Getting all five of us together started with a graduation gift for Brooke. When the other girls found out that Brooke was going back to Zambia with Joan and I; they asked if they could come if they paid their own way. I said it was OK as long as Brooke said it was OK. She did, and so Laura Michelle and Audra Lea joined us on our journey. Three of us would be leaving from St Louis, one from Rochester and one from Las Vegas. Our travel agent, Bridget, had gotten us missionary tickets that included 3 pieces of luggage each. Pastor Tembo had sent me an email with a Christmas wish of equipment. We were able to fulfill the list with some help from the Prescott and Rochester churches. The Sparta church took on most of the expenses for equipment and the trip itself.
Two day one problems. The routing airline to our British Airline flight in Chicago is not allowing Audra to have her 3rd bag for free. Via cell phone I ask if I can talk to the person at the counter: not allowed, Audra lets us know that the lady had worked the counter for 25 years and had never heard of a missionary fare. Was this what we could all expect? We had no problems and Laura Michelle had no problems: its all about the person serving you, or not, it seems to be their choice. Laura Michelle’s flight got delayed so they had to reroute her to London via NYC. So we would all meet up in London.
We met up in London, with a 9 hour layover. We made our way from the airport to downtown London on the subway. People are friendly and helpful. We make our way to Trafalgar Square where the opening ceremonies for the World Cup are taking place. Africa is in the spotlight (I actually could feel good about the US loss to the last African team in the cup). The square is full of African music and African dancers with wild costumes. Yes, we can celebrate Africa with them.
We move onto a pub for a traditional fish and chips. We passed on the beer and they really didn’t understand our request for waters. The fish was good and the batter was thick and rich. Too much for the weight conscious, but when in Rome…The meal was good, but on second thought I think I should have gotten their sausages. Audra had a combo plate that showed off some of the other dishes. The green pea sauce added a British touch. The table next to us was loaded with some loud Brits and their quieter girls. As we are leaving they ask if we are Yanks. A yes brought a moment of silence followed by a “we are happy to meet you” and “you are going to need all the luck you can get”, this continued into a discussion of our chances against England in our opening match the next day.
We couldn’t resist the Starbucks pull. We had our coffees, they don’t know about Dopios yet, and enjoyed the last of our downtown time before heading back to the airport.