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1.04.2007

rough passage

1

Rough Passage

Things were going fine until Brussels. This is ironic because the Belgians were the most recent colonial oppressors in Burundi and are still pretty much despised.

The planes were full to capacity, which we expected. In London, I had to perform a miracle and transform my two carry-ons into one, but God was powerful. Our connection at London was very quick, barely time for a wash-up and a run to the next gate which was mercifully close. We were the last to make the plane. Alas, this is where we think the baggage fell behind.

Into Brussels.
At security – I was pulled over for the pat down. They found the compassion fund on my person. Apparently over the limit. “madam, please collect your things, give me your passport and come with me – we must call the police” “merde!” . after my request they let Derek stay with me, and put us in a cooling corner with a haisidic diamond merchant who did not look happy. Waited a bit and two undercover cops (they could have come from central casting) showed up. I stood, they looked me up and dow, said not a word to me, did not touch me or ask to see my cash or bags, had a loud discussion in Flemish with the security people. Then finally said to me “Madam, for you, it is ok”my passport was handed back to me, and we proceeded. Bought a good beer to wash the terror away.

– now on Ethiopian airways instead of British Airways. This was to be another overnight flight with a 11pm touchdown at Paris and then on the addis ababba. It was COLD in Brussels and I said goodbye to winter. Bad Luck that.
Ten minutes out of Paris the pilot says that the weather has gotten bad and we are turning back to Brussels.
We sat on the tarmac for an hour then the pilot said that the weather was not expected to get better for 7 hours and that they were going to bus us to a hotel. We had to get a transit visa, and they passed out all the checked luggage, this was when we found out that we had none. I requisitioned a Ethiopian Airways blanket for a coat. We stood outside in the cold after midnight and waited for busses that took us to a perfectly acceptable Holiday inn – but no food and we had not been fed since 10 am. Had a nice room for about four hours. A shower was almost as good as sleep. A buffet breakfast at 6am, well, the coffee was great. Then back to the airport. Where they parked us in a mostly unheated terminal on the tarmac and we waited for about three hours. This is when I discovered that I did not have my African explorer hat – oh, how I grieved that hat!.

Got a call off to Alivia as we could not reach Niyonzima, to tell him we would be at least a day late.

Finally a plane and off again, All day to Addis which caused us of course to miss the connection. The blessing of the day was that I realized that we were on the very same jet – I knew this because the arm of my seat was broken. At the end of the flight I searched the overhead bins, and Imana Ishimwe!(praise God) there was my faithful Hat! OK!

Now at Addis we waited an hour in a line for a hotel voucher, and then in a line that would have taken at least three hours for the transit visa. It was already midnight. Then a gigantic Nigerian fellow draped in white Lace had a truly enormous temper tantrum. The Burundian in line next to me said “that is a Nigerian, and no mistake!”and laughed. This got us three lines and got us to a hotel by 1am. But the Ethiopians stayed up and cooked us a snack then about four hours of sleep until coffee coissants and back on busses to the airport. Inquired about our luggage to no avail. I did very fast power shop with the ten minutes we had before flight time- ran into a shop and said “sisters _ need your help – I have church tomorrow and no clothes or shoes - no time to try on ! “ and a skirt, top and shoes appeared and were paid for, and I found Derek again and got on a plane to Entebbe, Uganda.

After Entebbe we flew to BUja, got in about 2 pm. David was up in Gitega getting Carolann Palmer and Patty Federighi. Feli and the girls met us and were relived to see us since they had heard to confirmation of our arrival. They were prepared to meet all three planes of the day. We filed a claim at “Luggage Perdu” . If we had arrived the right day the Kamenge Choir had hired a bus to meet us. Low key was ok – we can save Bristol City Limits for another day.

Food, sleep, and people who love us. Our accommodations are great, I have my own room with a private bath. Upstairs, windows overlooking Lake Tanganyika. We will be ok.

Stay tuned
Pp
Comments:
What an adventure! I'm glad you're safe and at least have a change of clothes. I guess you were supposed to arrive with about as much as what many of the people you will work with own.

Here's hoping for a few days of calm and the arrival of your bags.
 
sorry passage so rough
challenging here too
not same though
hoping the luggage comes soon
carry on mutineer
 
Oh, Peggy. I'm glad you finally got there, and in one piece!
 
God is great, God is magnificent. Glad you are well; thanks for the update.

Blessings,
Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up
 
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