Team Rwanda descended into Heathrow Terminal 2 readily anticipating our extended journey to Kigali, all 18 hours of it! Planning was meticulous and we embarked on the bag drop, first test of the evening! Mysteriously 14 planned bags became 15 and we hastily stuffed excess equipment into our bags. Security negotiated, now to find a pub to celebrate my Birthday!
Alex snapped up a table for 7 in an already packed restaurant. I was given some lovely cards, birthday banner to wear and an inflatable cake. My first legal drink purchased and the first with the amazing group of volunteers embarking on a trip of a lifetime. Project manager John ordered us to drink up so we would be at the gate with plenty of time!
Gate 44. What could prove so difficult? Upon hearing ‘Addis Ababa gate closing’ we put a step on it with full stomachs and cheery minds. Thinking we had arrived at the gate, John announced it was in fact at the other end of the terminal. ‘Final call for passengers’
Enter panic mode! A sense of ‘the blind leading the blind’ came to mind and we made the gate with 5 minutes to spare…embarrassing walk of shame completed. The phrase ‘Its Ella’s 18th Birthday and we’re a charity’ is going to become a favourite on this trip I imagine, alongside the important ABCT messages in schools!
Successfully recharged at Addis airport after our 7 hour layover, we met Joseph and Eric at the airport and embarked on the transit to the hotel. It was my first experience of the beautiful Rwandan countryside and all the team took in the sights. Accompanied by intermittent beeping of the minibus and a few very near misses; Team Rwanda arrived at Fatima Hotel at 7pm, 24 whole hours after we began our journey!
For now – we are about to have our first experience of African dining and are all looking forward to our first day as CWB Volunteers tomorrow. We will be running coach education for school teachers all day! Stay tuned!