After the events of When Punctuality Becomes Punishment, we were finally taken in a shuttle bus to the aircraft. I eventually sat down, and it was such a great relief. Within a few minutes, we were taxiing on the runway to take off.
For some days, my sinuses were filled, and my head was heavy; I could hear my voice in my head when speaking. My fear was that I would need to blow my nose often during the flight.
After a while, the cabin crew started serving meals and drinks. The food was hot, and it was good for me. I gurgled some wine that was served, and there was a tremendous relief within a few minutes; I felt much better afterwards. The flight was smooth, but I was delighted to know that we would stop over at Libreville in Gabon. With the relief from my sore throat, the excitement of travelling returned.
After about an hour, we landed in Libreville, and many of the passengers disembarked. We took in some passengers, who were going to Douala, Cameroon, like me. We were served snacks again with drinks. I ate chicken sandwich, and I was feeling strong by now, and getting excited about seeing my hosts, getting to the hotel, changing my clothes, and at least, having a great rest.
The Beautiful Lady By My Side
When we took off from Libreville, I was left with a beautiful lady by my side, also going to Douala, but resident in Yaounde. I started chatting with her; she speaks very little English but she told me she comes to Nigeria to buy hair attachments that she sells in Yaounde, and she also buys textiles, shoes, and other things from Cotonou. However, with the border closure, she has not been to Nigeria. You can, therefore, imagine the consequences of the border closure on businesses beyond Nigeria. We chatted on several issues and we eventually got to Douala.
I DID NOT PREACH TO HER. I MUST CONFESS, I’M NOT VERY GOOD AT PREACHING TO PEOPLE I MEET ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTS. I HAVE NEVER PREACHED IN A BUS BEFORE. I HAVE MY OWN STRENGTHS AND LEADING IN WINNING SOULS.
Where Is My Host?
Going through immigration, health control officials, and customs, I was finally out. I had expected to see my host with a sign bearing my name because I can’t remember meeting him before. I could not see my host and it was already dark. A young man had taken over my trolley from me. I gave him my host’s number and he dialed it; thank God they were at the airport but downstairs. People are no longer allowed to come close to the departure hall because of Boko Haram.
There are these great helpers you meet in your journey through life, you might not meet them again, but they render these small very essential services.
There is a special joy when your host is waiting for you at the arrival gate. There is a sense of vulnerability you feel when your host is not there in a foreign nation where they don’t speak English.
In 2012, when I went to Romania for my son’s graduation from medical school, my luggage did not arrive with me from Istanbul, Turkey. I came out of the airport and my son was not there. I got worried, but it was a security officer that directed me on what to do. She used her phone to call my son; you won’t understand how I felt when I heard “Daddy” at the other end of the telephone.
My host and another pastor from the church took my luggage, and off we headed to the hotel. The ride to the hotel was smooth. We passed through a tunnel, which was well-lit and clean. The area we passed was like the administrative area and the city centre.
I’m always very concerned about the hotels I stay when I travel. I was more apprehensive in this case because I needed a very comfortable place; I really needed a good night sleep. My nose was still congested; but even though I had this feeling of sickness, I did not have a fever.
I had a terrible experience in Madagascar as mentioned in my previous post. If I did not go with Rev. Samson Bodjor, it would have been very terrible. I did not know how to operate the complex shower system in this confined space. I had forgotten which knob I pressed the previous year I stayed there. The hotel staff spoke only French and Malagasy, so I had to try my luck. I pressed one knob and extremely cold water hit my chest; after that, I had a fever and cough.
We drove for some time, then we turned off the tarred road into an earthen road, and then into another earthen road; I was really getting worried by this time. We got to the entrance of the hotel and I reluctantly came out of the car.
To Be Continued . . .