The journey to get here to Mozambique took a little longer than planned and had some interesting turns. I left snowy Edmonton at 6 pm on Sept 8th…arrived in even snowier Calgary about 7pm! I think winter wanted to give me one last taste of snow before I headed off for a year where there is no snow. Needless to say it definitely made leaving a little easier….with thoughts of warm sunny Africa filling my mind.
I boarded my overnight flight to London and was able to get a few hours of broken sleep. It was 2pm in the afternoon when I arrived in London…I knew I had about 5 hours before my next flight to Johannesburg. I passed the time watching people making the most of free wifi and relaxing in some quiet spots in the airport.
Before I knew it, 7:00pm came and I was boarding my flight…happy to once again be on my way. We had just settled into the flight, eaten our supper and one of the pilots came on to tell us that we had an electrical problem with the plane. They were turning around and heading back to London!! Well that set off a flurry of activity and speculation as to what was going to happen and what we were going to do…what about connections, would we be just changing planes and going again….on and on.
My thought was…”this is going to be an adventure and make this trip a whole lot longer!” We arrived in London safely and they had arranged hotel accommodations and transportation for us…telling us the flight was scheduled to go the next day at 5:10pm! I was so thankful to get checked in to my hotel room and have a nice hot bath. I used my 30 minutes of free wifi to let people know what was happening and then crawled into bed around 1:30am. It felt sooo wonderful to lay down flat in a bed and sleep. The morning came too quickly! I was still so exhausted that the thought of going and touring London was just too much. So after breakfast and another short nap I checked out and headed to the airport. I went to the special location to check in and find out what was happening with my connection in Joburg…they had rebooked me on the same flight just a day later. For the next 3 hours I got even more familiar with Terminal 5 at the London Heathrow Airport…finally it was time to head to the gate and board the flight. It was the same gate, I was sitting in the same seat and what do you know…we had the same crew! Kinda like deja vu or as we were all joking “Groundhog Day”! I got to know a few people as we were waiting to board…discussing where we had each stayed, etc…so interesting how people bond in these types of circumstances. I met one couple who were also catching a connecting flight and we made plans to hang out together while we waited in Joburg. You’ll never believe…when I got on the flight I was sitting with the same people!! 😉 What a celebration when we finally got on our way…after a couple more delays because 4 people checked in and then didn’t show for the flight so their luggage had to be removed. I got to know the ladies in the seats next to me and a couple of the flight attendants really well…it felt like I was traveling with friends. So cool and way more enjoyable especially on a 12 hour flight!
We were the first plane to arrive in Joburg at 6am…I said goodbye to my new friends and headed through immigration to international connections to collect my boarding pass for my next flight. Simple, right?? Well not so much…when I got to the counter they said that British Airways had booked me on the flight but hadn’t issued the ticket…so I needed to go all the way back out, go through immigration again, collect my bags and go to the ticketing agent and purchase another ticket. At this point it was almost more than I could handle and being very tired didn’t help. Thankfully I had a lot of time and there was another girl with Mercy Ships heading to Madagascar that was in the same boat…so together we headed off to try and get this sorted out. After several attempts we finally got to the right place and British Airways issued our tickets so we didn’t have to purchase tickets and then get reimbursed! Then I just had to go recheck my bags, collect my boarding pass…and go back through immigration and security. Boy was I ever happy to see the Out of Africa store…it meant I was again on my way…
I found the couple I had arranged to meet, filled them in on the continuing saga and we enjoyed a coffee together. They are involved in mission work as well with the Anglican Church…they wanted to pay for my coffee and said, “It’s on the Church of England!” He just happens to be a Reverend with the church! It was so great to be able to share my story with them as well.
I boarded my flight to Beira with a lot of excitement…I knew Andy and Jenn would be waiting for me with the mission plane and I was so close to the end of my journey! After all my long flights, a hour and a half flight flew by! I breezed through the unorganized process that is customs and immigration in Beira and soon we were on our way in the mission plane!
I felt re-energized as we made the flight…it was such an amazing feeling to finally be here!! The journey that I thought was going to take about 37 hours ended up being 65 hours!! I made it for a few hours before the “crash” came and I had to go to bed. I’m so blessed to be staying in Rick and Heather’s house while they are on furlough in Canada…wonderful to have a fully furnished place to call home for the next 5 months or so. Yesterday and today I’ve just been trying to get unpacked and get my bearings…and try to adjust myself to the time change…last night wasn’t the greatest. I was awake from about 1:30-4am and couldn’t get back to sleep. Maybe tonight will be better…