Around the World in 21 Days…
My vacation ended when my Lufthansa flight landed in Abuja. It was a bitter sweet moment. While I was sad to leave the confines of the United States, I was looking forward to getting back to my normal routine. Although quick and very busy, my time in the US was very enjoyable. I was able to celebrate the marriage of great friends – Shami and Emily and Ian and Emily – spend time with my family and enjoy the company of friends. I ate a ton of vegetables (including salads from Chop’t), brushed my teeth in the shower, and watched as much of Netflix and Hulu as possible (if anyone has a digital copy of Parks and Recreation episodes, I would welcome a donation to my entertainment account).
Friends celebrating the marriage of Ian Tuck and Emily Poland.
I am also thankful that I was able to meet up with Travis and Lauren in Asheville. I met Travis and Lauren during my time in South Sudan. They had traveled throughout the continent, building relationships and sharing the Gospel. It was great to catch up with them and talk about our time in South Sudan. I was also delighted that they could share in my experiences in Nigeria having lived in the country for a few months.
I calculated that I traveled in 16 different airplanes – the smallest, a Canadian Regional Jet (CRJ) to the largest, an Airbus 380 – for 66 total flying hours – the longest flight being the 13 hours from Sydney to Los Angeles and the shortest, Mobile to Atlanta – and I actually circumnavigated the globe – Abuja to Dubai to Bangkok to Sydney to Los Angeles to Houston to Mobile to Atlanta to Frankfurt to Abuja. I am sure many of you are exhaust just reading the details of my trip. I can tell you that it was extremely exhausting and I do not think I have fully recovered. It was an interesting trip visiting various aspects of the world.
In the Royal Botanical Gardens with Sydney Harbor in the background.
Catching up with friends – L to R (Top) – with former colleague Bryan Blom, friends that I met in South Sudan, Lauren and Travis Jones, Laura Jackman and Jenny Martin and Kury Cobham who kept me laughing while I was in South Sudan.
Scenes from the wedding of my friends Emily and Ian (on the right).
Scenes from my world travels. L to R – Top: Hobbiton in New Zealand; Sydney Opera House, Australia; Sunset in Los Angeles, California; Downtown Mobile, Alabama; An Auburn Fan in Daphne, Alabama; and Autumn in Asheville, North Carolina.
The topic of discussion during my trip home was Ebola. It came up when I was clearing customs and immigration at airports, chatting with my seat neighbor on airplanes and among friends and family when I arrived in the United States. The conversation was elevated when the Ebola victim arrived in Dallas from Liberia. I was constantly asked if I had washed my hands and even received a message from a friend inquiring if I was patient with Ebola like symptoms treated at Howard University! 🙂 Since arriving in Nigeria in May, Ebola has been a topic of concern. My office has had to develop an evacuation plan that includes Ebola and the U.S. Government (USG) has announced how an evacuation will be conducted if Nigeria is paralyzed by the disease. Thankfully, Nigeria has successfully dealt with the disease unlike other Western African Nations. However, Nigeria is not out of the dark.
I think it’s premature for Americans to be up in arms about the disease in Texas. While healthcare officials made a few missteps in the beginning, I think the U.S. has the resources to fight the disease. In Liberia, a lack of medical facilities, the ability to track people and funding to adequately target the disease is making the situation worst. The same can be said of Guinea and Sierra Leone. However, the entire world should be concerned with how rapidly the disease is spreading in Western Africa. Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have been paralyzed by the disease. The death rate has topped 4,500 and some organizations are saying that we could get to 10,000 cases a week if something is not done about the disease. I am concerned that if we cannot contain the disease and decrease the impact, it’s only a matter of time before we are ALL talking new cases in other countries.
I do not want to end my blog on a depressing note (actually maybe this is a depressing note)…The day before I left for my vacation I had to give a goodwill message before a crowd of Nigerian women leaders (Sept. 23, 2014) – I know, they look so interested in what I was saying…
The day after my return, I had to speak to a crowd of Nigerian women political party members (October 15, 2014)…it’s as if I never left!
The End of an Enjoyable Vacation!!!!