The return journey from Kigali, Rwanda, to Durban went really smoothly. The plane left Kigali bang on time and arrived in Johannesburg early; the transfer happened easily. This was in stark contrast to our journey to Rwanda last Thursday. That had begun smoothly enough, arriving in Jo’burg on time. However we then discovered that the flight our ticket told us we were on had in fact been changed 3 months ago, but our travel agents hadn’t been informed. Patiently through long phone calls and negotiations the RwandaAir lady re-arranged our schedule. So instead of flying direct from Jo’burg at 7pm, arriving 4 hours later, we left Jo’burg at 00.40 the next day, flew to Nairobi, then transferred onto RwandaAir for Kigali at 7.15am Kenya time. Now all seemed well, we’d even got seats by the Wing Exit so had lots of leg room and managed some sleep between Jo’burg and Nairobi. However when we attempted to land at Kigali fog prevented us! The pilot informed us we would be circling above Kigali for up to 1 hour to allow the clouds to clear, but if not then we would re-route to Bujumbura or Entebbe. How many African airports could we make in this 1 trip we began to wonder? However we made it down and were met by Onesphore Rwaje and his wife Josephine, and taken for breakfast. Then it was straight onto the Genocide Memorial in Kigali.
Air travel is always open to some unexpected delays. There is also a great deal of just hanging around; waiting to check in, get through security, being called for boarding etc. Rosemary has been keeping a tally of just how many hours have been taken up with travelling on this whole trip – it’s a lot! I’m still learning how to travel well; how to handle the unexpected events that occur; how to handle waiting, and boredom. Creative use of time is needed. But then that’s also true of simply travelling through life. Learning to handle the unexpected; living with the sheer reality of waiting, of nothing much happening. Life isn’t exciting all the time; it does have the ordinary and the mundane. Learning about God being present in this is a vital lesson – one I’m still learning. Tomorrow evening we start the long journey home – more waiting. But we travel as a group of 10 so also scope for conversation on all that we have each experienced in Natal (& Rwanda for Rosemary and myself). We will all travel back different people; shaped by the people we have meet, the places we have been and the experiences we have had. We return as people enriched and ready to serve differently.