The past 48 hours are a blur….
7/13/15 – EST
4:00 am: This would have been an early morning wakeup call if any of us had actually gone to sleep. Instead, we chose to stay up all night celebrating the end of training and beginning of adventures, packing, and saying goodbye. Regardless, checking out and loading all of the buses to travel from Yale to JFK was not an easy task this late at night/early in the morning, but we did it.
7:00 am: After completely passing out on the bus ride to the airport we made it in one piece only to find that the gate did not open until 3 hours before our flight, and our flight was at 11:20 am. So much for being early for international travel. So the Ugandan, Malawian, and Zambian cohorts camped out in the airport waiting patiently.
8:30 am: The check-in line started moving and we were on our way to negotiate overweight bags, ready to cry at any moment.
9:00 am: I was “randomly” selected for a security check.
9:15 am: My backpack was searched in case my contact solution just happened to contain a different liquid…(more insights and reflections on these two events soon to come in a separate blog post)
11:20 am: We boarded the nicest plane I have ever seen. It was a two-story plane complete with Titanic-like stairs for business and first class customers. Every seat had pillows, eye masks, headsets, toothbrushes…and before we took off we were served warm, scented washcloths! We had access to thousands of movies, tv shows, radio stations, and podcasts and our choice of unlimited drinks, candy bars, and fruit. I highly recommend 12+ hour flights on Emirates.
7/14/15 – Dubai/UTC+2:00
7:30 am: First stop, Dubai, the hottest place I’ve ever visited. Even the water from the drinking fountain was steaming hot.
9:30 am: After fretting that none of us were going to make it to Lusaka because our boarding passes were marked standby we did, in fact, make it on the plane and were on our way to our final destination!
2:30 pm: I cannot explain why, but the moment I laid eyes on Zambia, I knew I would love it. There was something about the beautiful vegetation and the smell in the air that made me feel comfortable right away.
6:00-10:00 pm: First blackout – Zambia has recently started load shedding, which means the government mandates that Zesco, the power company, shuts off the power for periods of time daily. They say these times are scheduled and they send out mass sms alert, but we’re not convinced that things always go according to plan. What load shedding really means to me is that I get to light lots of candles and play with the multiple settings on my new head lamp.
11:30 pm: I have always dreamed of sleeping in a tapestry bed so that I could feel like royalty, and now my wish has come true. For what seems like the first time in days I finally slept and began my experience with jetlag.
I’m in Lusaka until Sunday, getting acquainted to power outages and limited internet access as well as meeting the current GHC fellows and touring the city. Here’s to a year of adventures!