Sunday, October 11, 2015

Returning to Africa - 2015 - Saturday and Sunday, 10 & 11 November 2015 – Travel day

It has been 5 years since we have been in Africa – Sept to Nov 2010. That trip included a month in Zambia where we built a mud hut with the Homes for Aids Orphans ministry, before we were joined by a group of Iowa Rotarians in S. Africa on a 3 week Rotary Friendship Exchange.  When the other Iowans returned home we continued on to Grahamstown, S Africa, to see a gal from Mt Pleasant, former student of Cal’s, who was studying on a Rotary scholarship at Rhodes University.  The three of us traveled with South African Rotarians to the country of Lesotho.  It was a wonderful 2 months.

This newest excursion is returning us to southern Africa, first to the country of Malawai where we will be seeing a project our Rotary Club of Mt Pleasant sponsored as the international partner. Solar panels were installed at 30 school in total but we will only see a few of the schools during the 5 days we are there.   We will be hosted by Justin who we have worked with on this project.  We are taking two large suitcases that are completely full of supplies for Justin.  There are three used Laptop computers, 20 water purifiers that we received from friends in Des Moines, over 50 simple solar calculators and 30 kits from “Days for Girls” we received from the ladies in Iowa City.  These two large suitcases weight the limit of 50 pounds each, and our personal luggage weighs 33 pounds each, which is the limit for several of our flights within Africa. We are anxious to see what Justin has planned for us while we are in Malawi.

After we leave Justin, we will be flying to Zambia where we will be going to a National Park for 4 days.  We will be in a Game Park Lodge/camp during this time.  We plan on going on two game drives each day we will be there.  When we were in Zambia in 2010 there were a couple ladies who upon finishing a mud hut went to this national park and had a great time seeing numerous animal of many types, so we are hoping for the best. As you soon learn, each game drive is different and you have no idea what you will see/experience.

Our next destination is Livingston, Zambia, from where we will drive to the village of Mwandi, Zambia to check on the mud hut we built from start to finish in 2010.  This time we will be helping to build another hut in the 5 days we are there.  We are a bit disappointed because our friend in Mwandi, had to return to CA to be with a sick daughter, so we will not be reconnecting with her.  During our time in Livingston we plan to see Victoria Falls, thus making it possible for us to have seen the “Big Three” water falls in the world within a six-month time period.  Iguazu Falls in Argentina/Brazil, South America; Niagara Falls, seen from the Canadian side, North America; and now Victoria Falls, from both Zambia and Zimbabwe, Africa. Seeing all three of these in such a short time period was not on our “bucket list”!

From Zambia we will be flying to Windhoek, Namibia, which is along the west coast of Africa just north of South Africa.  Namibia was earlier known as German South Africa, because it has a very strong German connection.  We will be renting a 4x4 vehicle while we are there so we can go on the back roads of Namibia.  We will be totally on our own during this time with plans that Rachel has researched and suggestions we received from our friends in South Africa.

Our final destination is South Africa, near J’burg.  Our Rotary friends will be meeting us at the airport and we will be spending time in their home.  These are the same friends who hosted us when we went into Lesotho in 2010, and we have hosted them twice in America.  Our friend is turning 50 years old while we are there and a party is being planned for the last night we are there.  Another Rotary friend is a farmer in South Africa, and we will be spending several days on the farm with them.  Cal is anxious to see/spend time on his South Africa farm.  We also plan to see two or three projects that our Mt Pleasant Rotary club did with clubs in this part of South Africa. In all we will be in South Africa around 5 days.

We plan to return to the US November 16, after being gone nearly 5 weeks.  I am sure we will be exhausted after going for that period of time.

These are the plans. If you follow the blog you will see what surprises arise along the way!!

Our first surprise was Delta Airlines. They changed our itinerary so that instead of flying directly from Atlanta to J’burg (16 hrs 52 min), we flew Atlanta to Amsterdam (8 hours), then Amsterdam to J’burg (11 hrs)!!! Thank goodness we have hotel reservations in J’burg for tonight.  I’m not sure I want to eat tonight, just shower and go to bed!!  The flights have gone the best you can expect! With not much sleep!

We landed at 9:00 pm S African time.  This is a loooong trip!  We are at a hotel near the airport, ready to crash! Thank goodness we do not need to be to the airport until 10:00 am for the flight to Malawi.

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