Friday, June 30, 2006

the journey 28th Wed to 29th june thurs...

Lift off at Entebbe had no problem at all. I have always watched from the entebbe top restaurant many of my friends leaving the country going abroad, always take a moment at the plane stairs to look back & sometimes wave at their loved ones before disappearing into the plane. This made me silently promise to myself, that if ever such an opportunity came my way, i should not miss to do the same thing. Just before disappearing into the plane, i turned, looked & waved at the "imaginary" loved ones (bcoz they had already left!) and however was looking back at me.

I took my seat near a guy a later discovered was British guy called Chris. He introduced himself to me as a preacher committed to doing missionary work in Kampala. At the end of it all i invited him to Kayanga - who knows people everywhere need a preacher in their lives! We had a smooth ride to brussels together chatting on experiences regarding working with African communities. The meals in the plane, i should say were great. We were served Kenyan yogurt, butter, bread, crunchies and a juice of personal choice - for dinner and about same stuff for breakfast except for yoghurt.

We got to Brussels early in the morning at 0655. The sight was breathe-taking as we were about to touch down: the open wheat fields, huge car parking lots with different cars, the long Brussels highways not having a single bend in them. Wow! it was nice & beyond description. We quietly touched down. Everybody was hurrying to get to their connecting flights and i was no exception, i was purely drawn into the rush. The good thing the screen inside the SN brussels plane shows connecting flights and the corresponding gate numbers. I got a glimpse of mine and that was it. I quickly checked in and was surprised to be the first at the connection flight gate. Unfortunately, there was nobody else there. Shocked & worried at same time, i wonder a little on to check on the other screens around to see if i was at the wrong place, No! asking around a fellow AMSTERDAMER answers "still early!" I looked at my watch and realized that i had not put it an hour behind to match with the European time. Relief poured forth.
Our connection flight finally came in 40 minutes later and we boarded off to schipol airport in Amsterdam.

Enjoying the view of Amsterdam was as breath-taking as it was for Brussels. We landed & quickly went to the arrivals lounge only to try locate my luggage & couldn't find it. After a lull of about 20 mins i asked a customs officer who directed KLM offices. Brussels with being such a huge airport far much different from entebbe, i had to switch to another arrivals lounge. I got my luggage of fresh fruit also checked by the customs officer!

More worse than that, was to push my carriage out of Brussels lounge very eager to meet my host only to get outside and see nobody familiar! I then comforted myself that maybe if i could just go back in again and look around i could see him. Nothing like that happened. Its then that i realized how big Schipol was and more importantly how a new person can easily get lost and not easily found by however came to collect them. After asking for help from a nearby guy, he mentioned that i get to the information center inside the airport to get help and surely they announced my host's name inside the airport; "Bas, you got a visitor from East Africa, please come to counter information center" Twice read out by the lady at the counter.

What followed was relief and the excitement on seeing him getting closer to where i was waiting for him. We got everything together and got my European trip up to a great start...

jon

get on the plane, its 28th june evening...

Saying goodbye to loved ones is one of the most heart-breaking experiences a person goes through sometimes.

I had to say goodbye first to the many friends back "home" in Kayanga, Karagwe-Tanzania. Everybody was saying please: "write us soon and don't forget us", "find us places there so we can also join you there" "get us as many contacts as you can" All this makes you feel like you are on your way to heaven - as if you are going to a place where people normally don't came back. More drama was to follow. Friends who are not interested in using email were all asking for my email address "to keep in touch" Others just couldn't even say goodbye, more especially, the girls since they were "beyond doubt" such a young guy to go to europe and not find "other female friends" as they like to put it.

All this makes a departing person especially one going abroad to feel a little "kicked out" of his friends hearts. And thats exactly the same feeling i had as i was about to board my plane.

more to follow...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

ooooooh hectic european Visa!!!

Getting a visa is a hectic process! I have only been hearing about it but i am glad i experienced it. You are always put on edge by something missing; could be a document, bank statement etc - those who have gone through the process know it.

I got mine done, but not after having so many people's fingers "crossed" for my sake. Everybody was praying for me to have it in time to confirm my flight and also to make the european visit a reality. Thanks everybody! Am heavily indebted to all of you.

Alright end of 1st post, take care everybody,

John