Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Settling In

After our first trip through the park we went to the Chalet, unpacked and settled in a bit.  Phil and Denise made a wonderful lunch of ribs, beans and salad.  It was so good!!!africa game reserve 1702012-01-18_08-52-59_377denise camera 196

The Chalet’s were nice.  The kids went swimming and we prepared for an evening Safari in an open safari vehicle with a tour guide from the resort.  That meant we got to stay out late which was fun!


 denise camera 327africa game reserve 177

africa trip 133 africa trip 146 africa trip 187 3 lions

We tried very hard and thought maybe we would see a leopard this night, but it was not to be.  We did get to see some lions

Let the vacation begin...

After a good night sleep (and praise the Lord it was a good night) we headed out first thing to the game reserve.  They rented a microbus and trailor and we piled in!  We took a drive through the park before checking into our chalet. We were met by beautiful wild life. 

On our way...

Early in the morning we headed out the door (like 5:30 I think).  It was not a smooth exit, the one laptop bag was not a laptop bag and I had to repack some of that stuff and I lost my cool and my pb sandwich.  Ugh off to KCI with no breakfast!   We got to Shawnee, picked up Paul and headed to the airport.  We got through the check in and security, laughing at the dumbfounded look on people's faces when we said our destination was Johannesburg.  "South Africa?",  they'd say.  Long day!  Unfortunately, there was no food on the other side of security so we went back out of security so we could go to Quiznos.  The flight to Washington DC was uneventful except everyone's electronic devices were losing charge so fast all we wanted to do was plug in.  We found some real food at Fuddruckers, a restaraunt I remember from my friend RuthAnne's Maryland days, not sure why!  BUT when Alan and I returned "early" to the gate to plug our computers and ipods in I heard a staff person calling out our seat numbers in an irritated tone.  Sure enough, we were supposed to be checked in and we weren't.  It was an hour ahead of time, but they were boarding our flight already.  We got everything unplugged, the ones still eating back to the gate and we were on the plane!
South African Airlines gave the boys coloring bags to which they did not know what to say and the stewardess said, "A thank you would be nice."  Oops.  Then she came by asking for our drink order and when Erin looked at her with uncertainty she said, "Do I have to list all the drinks for you?" and then asked if she spoke when spoken too because Erin was looking at her dumbfoundedly.  Sigh, all we needed, a cheeky stewardess on our first international flight.  That was only for the first 8 hours because we stopped in Dakar, the wait staff deplaned and a new crew took over (halleluiah!).  They also sprayed the cabin with very strong disinfectant.  I had mistakenly given the 2 older kids (and myself) a sleeping pill (just unisom) 
Sadly, in Dakar it was in full force, but no one would let me sleep.  Not good.  Somehow we made it through the "night". Praise the Lord we had pancakes for breakfast and landed without incident.  We were greeted by family and aside from a seemingly endless, bumpy, nauseating drive through downtown Johannesburg...we were there safe and sound!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

South Africa in the planning phases

The hope and dream of this trip started at least 2 years prior to our going.  When Phil and Denise started ministry in the Dominican Republic, we desired to go and spend time with them.  Their time there did not work out and they accepted the call to South Africa.  We still had a desire to go see them, especially when the photos of zebra, giraffes, lions and cheetahs started pouring in. 

We were to go December 2010, but that summer of 2010 was rough.  It was a cold wet spring and a wet summer.  Normally this would be wonderful, but too much or too little moisture just is not helpful in farming.  We were short on  funds and time. The summer was hard as was the fall with  both Collin and Erin in Junior High.  When we priced the tickets for going during Christmas break, it seemed way out of our reach, to fly over holiday season was $2000 a person.  So we decided to back up and pray about it.

2011 was not farmer friendly at all, however fall 2010 was and Chris tucked some money away when the grain prices rallied the end of 2010.  We were plagued with drought and heat this summer.  Yet the desire to go see Phil and Denise for a work and witness trip was still present.   But the details were downright scary!  It was homecoming weekend when we finally had a Saturday morning available to get into the post office for passports.  To get the kid's passports both Chris and I had to be present.  It was crazy.  We thought we had veverything together but when we got there Collin's birth certificate was not with everyone elses.  Ugh.  Chris found it and we were able to get it done, but it was stressful! As we were finishing up we took some seriously funny monkey shots!

Christmas 2011 we sent out support letters to inform our friends of our trip