15 January 2011

5 Countries in 5 Days

So, tomorrow will mark two weeks since I arrived in Africa. I now live basically on the equator where the sun rises and sets at almost the same time every day. Where my electricity and water supplies are somewhat sporadic. Where the green landscape, punctuated by red roads, is beautiful and breathtaking. Where the people have been so welcoming.

So much has happened I don’t know how to begin or what to share first. I guess the beginning. :)

I can guess what you’re thinking: “Five countries? I thought you were going to Uganda”. Well, I AM in Uganda. But it was a process to get here. On January 1st (Happy New Year!) my family drove me from Western New York to the Toronto International Airport. Although I didn’t spend long in Canada, to me, it still counts as country #2. It was unusually warm and rainy for a new year in New York and Canada. Sort of dreary weather to match my mood. But a rainbow came out and I felt like that was a sign that this year would be blessed. And my aunt called me en route to wish me well and pray with me. It was so encouraging to know so many people were thinking of me as I began this adventure!

After lots of tears and hugs with my family, I made myself walk through security toward my gate and to country #3: London, England. Long, overnight flights are never fun for me but at least on British Airways the food is good and there are lots of movies to watch. Plus, they give you socks, an eye mask, blanket and toothbrush. Yes, I used them all. :) There was also an adorable girl in the seat in front of my who started shouting “We’re flying, we’re flying” as we taxied away from the gate.

I arrived in London super early and tried to figure out what to do with myself while I waited the four hours for my next flight. Thankfully, I managed to find the other person traveling to Uganda for Africa Inland Mission. At orientation I found out he would be my travel buddy and I didn’t even know I wanted a buddy until they told me I would have someone to travel with. It was great to have someone to talk with while we waited for our flight to country #4: Uganda!

The flight to Uganda was also long but I was able to sleep and that helped a lot. And when we arrived my friend, Fred (from graduate school) and his wife met me at the airport. It was so nice to see a familiar face right away!

After a two days at a guest house in Uganda I headed to country #5: Rwanda. Twenty of us with AIM headed to Kigali on an overnight bus for a conference where we met with about 100 of the people working with AIM in Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, CAR, and Congo. It was great, albeit a bit overwhelming, to meet so many people right after arriving in Africa. And I LOVED Rwanda. The country was so beautiful!

And, after a few days of a great conference, some of us took another overnight bus back to Kampala, Uganda. And I was so thankful to just be settled for a while. To unpack my suitcases a bit and feel like I could get myself organized. There is, of course, so much more to share. Things about my first few days at work. Things about my awesome roommate. Things about how much I love Africa and how much enjoy taking motorcycle taxis (yes, I love them! :)). But for now, I will leave with you for a few pictures. I promise to update again soon!

Me with all my belongings for the year: two suitcases, one backpack, one purse

Airplane that brought me to Africa!

At the Guest House...my hair is messy because I just got off a motorcycle taxi!

At the conference, on Lake Kivu in Rwanda

Beautiful scenery in Rwanda


  1. Rachel--beautiful pics! Glad you are safe and sound. Only 2 suitcases?? HOW did you do that! One of my favorite books ever is set in and is about Rwanda: "Land of a Thousand Hills", by Rosamond Carr, I think.

    Praying for you,

  2. Rachel, so glad you made it there safely. The scenery looks amazing! Can't wait to hear more about your work at the library and the adventures you take.