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I am in Africa

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The idea of traveling on a plane for 22 hours is agonizing at best. Surprisingly, I discover the eight-plus hour flight to London, which usually seems an eternity, when placed in this new perspective, is a sweet lingering rest before shuffling our way through security lines and the bustling chaotic duty-free zone of Heathrow, as we make our way to the next leg of our flight. 

I am enthralled with international airports. I relish seeing the many exotic faces—Norwegians with their bleach blond locks, tanned skin adorned in tights and fur-lined coats and boots; ebony, high-cheeked men in their glorious dreads; richly colored silken saris; and red-cheeked children riding their small hard plastic suitcases on wheels grateful for mum pulling them along. 

Nicole and I jump onto the transfer bus taking us to the tarmac where our plane awaits us. Expecting to be surrounded in rich dark brown faces, I instead find myself in a sea of khaki pants. This flight is filled with Europeans heading to the beach for vacation, seasoned couples setting off on safari, and wide-eyed, cheery Americans of all ages anxious for their mission work. All are adventure seekers.  

Once on the plane, it is impossible not to notice the toddler sitting in the center row beside us. She has bright inquisitive eyes and has captured everyone’s attention. She insists on exploring every nook and cranny of this plane. The attendants bring her treats, men are giggling and making silly faces to make her smile, and others stop and kneel beside her to offer some form of entertainment. She has brought forward the sweet gentleness found in each of us. 

We have landed, made new friends—Johnston returning home after 11 years for a one month visit with family who owns a farm near Lake Nakuru and Lori who is an environmental sociologist and professor in Colorado who will be working with Green Belt. 

So many dreams being made reality today. I am in Africa!