I have never been this ready to go on a trip so far in advance. One full day to go and my bags are packed, the last laundry is done, the house is clean. I even sat down with my husband this noon and helped him go over meal plans during my absence. My iPhone is loaded with escapist reading for long plane rides. I just checked us in online with Air France.
I’ve been extra vigilant and farsighted because I’m responsible for three other people on this trip. This is not the first time I’ve led a delegation but it’s always challenging, though the rewards of sharing the adventures with other people outweigh the hassle. Plus we are loaded to the gills with extra baggage for friends and projects in Congo. I told you I like solving travel puzzles but I’m about ready to sit back and relax and enjoy this trip. Yet I know that the puzzles and plan-switches will keep happening. Please pray that none of them involve sickness or danger.
Just yesterday the van we planned to borrow to drive to O’Hare became unavailable and I scrambled to find another one. Yay for friends!
One of the literacy teachers whose class we planned to visit on Friday wants us to come to another class she teaches, 80 kilometers outside of Kinshasa. This invitation is not so easily dismissed because that class of 30 is “graduating” and they want a special ceremony, complete with matching outfits. Here’s the cloth they’ve chosen.
But whether we can work this into an already crowded schedule is doubtful, and for others to negotiate at this point.
Anna Ruth, one of my traveling companions, also thinks ahead and comes up with more questions than I could possibly think of, let alone answer. How far will we be walking? If our clothes wrinkle and we’re supposed to look good, how do we do that without an iron? What are the consequences of eating strange food if you are on antibiotics? Bless her heart, she will be very valuable to help us think through the consequences of every still-unforeseen change of plans once we hit the ground. I know I am laid-back to a fault.
Pastor François is also obsessive about planning and sent me, today, a detailed outline of the church service and other events involving his congregation, complete with notations about where I and the others will be expected to deliver “a word.” I will be very surprised if the church service, which is timed to the minute, will actually end at 12 (since when do Congolese services have an ending time?), though he has confidently scheduled us to be down by the Congo River, miles away, for a lunch at 1.
Plan, prepare, plan, and then prepare some more–for plans to change.
Meanwhile, I have cooked up the last of the CSA greens to store in the fridge so Vic gets his veggies in the next few days and I plan–definitely–to take him up on his offer to take me out to eat this evening.