Thursday 11th July
It is 22 hrs Zambian time (which is an hour ahead of the UK). I am back in my favourite flat in Monze drinking a cup of tea after my meal of sausage and chips from Tooters, the Southern Cross is shining brightly above me and all is well!
We left Heathrow a little behind schedule because the luggage was late. I was above the loading bay and I realised just what a physically demanding job it is loading the bags and other cargo. A couple of guys were working flat out throwing (reasonably carefully) one bag after another.
I continued to be fascinated by the plane activity. Thee was a recent short series of programmes live from Heathrow and they explained that the traffic controllers had to mix the planes by size to get the optimum throughput. Apparently the turbulence caused by the plane in front is the main factor which determines when the next can take off. As we taxied to the runway 8 planes took off and we waited stationery while a similar number took off – probably less than 15 minutes in total.
We took off in bright sunshine and were just past Paris when the sun set. At about 10pm BST they started serving meals. I probably finished at about 11.30 being served one of the last. At 2.30am BST the cabin lights were put back on to wake us for breakfast!! I tried to continue dozing and settled for a cup of tea!
I arrived at Lusaka airport at 10 local time, just 15 mins behind schedule.I equipped myself with a new SIM card, settled down in the cocktail lounge and contacted Moses, who was apparently downstairs in the terminal. We caught up a little over a cuppa and I gave him a box of bee-keeping manuals I had brought with me, lightening my load considerably.
On the way to the Inter City bus station we diverted to a CHAZ (Churches Health Association of Zambia) building were I met Sandy, who has become involved particularly in providing transport for HATW volunteers. We had a cup of coffee and a quick tour of the medical equipment workshops before heading once more for the Inter City bus station. I had never been by this route before and after half an hour or so Moses admitted that he was trying to find the Zambian Bee Council offices! I was eager to get to Monze to meet Jennipher, since her Embassy appointment tomorrow morning relied on me passing on documents I had with me.
We arrived at the bus station at about 13.30 – in time for the 14 hr Livingstone bus. I bought my ticket and boarded the bus. I thought that I should tell Jennipher that I had been delayed. She said that would be OK, then admitted that she was on another bus heading for Lusaka – just passing Kafue ( about 30- 40 minutes away!). I quickly dismounted changed my ticket to 16.30 and retrieved my bags which by this time were buried in the bowels of the bus. The guys didn't seem at all put out! So while I waited I rang Justina who was going to accommodate Jennipher (though Jennipher hadn't yet asked her!)
At about 15 hrs Jennipher arrived and we sorted out the documents – I hope they are accepted, another error on my account will not help! Jennipher decided that Justina wasn't going to meet us at the bus station and set off as I boarded the 16.30. I decided to get a drink and bumped into Justina! We managed to retrieve Jennipher so all was sorted!
The bus set off on time but the other side of Lusaka there are major roadworks. A mile or two of single file traffic controlled by a stop go system added about 1 ½ hours to the journey. I realised that Jennipher's solution was in fact the only practical one. If she waited for me she might not have got to Lusaka tonight and I wouldn't want to trust on getting there by 10 am for her appointment with the road as it is. She must have left at about 11 am. If I hadn't been delayed with Moses I might not have rung before setting off and we would have missed each other. It seems despite all my frustrations and concerns the Lord is looking after us. It would seem that despite the huge- and mounting – odds against it a miracle might happen!
Its time to sort my bed and catch up on my sleep.
With love and prayers,