Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Stolen Children of Guinea Bissau - The Journey home 2012 - Day 2

This is the story of 3 DNA traced descendants of Guinea Bissau who meet as strangers in America for a 10-day journey to Africa to visit their ancestral homeland. Our return marks an historic event for the country of Guinea Bissau. We also wanted to do something for the people as Guinea Bissau is the 4th poorest country in the world. So we put together a project called "It Takes A Village". We could not have imagined the joy that we would bring to the remote little village of Djati, Guinea Bissau.
 Flight to Africa Day

Friday 2 /17/12
Day Two

Today was a relatively relaxing day.  I was able to sleep in till about 8:30am (although that is 5:30am PST).  I really needed this extra time because frankly, I'm a little freaked out about the trip. I'm not sure what to expect and I've been reading all the warnings about the food, the water, the mosquitoes and add to that the nearly daily reports from the US Embassy in Dakar apprising us of the unrest in Senegal due to the upcoming elections. I've packed mosquito net, water purification pills, malaria medicine (which I need to start taking today), Pepto, Cipro, deet, hand sanitizer, Fresh Bath Cleansing body wipes, smelling salts (don't laugh, it's a possibly I could faint in the heat) Neosporin, hydrocortisone, band aids, insect repellent scarves and a host of other preventative aids. And...well you get the point!

Anyway I got a chance to take a relaxing bath before Randii phoned me about 9am and we decided to meet in the hotel lobby for a little breakfast. We decided to have the breakfast buffet which was about $19. I took my first malaria pill and hoped I would not have any adverse side effects (like seizures or neuropsychiatric effects). I have 19 of these pills to take over the coming days.

After breakfast we went back to our rooms.  I repacked my bags yet again and we met in the lobby about 1pm.  One of the bellman was from Dakar so we took a few pics with him. 

We enjoyed ourselves relaxing in the sunlight.  We were so relaxed that we even managed to miss our scheduled ride to the airport at 1:45.  The Hyatt runs a free shuttle every 30 mins so we caught the next one and off we went for the beginning of our adventure to West Africa.  Also note** the Hyatt allowed us a late check out till 2pm with no additional charge.  Later than that they charge $59.  The staff was courteous and friendly.  Rooms were nice, so no complaints.  I would definitely recommend staying there.

Once at the airport I found a free cart for our luggage, and up the escalator we went to board the train to the B terminal. Then up the escalator again to the South African Airline ticket counter.  We were wondering about how to check in as we had received no online confirm but the agent merely asked us for our passports and quickly located our reservations.

The luggage weight was fine for my 2 checked bags (thanks to the handy luggage scale I purchased) so no fees were assessed but the agent asked me if I had carry on  - which he weighed and promptly told me that I was over the weight at 11.4 (the allowance is 8).  I kneeled down and took a few things out.  I then put my camera on the floor put my Guinea Bissau file folder in my purse and he re weighed it.  This time it came in at 9.  He smiled, tagged my bag and told me to go on.  Once out of his sight I put all the stuff right back in the same luggage (I mean come on, where else was I going to put it?).

We proceeded to the security checkpoint.  Very crowded but I once again escaped the random check, however Randii was not so fortunate.  She was wearing traditional African clothing, so for once, I guess I didn't appear so foreign.

We met up with Willie at gate B39. We all recognized each other immediately. Randii and I decided to go down to Starbucks where I bought 2 bottles of Fiji water (this is water I can use in Africa so I won't have to drink their water) a bag of chips and a coke (which will give me something to munch on as my plan is to not eat the food). However before take off we decide to have some dinner (my version of the last supper). We ate at Harry's.  I had the popcorn shrimp, Randii had salad and Willie had the buffalo wings.  With our bellies full it was now 4:40pm and time to board. Take off is 5:40pm.

The non stop flight is 7 hrs.  At the time of this writing we have 4 hrs to go.
Will write again from Dakar.

Our scheduled arrival time is Saturday morning at 6:10am. See you then!


Anonymous said...

I'm ready for the book and film!!! Rashida

devon said...

Me too!

Willie said...

I'd like to go back.