Thursday, August 30, 2012

Safari

It is still quite dark here in Arusha, and thanks to modern technology, I am writing to you from the road. It is so dark, I don't have to worry about missing some glorious view of nature that our Creator has designed. Although I am siting in the front seat on the left side of the car, don't worry, I am NOT "texting" and driving. Here, in the former British colony of Tanganika they drive on the wrong side of the road!

I arrived without problems, enough sleep and all my bags. My hosts (Reverends Charles and Sabina Lumwe) were waiting at the airport. Only six people got off the plane in Kilimanjaro. At 3:00 in the morning, I experienced none of the usual encounters (long lines through customs, waiting for luggage, throngs of people, eager drivers fighting for a fare). It was quiet and uneventful for me. I can't say the same for the rest of the passengers who disembarked. The other five people apparently did not clarify the "date" of their arrival and no one was there to meet them. One couple who had made the flight from Seattle, Washington did not get their luggage. I had my friends wait until they had finished the paperwork. Even though it kept us at the airport for another hour, having been in such circumstances, I knew they would be well past frustrated when they realized they were stuck without transportation (in addition to the loss of their luggage).

My friends communicated to a local driver (the ONLY one at the airport) and convinced him to wait as there were people inside who would need his services. We left them with telephone numbers, and assurance if they ran into more trouble help was only a phone call away.

We arrived at the Lumwe house just in time for nature's alarm clock to greet us. I knew the morning cacophony of 300 chickens, 5 roosters and 2 dogs would not make for a much needed rest, so...

I did what frequent travelers do - I put in ear plugs and tossed back something to help me sleep! It worked. No roosters crowing, no dogs barking no nothing - only blissful sleep. ELEVEN HOURS later, my host shook me awake with news of the time - "Charlynn, it is 4:00 in the afternoon, are you okay?"

I was, I am and although the crowing of the rooster woke me at 3:15 AM this morning, my alarm was set for 4:00 AM so I did not miss much in the sleep department. My hosts were apologetic about our early departure this morning (we were on the road at 5:00) but I assured them my body and my mind are sufficiently confused not to care!

Before we departed the household gathered for prayer. The daughter was instructed to pray for our "safari." I thought this a strange (but welcome) prayer request, and once we were in the car I asked the translation of the word.

Safari, in Kisswahili means "journey."

I like that.

We have seven hours to drive today. The sun has not cracked the horizon yet, the roads are dark and dangerous, so I am keeping my head down focused on a two inch square screen to calm my anxiousness.

I am on safari!

You are on safari with me!

Today, marks the 53rd year I have been favored with life. After the prayer, I requested a song. That's right folks - I made the Africans sing Happy Birthday to me. I might just make every stranger I greet today offer up a song. My usual traveling companions are probably reading this and thanking God they have been spared this embarrassment.

I am on the King of Kings SAFARI! I am celebrating, I am singing, I will probably be dancing, but for certain I am smiling

In His service



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