Bleary eyed and bleak faced the Botswana crew disembarked from their 15-hour flight. Arriving in Johannesburg, South Africa was a long and enduring flight. Along the flight our group met local nationals and interacted with some peace corps individuals and shared our story of the journey we were just beginning. We are ready for the next chapter of this journey.
For many this has already been a series of first experiences. One of our numbers has completed her first and second commercial flights. For most of us this is our first trip to the southern hemisphere. The Johannesburg Airport, or J-burg as the locals call it, has already had some unexpected welcomes and challenges. South African flight regulations are stricter than the US when it comes to flying with tools in carry-on luggage. Two of us had to separate from the group for 4 hours to check in the luggage with the tools requiring us to clear customs, check the bag and go back through security. Truly, we are already being taught that we can expect the unexpected.
Ultimately, there is a buzz and undercurrent of excitement amongst the obvious fatigue and curiousness of the unknown that awaits us. We are excited and ready to share anything we possibly can with the people of Botswana. We know we will learn and grow from this educational experience. We know we can share information and teach the people of Botswana. What we don’t think the people of Botswana realize is how much they will teach us by being who they are and allowing us to practice our skills and help them rehabilitate.