Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Getting to Rwanda

We all met at O’Hare Airport about three hours before the flight. Everyone was excited that we are finally going to set foot in Africa. Everyone had her luggage ready. One of the carry-ons was packed with the WE-ACTx orange t-shirts, snacks, the book, small containers of liquids; one suitcase with clothes, gifts and chocolate and other personal belongings; and another heavy suitcase was full of tile, grout and anything else that would be needed for the mosaic mural.
Some friends and relatives came to say goodbye and wished us all the best. After we finally got our boarding passes we were ready to find our gate for the United Airlines flight that would bring us to London.

At the London Airport we had a few hours layover until our Kenya Airlines flight to Nairobi. During that time we walked through a few duty-free shops, bought some post cards, had a meal at an airport restaurant and we also had a talk about our expectations, what we thought of the book “We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families.” During that time we also worked on creating a skit or performance that would reflect our culture to be demonstrated at the welcome dinners, both in Kigali and Chicago.

We arrived in Nairobi, changed into our WE-ACTx orange t-shirts and could not wait to breathe in the fresh air of Rwanda. After a short delay we landed in Kigali. We got our first stamps in our passports and were ready to collect our luggage and finally meet the Rwandan girls. Well, it did not all happen so smoothly. Four suitcases were lost. So we spent quite a while trying to figure out what to do next. One suitcase full of materials for the mosaic mural and three suitcases full of the wardrobe of three Chicagoans were lost.

After all that got sorted out – we met our pen pals and were greeted by family and friends. Everyone was sweet, welcoming and happy for us to finally arrive.

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