Travels to Rwanda - july 30th - august 1
My flight to Kigali went much smoother than anticipated. I started off in Charlotte where my flight was delayed and my first thought was, “oh lawd, here we go”. Based on my travel experience to Italy, which was the last time I flew to Europe, I was a little nervous since I’d be traveling by myself this time. But, I landed in DC with plenty of time to spare. My thoughts about the DC airport, it seems so long ago now. The international portion of it was VERY international. I do remember that part. It wasn’t like the little international portion of Charlotte-Douglas - it was the first time that I felt a little out of place on this trip.
The flight over was find - it took 6 hours and 45 minutes. I was able to watch a movie and a couple of tv shows (Big Bang Theory simply because my mom raves about it so much. I did laugh out loud on the place at one point so maybe she’s right). We had dinner and breakfast, as well as plenty of snacks. The food was actually okay, better than I expected. I arrived in Brussels and was confused immediately. That airport is very big and while there are some signs in English, there are many that aren’t. It was confusing. I had to stop and ask 4-5 people where the heck I was going and while none of them knew, I somehow ended up in the right spot. That was the first time I felt a little panicky because I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to get my bag or not. They didn’t give me a boarding pass for the transfer from Brussels to Rwanda because I had to “re-check” in. I wasn’t sure if the re-check included getting my luggage. I stood at the baggage claim for a while, wondered around trying to find the Brussels check in, went the wrong way up a transfer path & finally ended up back in front. I may spend more time in Brussels on my way back but I was too nervous about trying to figure out where I was to included trying to go outside and look around there. It was also 54 degrees and I was wearing a t shirt and capris. Looking at Brussels as we flew in, it looked like a pretty cool place to visit. Everything was green, there were a lot of farms and old stone houses.
For the second time on my trip, I felt like a fish out of water. No one really spoke english, the signs were in different languages, mainly french and dutch. I thought, how in the world am I going to figure out what I’m supposed to do here. But I thought about what my cousin-in-law, Melissa told me as well as my friend, Nancy - when I’m quiet and let go of fear, God delivers the right people in the exact right time. So that’s what I tried to do. Now an angel did not come flying out of the heavens to gracefully guide me to the Brussels check out counter but each person I asked for help slowly got me to the right area.
I boarded the flight to Rwanda and felt relieved I had made it through that part of it. This time, there was a tv screen but it played only 4 channels and none of them were really interesting to me. I slept for a good portion of that flight but since it was nearly 8 hours, there’s only so much sleeping one can do. One thing I found was that the food on European flights is different and in a good way. My plate from DC to Brussels was a salad which had cucumbers and tomatoes with ranch dressing, some kind of beef curry dish with rice, and a roll. The dinner for this flight had a salad with mozzarella balls with a light dressing, a roll, sweet bread, a wedge of a creamy cheese, and chicken. I love how Europeans add lots of cheese and sweet breads and things like that to a meal. Then they came around with a Belgian ice cream treat and coffee. Then we had some kind of wrap made with organic ingredients and no preservatives. It was awesome!
I landed in Rwanda nervous about if my bags were there, was it hard to get through customs, will my driver be there, etc? My bags were there, nothing was broken or stolen, customs was the easiest customs I’ve ever been through and my driver was not only there but very friendly. Check! I came to my guest house and met 1 girl who’s been here for 2 weeks, Cameryn, a new girl who just arrived that same day, Charlotte, and 2 that were leaving the next day. 3 were from Australia and had beautiful accents, the other from WA State.
My first thought when I got in the car and started heading towards the guest house - “I can’t believe I am here and in Africa”. I’ve wanted to come for so long that I was a little overwhelmed at the idea. It was night, so I couldn’t see much other than a huge, sprawling city and house lights lit up as far as I could. I could tell it was hilly and felt like it must be beautiful in the day. It was cool, about 75 degrees and there were people all in the streets. It reminds me of Costa Rica. I feel asleep around 9:45 pm under my mosquito net and awoke to sounds of people working out in the streets. It’s lively at 6 am!
The last thing I wanted to share was that my goal throughout this trip is to operate out of confidence and love. I do not want to operate from fear. I made that mistake in Costa Rica and feel like I missed out on some things. So, in preparation for my trip, I’ve been praying that I continue to remain calm and pause when agitated. My friend gave me a daily meditation book called Jesus Calling and here is the meditation for today -
“Nothing can separate you from My Love. Let this divine assurance trickle through your mind and into your heart and soul. Whenever you start to feel fearful or anxious, repeat this unconditional promise: ‘Nothing can separate me from Your Love, Jesus”. Most of mankind’s misery stems from feeling unloved. In the midst of adverse circumstances, people tend to feel that love has been withdrawn and they have been forsaken. This feeling of abandonment is often worse than the adversity itself. Be assured that I never abandon any of My children, not even temporarily. I will never leave you or forsake you! My Presence watches over you continually. I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.”