July 5-July 6: Let the Journey begin…
11:00 we are all gathered at the airport for a 1:45 flight. My father's words echo in my mind, "Better to be early than late." Our bags are checked through (each one miraculously making the weight limit). We even have time to grab a bite to eat, knowing our next meal may be hours away. The flight shows it is on time and we are rejoicing that our trip is about to begin. We've been prayed over at the airport and we are feeling ready to head out. Our enthusiasm didn't translate to the United staff unfortunately. As 1:45 got closer the announcements began. Due to the weather in Chicago (wa-wah-wa-wah-wa-wah) we will not be leaving on time. But someone decided it would be a good idea to board so we all did. At this point we see the plane and it looks miniature. Not even our carry ons will fit on board so they confiscate all those to put beneath the plane. Now mind you; we purposely pack that way so we have basic essentials should our other bags not arrive. And I'm not talking chocolate (although always very important); I'm talking underwear and such! So finally, after about an hour on the runway, where we've been told (a) the plane is being rerouted because of storms, (b) the plane doesn't hold enough fuel to get us to Chicago via this new route, (c) we are now going to stop in Wichita, Kansas because we will need more fuel, and (d) we have to fly very low because we have too much fuel to just get us to Kansas! So off we go! To Kansas for a short 15-20 minute refuel… sadly, this turned into a 2 hour layover. Once again we got off the plane and waited. The good news… there was a Chick fil A so we all filled our bellies. Finally, we took off for Chicago. From start to finish that journey took us 10 hours!
We went up to the United desk and the woman behind the counter was incredibly nice. She rerouted us (instead of going to Brussels to Entebbe) we were headed to Washington, D.C, to Ethiopia and then on to Uganda. We now are scheduled to land Saturday afternoon at about 12:50. Jason Gallas gained hero status last night. After working out all the details we needed a place to sleep. All the hotels that United was willing to give us a discount for were booked solid. This is where Jason stepped in and said he had free rooms at the Sheraton. So off we went. We weren't there very long, arrived at 11 and left at 4:30 a.m. but those hours in a comfortable bed made a huge difference! Thank you Jason. So on to today. We arrive at the airport at 5 a.m. all make it through security with no problems except for Jacob, who has stored delightful chocolate in his bag. He is now 2 for 2 being stopped. We again have time to grab something to eat and head off to the gate where they have already started boarding. We are all feeling good, our trip really is about to begin until… The woman behind the desk takes one look at our boarding passes, realizes they were issued by Uganda and proceeds to tell us they are not valid and we may not be able to get on board. First, they must board all the standbys. And we are told the next available flight out doesn't leave until tomorrow. LFinally, just as the doors are closing, they allow us on. We are not sitting together but we are on board. Unfortunately, no one seems to know where our luggage is, but there is a good bet it won't be in Entebbe when we arrive! So as of now, we have one more leg… We've been to Wichita, Chicago (We're not in Kansas anymore Toto), and Washington D.C, just to get out of the USA! We've been able to communicate with Glenn so he knows he's on his own, and Banana Village to cancel our reservations. Glenn will communicate with Kyemba so here's hoping he is at the airport to meet us! Look at all the excitement we've already had and we haven't even landed on ground!!!
On a positive note the team is still laughing, joking and getting along great. Couldn't ask for a better group of people. I am thankful for each and every one of them. And for those wanting to know…. Julie is rocking the leadership gig! She not only has done a fine job of leading us, but she's offered to dispose of other people's trash! What a heart!!
As we were leaving DC I made the comment that we may never land in Uganda and therefore maybe our mission this year is to share with people on the plane about God. I was somewhat joking (about the sharing part, not about never making it to Uganda). Well, we were the last people to board and not a single one of us sat with another. We were all seated with strangers in middle seats. However, by trips end we had all made new friends and literally got to share what we were doing. I even exchanged email addresses with the woman sitting next to me. So now we are sitting in our fourth airport in less than 24 hours! Sadly, there is no way to get any drinks. The only drinks available are on the other side of the wall and since we don't yet have boarding passes we are not allowed out! One more leg and then we will head straight to Musana.
Ok, so plans changed just a little. Let me start by saying it is now 1 a.m. on July 8 and we are just now getting settled into Musana. We are in the new guest house and the rooms are awesome. So roomy with a real live ceiling fan!!! So what happened. Our flight actually arrived in Entebbe on time; sadly, none of our luggage arrived. Let me repeat NOT one single suitcase is here. The bad news… we have no idea where they are but hope they will arrive soon. All our supplies, and all our snacks are in those suitcases. This could be a catastrophe! 3-1/2 hours after arriving we completed all the forms necessary to get our luggage when it arrives. Then we had to go to Gaba church where we delivered a suitcase to Glenn. We ate dinner in Kampala and headed to Musana. The drive went on forever and we found parts of the country not intended for driving on, but our faithful driver Kyemba delivered us safely. So we started this adventure at 11 a.m. on Thursday and are just now getting ready for bed at 1 on July 8th!!!
Having said that I am signing off. Love you all.