Ready or not-- TRAVEL to Africa begins
Updated: Mar 2, 2019
Despite absolutely LOVING Bolivia, leaving myself only 5 days in between both trips with tons of packing and 4 nights of hospital work to complete was not my wisest decision. I honestly don't mind taking things extreme, or being totally flexible, but I wasn't prepared for how sick I would feel coming back from Bolivia. I don't think I had parasites but I did have respiratory systems and was completely exhausted.
My lovely house-mate and one of my best friends Ana, was flying to Thailand on the 12th. Right before she left, we realized I had almost nothing packed in my suitcase and still had a ton of things to do. So Ana stayed up late with me and helped me pack my bags for Kenya. Too say the least, I'm going to miss Ana terribly when I'm gone because she is one of the bestest friends ever! (I'm going to miss all my friends a ton because they are amazing and I don't know how I got such awesome friends!)
My parents helped me buy last minute things, tried to unlock my cell phone so I could use an overseas data card, and actually ended up buying me a last minute return ticket minutes before I left in Atlanta. What happened was, my parents drove me to Atlanta where we faced insane traffic. I got to the check in an hour before my flight and security in Atlanta was long. When I tried to check in, the customer service agent said I could not go on the flight unless I had a return ticket. I was previously not told I needed a return ticket to get into Nairobi, so this was a shock.
I remember the agent telling me "You have 10 minutes to buy a return ticket or connecting flight from Nairobi or you will miss this flight."
The crazy thing is even though it was a little stressful, I felt this calm peace about the whole thing and trip in general. Going to Kenya has been in a way a last- minute decision and kinda crazy timing. Yet despite my doubts and weird circumstances it just "feels so right". I feel like God has a reason for bringing me here even though I don't know all the reasons yet. And I have faith it's going to work out.
In Bolivia, the trip leader's motto was "Things will go wrong." Things will go wrong here, and get temporarily crazy, but in the end it will be ok. God will always work out the plans He desires and I'm not really nervous about traveling to Nairobi or the middle east because of God. I think you can live two ways- you can have fear or faith. And I want to choose faith and practice choosing faith each opportunity.
So my parents and I purchased that return ticket to Nairobi and the agent literally ran with me to customs. By the time I was to the flight from Atlanta to Qatar/Doha I was the last person on the plane. I literally ran in before take off. I ended up sitting by an Islamic man who spent two hours of our plane ride trying to convince me that Jesus could not be the son of God. He was a very nice older gentleman who kept trying to order my food for me and do strange things to help me. I just prayed we could get through the argument kindly, and I could get away from this man without him expecting something in return from his weird favors.
Our 13 hour flight to Doha ended up belayed delayed as well- SURPRISE. I had a strange feeling that with a one hour layover I could end up being stranded in the middle east and that strange idea turned into reality. A middle eastern flight agent met me at my gate with a different ticket. He told me there was a hotel for me to stay at in Doha that was payed for with transportation. I was like "Oh boy..this is interesting and a little sketch." But I decided to go along with it anyways. I met a young guy flying to Nepal whose flight was delayed as well. So I was able to go with him to the hotel and through customs in Qatar.
When I finally got to the airport in Doha, it was super nice and high class. Qatar is a beautiful, high-end middle eastern city and I took a 2 hour nap, got a shower, and was able to call my parents. I called the family who was meeting me in Nairobi and let them know my flight was delayed. Qatar ended up paying for the whole thing- the hotel ticket and even food while I was there.
Finally on the morning of the 16th I arrived in Africa on a small plane. I was so excited and relieved. I purchased my visa for 3 months and was met by a friend of Francis who took me to a hostel to meet a short term mission group and head to the Mara. And from there there we began our bus ride into the Mara (picture below). It was a bumpy, exciting, and animal-filled ride into what seemed like the middle of nowhere...