
9:40 (May as well have been 2 AM)
We got to Rick and Paula's house, ate some supper, and collapsed into bed. We used melatonin for the boys on the way here and again tonight. That stuff is my new favorite friend while traveling through time zones. (I'm taking notes for when we all go to pick up E this summer!)
Thursday, March 27, 7:02 AM
Rick and Paula mentioned that most groups who come to visit will usually sleep in until 10:00 on the first day. Y'all. Rick and Paula will soon learn that my family is not "most groups." We were all up by 7:00.
We've all had enough. We are all headed back to bed.
Rick and Paula wanted to take us to a new beach they recently discovered. It was awesome! For sure Africa-awesome and probably even all-around-no-matter-where-you-live-awesome. The beach was spotless with light colored sand, big waves, beach chairs and a hammock.
In order to use this private beach, one must either pay a fee or eat at the restaurant. No cooking and delicious, fresh seafood? Alright. You twisted my arm. Chance and I had crab and shrimp (it was the same price as the chicken club sandwich!). Yum!
After swimming and playing on the beach, Rick mentioned that there was a shower with hot water there. His home only has cold water, so this was important information. We all took our first showers since our travels began.
(Stay tuned for more of my journaling and photos!)