I mentioned about six months ago that Nathan and I had decided to go on a trip to West Africa with our church in January. When the day finally came to leave, I kept quiet since it's not always the best idea to make public the fact that you will be out of town for over a week! But now that I'm home and have processed the trip - and gotten over jet lag! - I'm ready to share about the adventure we had.
And what an adventure it was! We were supposed to leave on the Friday that a huge blizzard hit Virginia. Knowing this, we left a day early to drive up to Washington, DC. I'm so glad we did - otherwise, we never would have made it out. At the airport, our plane boarded early...only to sit on the tarmac in heavy snow for 3 hours. I didn't think we would actually take off, and that was my first experience with plane de-icing. Finally, after an eternity, the plane took off for our destination in the middle of a blizzard.
We landed early the next morning and stepped into the airport. I don't know what it is about being in another country, but I immediately felt at home. It wasn't anything like an American airport, and we were stranded for awhile while our ride arrived, but it felt good to be overseas once again, after having grown up in another country for most of my life. It was a warm, beautiful day, despite my exhaustion.
The team recouped and did some normal things - grocery shopping, unpacking, etc. before an action-packed evening. The first night, we babysat for workers in the country who almost never get a night to themselves. On a few hours of sleep, we watched over 20 extremely high energy kids. I was wiped by the end of the night but in a good way - the kids were precious and well behaved, and it provided a much needed break for the parents.
The next day was Sunday, and we were thankfully able to attend church. After growing up in a relatively closed country in terms of Christianity, this was a different experience. It was awesome to worship along with people from all over the world, knowing that we serve the same God and have the same purpose for being there.
After church and an amazing seafood lunch, we visited one of the country's national monuments. I ran up 11 flights of stairs nonstop - and yes, I paid for that the entire week! It was amazing to overlook the city and see where we were about to live for the next 9 days. That evening, after walking in the community, we showed a movie for anyone who wanted to come. Only a few people did (there was a MAJOR wrestling match in the city that night!) but we really felt like the right people were there. Then we fell into bed, exhausted and ready for a long week ahead.
Click here to read Part 2!