We have arrived... finally!

Posted on January 24th, 2011

With many tears and hugs goodbye, we boarded our flight for Dulles on Tuesday, Jan. 4th. It was a bittersweet farewell as we are leaving not only parents but sons and their wives behind. Our flight went well and we had a pleasant seatmate who is working in Armenia teaching at the international school there.
Upon arriving in Dulles, we had plenty of time to make our connection and were soon winging our way to Africa. The first leg of about 8 hours we were fed and entertained. After an hour’s stop over in Dakar, we finished the last 8 hours of flight mainly sleeping. The bad thing about this is that it was day time so when we finally landed in Johannesburg, South Africa it was evening, but we had been sleeping most of the day. We stayed the night at a nice hotel adjoining the airport and after hot baths, relaxed. I eventually fell asleep, but poor Keith was awake all night long.
Our flight to Botswana left early in the morning, so we were thankful we were at the airport. With time for a light breakfast, I was able to see and marvel at the amazingly beautiful O.R. Tambo International Airport, (One of the most beautiful I have ever seen.) built especially for the World Cup this past summer which was held here in South Africa.
The flight to Botswana was barely over an hour. We arrived on time and went through immigration and customs with no problems. After a short wait, our ride arrived in the person of Mark Spicer, a pilot with Flying Mission who is now the director. He and his sweet wife Debbie hosted us for a couple of days so that we could get rested, especially Keith and catch the Saturday night bus to Kasane.
So we had a couple of wonderful days visiting, resting and touring Gaborone which has changed immensely since last I was here. Once there was one main shopping area, but now there are so many and more are being planned. I was shocked at the availability of goods. In a store like a Walmart, they even had a George Foreman grill! Yep! There was George on the box smiling! Wow!
Saturday found us getting ready for our all night bus ride to Kasane. Keith and Elise have ridden this bus many times, but for me it was a first. We boarded around 6:00 pm and shortly set out. For the first hour or so we had no seatmate so we had some room. The seats are tight and narrow so Keith had little room for his legs. However, soon we had a seatmate and Keith was sandwiched between us. It wasn’t too bad until at about 11:30 pm the bus made a strange hiss and Keith sat up. We had been trying to sleep. “Something’s not right,” he said. Sure enough the turbo charger had blown. So we limped along to the halfway point arriving around midnight.
At least we could get out. stretch our legs, oh and use the restroom after six hours! Not surprisingly, there was a mad rush to the bathroom! Unfortunately, it was a one-seater and there were many of us, besides the restroom attendant was charging 25 cents to use the facilities. Someone yelled, “To the bush!” and we all made a mad dash for a large unlit field behind the bus stop/filling station. Let me add that it had been raining the whole time! Dodging mud puddles not too successfully, we completed our task. Thankfully, I had worn a dress just for this reason. Welcome to Africa!
After four hours, the bus was fixed and we set off for Kasane. Overbooked. people and luggage filled the aisles. Thankfully, Keith and I slept and woke to see ostrich and elephant as well as the usual cattle, donkeys and goats.
About an hour and a half out of Kasane, “Hisssss” the turbo charger went out again. Thankfully, we were able to continue to Kasane though at a much reduced rate of speed.
Wow! It was great to get to Kasane after 16 hours on the bus! What a delight when the whole Kasane Christian fellowship group showed up to welcome us to Botswana and especially Kasane. After depositing our luggage at our house, which I got to see for the first time (EXCITING!!!), we joined them in after fellowship tea and cake at Heather Car-Hartley’s wonderful home. It is good to be back in Africa!

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