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God's Hand Seen in my Trip Back to Niger

I am safely back in Niger. As I started the trip there were some concerns I had. The main one was concerning my connection in Boston. I flew from Dayton to Boston and from Boston to New York. I only had a 40-minute layover and I knew if the flight from Dayton was late, I could be in trouble for connecting to New York. Well, we had a beautiful flight to Boston and arrived 30 minutes EARLY! I was able to departure gate was the same as the arrival gate, a Wendy's was right next to the gate so I could grab a sandwich...and then the flight to New York was LATE. So, as it turned out there was nothing to worry about.

When we boarded the plane from Boston to New York, we rolled out to the runway and then were told that New York was on "ground alert" and we couldn't take off until New York gave us clearance. So, all in all, we were almost 2 hours late leaving New York ....any longer and I would have begun worrying about my connection to Morocco!

But, God had it perfectly planned! Our colleagues here in Niger, Gary and Joy Freeman, had told me to be watching out for their son, daughter-in-law, and little grandbaby as we would be on the same flight. It's been years and years since I've seen Joe so I wasn't sure I'd recognize him even though his mom sent me a picture.

In New York I had to collect my luggage. I rented a $3.00 cart, heaved my 68-pound suitcase onto it, piled on my carry-ons and headed to the AirTrain. I thought I'd have to get my suitcase off the cart, on the train, then back off the train, pay for another cart, and get it to the check-in desk. But, you can take your carts right onto the train which goes from terminal to terminal, so I only had to struggle with the suitcase twice...putting it on the cart and getting it off the cart. So, I took the train, got off, got on the elevator that took me to the floor where the Royal Air Maroc desk is. Another man got on before me and just before the doors closed a young couple with a baby rushed in and said, "Do you think the elevator can handle another cart?" I said, "Are you Joe Freeman?" (only I think I called him by one of his brother's names). Just think of that....if I had been on time to New York, I would not have met up with them until after they checked in.

Then on the flight from New York to Morocco God gave me an extra blessing....a row of three seats all to myself! I got to stretch out and get some sleep. It wasn't entirely comfortable, but hey, it's better than sitting up all the way!

In Morocco the Freemans and I got to go to the same hotel where we were given day rooms and vouchers for two meals. Here is a picture of my hotel room. It was a very nice hotel! I slept for two hours, went to eat lunch,
slept another three hours, ate supper, and then back to the airport. Our flight to Niger was delayed almost 2 hours so we sat in the airport for four hours. Joe and I both got on line in the airport (free wireless connection) and Joe Skyped his mom in Niger and told her we'd be late and she called John and told him he could sleep for another 2 hours. Our plane arrived around 5:15 a.m.

It was so wonderful to see John and Suzanne again. Suzanne got up early
and came to the airport, too. We all talked a mile a minute catching up on each others
news. John and I had some breakfast, I went to bed and slept for awhile, got up and ate
lunch, slept some more, and went to visit Suzanne at school and to eat supper with her. I
managed to stay up until 10 and slept until 7:30 this morning. Usually the first night is
like that, then the 2nd and 3rd nights can be miserable with jet lag. I'd like to think I'm over
it, but I'm sure I'm not!

I forgot to mention that in both Dayton and New York they were not happy
with the size of Ziploc bag I had my toiletries in (seen here). They seemed more bothered by the
Ziploc bag than by the size of the toiletries themselves. The man took away my toothpaste in Dayton because it was too large so I had to buy a $3.00 miniature tube in JFK. The guy in Dayton was really unkind
about it all, but the guy in New York was nice. Unfortunately when the guy in New York took the stuff out of my carry-on, he spread it all over and I forgot to pick up my case of CDs.

Well, that's about it from this side of the world. I'm off to Tera tomorrow so will be unheard from until October!

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