Sunday, April 1, 2012

Coming and Going

  I'm sick. The kind of sick where you are really and truly grateful to be home with modern facilities and easy access to a change of clothes.
  And I am sleeping........a lot.
  I supose that I picked up a bug on my last day in Kenya where I drove a half hour north to Thika and then three long hours east to visit Naomi. (I will share about my incredible day with her in the days to come.) This was extreme  poverty and extreme heat like nothing I had yet to experience on the Compassion tour thus far. I ate a bowl of overripe fruit that was dished up by the locals; mango, avocado, bananas and papaya. I also had some brown rice but politely waved on the chunky goat stew.
   I hope to be nearing the end of this invasion to my gut.
   In the next few weeks I hope to unpack this African adventure for you and for myself as well and will be writing about each day, as all of them were so unique and worthy of a post all its' own.

   When the opportunity to travel with Compassion to Kenya first became available, I began to dream of the possibilities. But after reading the fine print and realizing I would be on my own in GETTING to Nairobi and then on to the hotel, I quietly closed the door and whispered, "Ummmm....maybe next time."
   There was no way I was going to make a trip of this magnitude alone. Remember now....I am geographically impaired. I get turned around at the doctors office because there are too many exit signs and hallways that connect with each other.
   I follow. I do not lead.
   But through a series of God-designed events, I stumbled across a new friend, Beth, who encouraged me to go and promised to fly with me from D.C. onward. Her enthusiasm and confidence infused me with just enough courage to sign on.
   So after all of the packing and filling out of forms and getting my shots and the building of anticipation for this trip as each day passed, I was finally on my way to D.C. to meet Beth. She is from Iowa and was due to arrive from her Chicago connection about the time that I arrived.
   All of that changed when my cell phone jingled and I learned that she had missed her flight from Iowa and was never going to make it in time to catch the D.C. flight with me.
   I was going to have to go this alone. 
  The rest of the story you already know. I made it without any trouble, unless you count the little girl in the seat behind me who vomited at least three gallons of liquid onto her parents, herself and their carry on baggage. Eight hours of flying proved to be a little too much for her and the aborted landing and circular rerouting for a second attempt did not help in the least.
   Thankfully we were landing and exiting the plane when this all took place. I threw my prized package of baby wipes to the dripping mother and told her to just keep and use them all as I was herded down the aisle by passengers who were very anxious to depart.
   I knew I was in Switzerland when this little girl's dress was the first thing to greet me in the airport. Definitely not something Maggie would choose, but adorable just the same.
   A Swiss airplane took me the remaining eight hours to my final destination. And do travel Swiss Air if ever you get the chance. We were treated like royalty with steaming hot, lemon scented towels to freshen up with, Swiss chocolate delivered on a platter and Vanilla Bean  Dream Ice Cream to go with it.

As we drew closer to Kenya, my eyes were riveted on the screen directly in front of me. I was in African airspace now and my dream was becoming a reality.

My seat mates must have thought I was incredibly bored to be staring at this map for so long and with such intensity. And no one seemed to speak any English, so it wasn't like I could explain myself.

If there is one thing I learned to do on this trip, it was to be myself and forget about what everyone else was thinking about me. I was presented with opportunities at every corner to step out of my own man-made ball pit and engage fully with all that was going on around me. It was exhausting and not ever easy, but I did it and will never regret it. I had no time to waste on fear and insecurity. In Africa, I emerged a leader and I have no doubt that God had that in mind all along.