Friday, August 13, 2010
My Journey to Africa...
As I arrived at the Long Beach airport my eyes started to water with thoughts of the unknown filling my head. I was scared about the possibility of my time in Africa not being fun or good. I thought “What if I don’t get along with my roommates? What if I get homesick? What if I don’t make many friends?”. I said goodbye to my parents and then went on my own up to my boarding gate. After I got onto the airplane my nervousness turned back into excitement as my long time dream of going to Africa was finally coming true! I was ready for big adventure, even if it meant leaving behind the people that I love.
The plane flights and layovers were long and tiring. I meet up with my future roommates Molly and Gina in the D.C. airport and we took the last leg of the flight together. I filled the time on my flights with a nap, a movie, music, and some conversation with Gina. I was getting more and more excited as time went on, especially once I could see a glimpse of Africa through the clouds (photo above). Sooner than I could get a grip on the reality that I was going to be in Africa, we arrived. As I was going through customs I did not get a very good first impression of the country. There were pretty paintings on the walls, but the air smelled like urine and there were men dressed in army attire walking around with machine guns. After we got past customs we went to get our bags. Miraculously all of them arrived no problem :)
As we made our way down to the parking lot area we found the people picking us up holding a sign that said "AHA Program". We later learned that one of them is named Sonny and he is the one that takes us on tours and is basically in charge of us, the other is the van driver. As we followed them to the van we were bombarded by men trying to help us carry our suitcases and get money from us. It was quite overwhelming as we didn’t know who was part of our group and who was not. Eventually we made it to the van and escaped the madness of the airport.
Sonny and the driver took us to the our hotel that we had reservations at. It was totally beautiful! I love the tropical plants and the sound of the ocean!