Sunday, January 29, 2012

Still my fault???

JAN 12, 2012

Alright everyone. It begins again. The ridiculously long emails from the heart of Africa. As always, I promise that they will be lengthy, perhaps verging on “overly wordy” and will always include some of the following:

- Chaos

- Excitement

- Adventure

- Comic relief (usually at my own expense)

So, let’s not waste any more words and we’ll get started.

For those of you who don’t know. Despite making claims of leaving in October, November, and December, I finally flew out TODAY (today being January 9th). While an early departure would have allowed me an earlier start on the construction of GO!’s second project- Hero Home- a home for street children and orphans in Tanzania, I will admit, I was happy to be able to spend a third consecutive Christmas season in Winnipeg. Although, I would have been much happier had I had the opportunity to enjoy the WINTER weather that I love so much and see so little of while in Africa (this no snow things definitely does NOT float my boat. People assume I escape to Africa to avoid the cold, when in fact, I love the snow and was sad that snow didn’t love me back this winter). Anyways, I digress (which for any of you that have followed along with my last 2 African adventures, you’re quite familiar with my digressions and embrace them with open arms.. right?? ;)

So, I spent a wonderful Christmas in Winnipeg (and even got in a pick up hockey game, a Jets game and tobogganing. Not bad, considering the weather). Christmas was also a wonderful time for GO!. We kicked off the holiday with Westwood Collegiate’s Children’s Christmas Carnival which was a great success!! The students did an amazing job organizing and the community came out to enjoy- that’s what we call a WIN-WIN! Bannatyne School also joined in on the fundraising over the holidays and we collected over $600 in silver collection at their two Christmas concerts! Stevenson School and Linwood School also joined in with gingerbread and candy house raffles which were also successful!! Along with the school fundraising, we also launched our 100 People + 100 Dollars Christmas Campaign. The support was OVERWHELMING! Donations came pouring in from around the globe- LITERALLY! We had donations from Winnipeg, Toronto, Yorkton, Texas, England and even Australia! In the end, thanks to the incredible support, we were able to raise over $3000!

So, now that you have all the background info, fast forward 2 weeks and here we are. January 9th. I’m on a plane, flying over the Atlantic, on my way to bring the dream of Hero Home to life.

Here’s how my trip started. Any guesses? If you’ve read any of the emails about my previous trip starts.. you’ll have a good idea of how it went down.

So, despite my best efforts at trying to be organized and finished packing before the night before departure, the powers that be had other plans in the form of the “Black Screen of Death” (a term that Mark introduced me to while I was sitting on the floor staring at my darkened mac book with a stress & frustration induced tear streaming down my cheek.) Needless to say, it wasn’t a term I wanted to become familiar with. Despite valiant attempts from Tony to resuscitate Vinny, my vintage mac book, I was forced to take it in to the Apple store only to be told they “don’t look old machines.” How Rude! :( So, Saturday plans of finishing packing were replaced with computer shopping. That’s what everyone wants to do on their second last day in the country, right? I was able to buy a snazzy new netbook from Computer Avenue (no I’m not getting commission for that plug, I am just happy with my new Netbook!)

So, due to that chaos, I spent all of Sunday finishing up packing. By 5:00am, I was almost done and grabbed a quick 2 hour sleep (more than I got other years!). Up at 7:00am, I finished a few last minute details and was on the way to the airport by 945am. After a relatively stress-free check in (for once I’m not traveling with 5 or 6 massive boxes.. just 2 little bags) I said goodbye to my parents and Janice and then had a teary goodbye with Mark which was kindly interrupted when the nice man from Delta Air informed me that I needed to be through customs 1 hour before my flight and as it was, my flight was in 50 minutes. Opps! I jumped up, grabbed my carry-ons and gave Mark one last goodbye :( Made it through customs with ease (luckily I was an old pro with the set-up after all the time I spent at the new airport back in my employment days). I got into the boarding room and got to see to great friends from WAA who stopped by to see me off. I had barely dried my tears when an announcement came on with the FINAL BOARDINC CALL for my flight. Now, this is where the subject line comes in. Is it honestly still my fault if I miss my plane when I’m on time (more of less ) for my flight and the plane decides to leave early???? Seriously?? There are plenty of time when I get to the airport early and would happily leave but the plane decides not to go until it’s scheduled departure time or later and yet when I arrive on time (or a few minutes late) somehow the plane can just decide it wants to leave early! I don’t know how I feel about it! :) oh wait, I do know how I feel. I don’t like it!

So, I heard the final boarding call, jumped up once again and dashed to the boarding gate. Shockingly, the plane was completely boarded 30 minutes before the scheduled take off! Crazy stuff I tell ya! Anyways, I spent most of the flight alternating between weeping and sleeping (usually with my mouth wide open! Don’t you hate it when that happens!! Sometimes gravity can be a real bummer). I made it to Minneapolis early only to find out that the plane was delayed for an hour (which actually turned into 2.5 hours). See.. that’s exactly what I’m talking about. I get there early, the plane leaves late. I get there a little late.. it leaves early!

So, now I’m on my way to Amsterdam then Nairobi and then Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I should land in Dar around 11:30pm if all goes well.

That’s all for now! Not bad- a page and a half of typing and I’m not even in Tanzania yet! :)

I hope everyone has a wonderful new year! It was great seeing lots of you over the holidays! Please feel free to keep me posted on your lives! I love getting emails! I’ll be sure to send out updates about Hero Home. There may be a blog in the works too. Not sure. Hopefully some video clips too!

Take care! Happy 2012!


PS- just one last update. I’m in DAR. The rest of the trip was uneventful. I’ve forgotten just how hot it is here. WOW! Scorcher!! Take care! Enjoy the cold for me!