Yesterday as I was packing, planning and organizing for my trip, I started thinking about a friend of mine, Katy, who I knew had been living in Africa for the past 6 months. Katy was my co-counselor at Frontier Camp several years back and still to this day I associate her with airhead extremes, Carla Jo cabin (and our campers who are know old enough to WORK at camp), and many fond (and ridiculous) camp memories. I had last heard from Katy in a newsletter she had written in December. To be honest, I couldn’t remember exactly where she and her husband Kahler were living. Wanting to investigate her experience in Africa a little further, I found myself looking at her Facebook page and then at her blog. I read through her blog entries to learn more about how she had adjusted to life in Africa. Pretty soon I had spent nearly an hour reading her stories and it was time to head out for a final Target run and my official last supper in the States—of course I chose to indulge in Chick-fil-a, making sure to get a cup of sweet tea and lemonade! By this point in time, my suitcase was nearly full to the brim, but I knew I couldn’t force it shut until I had finished getting the things on my list. Bless my mom’s heart. She had already spent hours upon hours helping me prepare for Kenya and I was bringing her on one last endeavor to find the last few things I needed. When we got back home, I noticed that Katy had posted a new photo album and I immediately began to look through it. I hadn’t told Katy I would be living in Kitale for the next four and a half months, so I decided I probably should invite her to visit! I know she dreamed of living in Africa, and if I remember correctly it was even on her bucket list—guess you can mark that one off, Katy! At this point in time, I had no idea that when I arrived at the airport the following day I would be faced with a rather LARGE problem.
(… the next day …)
The woman at the check-in counter was adamant that I would not be allowed to travel to Kenya. Without a visa that preapproved my four month stay I was only allowed to remain in the country for 90 days and my ticket out of Kenya wasn’t until mid June—a good 40 days after my visa would expire. I had talked with people about this in advance and they had assured me that once in Kenya I would simply renew my visa after I had reached the 90-day mark. This didn’t seem to matter to her, which is fine because she was only doing her job. After several phone calls, she was sure I would not be allowed into Kenya without a ticket out of the country sometime towards the end of my 90 days. For this reason, I would not be allowed to board my flight to London. The only solution was to purchase a ticket out of Kenya around the time my visa would expire and obtain a new visa once I returned. Now the question was, “where in the world (literally) was I going to go???” All the way back to London? That doesn’t sound too appealing, especially since a one-way ticket was going to cost $1500. I’m not sure who brought it up, but suddenly going to see Katy in Zambia was being considered as an option and a rather good option at that! (On the way to the airport, I had mentioned to my parents that Katy was currently living Zambia and that I wanted her to come to Kitale.) Before I could even finish a Facebook message to Katy, a roundtrip ticket to Lusaka, Zambia for the first week of May had been purchased for me! Praise the Lord that Katy quickly returned my message to tell me that she would be thrilled to have me come visit! God knew I was going to have a seriously problem this morning and he certainly took matters into his own hands. He really is such a better planner than I ever will be. (Someone please help me remind myself of this anytime I start tryin to make a plan for my life!) I mean seriously—compelling me to spend some of my last minutes in America stalking my friend in Africa—that’s only something he can come up with. I even knew what town in Zambia I needed to fly to thanks to Facebook’s current city feature. God even works through Facebook. Amazing!