It’s been a long trip to say the least!
But God has certainly had a part all along; we were not delayed and experienced minimal turbulence for all FOUR flights. Which was especially great since we had a first time flyer! We started off yesterday in Nashville around 10 am cataloging 91 duffle bags full of more than 1,200 Gift a Gallon goodies.
Once we boarded the plane in Nashville, a very small plane I might add (the flight attendant deemed it a ‘flying pringles can’), it became pretty apparent after sitting for 45 min on the tarmac as they attempted to load all the bags that not all were going to fit. We were assured that all would be waiting for us when we landed in Uganda so not to worry.
We continued on our journey to Chicago where we had a bit of free time to grab lunch before the long leg to Brussels. Some team members might not remember the Brussels trip since it went well into the night and many slept. On Thursday morning, local time, we arrived in Belgium exhausted but in good spirits! We had just over an hour to make it to our gate, cue hurried walking! Our efforts to rush were a bit in vain since once we got there we had plenty of time to board.
The final flight felt even longer than the 8 hours it was scheduled to take but were thankful when we landed in Kigali right on time around 7:30 pm local. Once on the ground in Uganda, the team remained on the plane while the crew transitioned and prepared for the last, short 40 min flight to Entebbe.
We made it to Entebbe at around 10, went through customs without a hitch and patiently awaited the luggage belt as it whirled around the room. All moments from the day led to this one solitary prayer that all would arrive at once and intact. Our first bags we saw were pulled and placed on luggage carts enthusiastically but the pace began to slow as we surveyed, counted and recounted what we had in our possession.
Our orange shirts began to dot the entire length of the help desk with all hands on deck to begin cataloging our missing duffles. The staff at the airport was extremely kind and gracious in guiding us on the protocol for reporting a claim for each bag despite it taking more than four hours in total. We were reassured all will arrive by the weekend before we set off for campus.
As Rachel finished the last report, we began the final security pass and headed out to the trucks where Bruhan and Samuel, our drivers met us with warm smiles and hugs.
As we travel now to the Apricot Guest House, somewhat smelly, 100% sleepy but with a quiet buzz of excitement and anticipation, I can’t help but think about the statement plastered on our backs: The Power of Friendship. We had several fellow travelers ask our mission, our purpose and why the statement on our brightly adorned shirts. The reason is more apparent as I detail our day. We had an extremely long trip and have every reason to be a bit grumpy but every single member of our 36 person team was in excellent spirits, super helpful to one another and was greeted with an equally exuberant attitude from staff in all three of the airports we’ve traveled through. I can only attribute our successful and safe day of travel to The Power of Friendship.
Quote of the day
“No matter how much I talk about it, how many stories I tell or photos I show, nothing compares to being here.”
- Madison Owens