Africa….finally in Africa after months of planning, prepping, and praying. We drove down to Georgia on Tuesday, October 4th. Our estimated eight hour ride, stretched into a pleasant twelve hour torture chamber. Just kidding, but there were definitely times where my teeth were clenched. Our checkout at the AIM office went smoothly. We had meeting after meeting learning all sorts of valuable information about our future life in Tanzania as well as a few tidbits that might assist us along the way. We had a final luncheon where we shared stories and expressed thanks, a final bath where the water could be swallowed without panic following, a closing of health insurance, life insurance, and credit card accounts, and a last minute packing frenzy to ensure that nothing we truly needed was left behind.
On October 7th, we departed for the airport at noon with 9 action packer containers, 3 large duffles, 4 carry-ons, 3 carseats, 1 guitar and 6 small backpacks. The airport went as smoothly as it could, only a couple of bags were searched, no passports were lost, and a final meal of hotdogs, burgers, fries, onion rings, and soda were gobbled down, just to keep America fresh in our minds and near to our guts. We boarded the plane with ease and sat in the final row. The kids did a pretty good job overall and I only had one temper tantrum before landing in Amsterdam at 5:50am. We had a sweet seven hour layover and mostly spent the time migrating from comfy chair areas to random bathrooms. At this point, I could claim that we were all exhausted, and showing signs of grumpiness. We boarded our plane for Nairobi, Kenya at 3:00pm. Minutes before our anticipated take-off, the captain gently shared that there was a technical issue and that a team of technicians were being transported to investigate. Two hours later, we were cleared for take off and over the next eight hours were fed exuberant amounts off food that were meant to take our minds off the fact that we had children on a long flight. Praising God that we all the kids slept, just at different times. We made it to Nairobi at about midnight and were greeted by a rather extensive immigration line. We were granted permission to come into the country and made our way to gather our luggage. I have to admit, at this point, I was a little on edge, trying to round up children and bags, wondering if our ride would come, and chiding myself for leaving all the contact information back in a pile of papers on a table in Georgia. We were blessed with wonderful help at the airport and after making our way through customs, were released into the wilds of Kenya at 2:00am where our ride was waiting. We loaded our bags, ourselves, and our new memories into the car and made our way to the Mayfield Guest House where we would be staying for the next couple of days, recouping and preparing for our three weeks of Africa Based Orientation that is set to begin on the 12th.
Our stay was been good overall. Sleep is difficult to get to, but not uncomfortable. The time change is still being navigated. The food is marvelous. But what has been most cherished is meeting people from all across the world that have been, are in, or will be going into the mission field all across Africa. The kids are making fast friends and we are each sharing a bit of who we are with one another. We will keep you posted as we carry-on.