All my bags are packed, and gone!

So the journey begins, 24 hours from now, I’ll be in Kigali, Rwanda.    In an act of great faith that I will ever see them again, I entrust what are now almost all my worldly possessions for over a year over to a total stranger, who puts strips of paper with BRUS-KIG on them, and sends them off on a moving belt through a door in the wall.   Checking baggage through to Africa used to be a touch-and-go proposition 40 years ago, especially if the bags had to go through Lagos.  I remember passing through the airport there once and seeing a glass-walled room at the airport, at least 2 stories high, that was packed to the top with “lost luggage”!  At that moment, I understood why so many people traveling to that continent never saw their bags once they turned them over to the airlines.  Luckily for me, I was never one of them but I did wonder this morning whether I would ever see my carefully-selected-for-this-trip personal items again.

Today I fly to Chicago, from there to Brussels, and tomorrow from Brussels to Kigali. By 8:30 p.m., I’ll be in Kigali.   That will be 2:30 p.m. EST, making it a 22 hour trip.  I am already tired just thinking about it.  I used to love settling into a plane for 8-9 hours, now I’m not so sure it will be as easy as it was when I was 20.  But I do remember that it was a time for me to reflect on my life, and ready myself for the next adventure.    Today, I will have a lot more years upon which to reflect  so perhaps the time will pass quickly.   It’s hard to believe that it has been 45 years since I first arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, as an undergraduate student from UC Santa Barbara to study at the University of Nairobi for a year.   The day I fell in love with Africa…


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