Greetings From Talitha!
Written by: The Bridge on Saturday, April 8th, 2006
Hi everyone! Coming out of the plane was like stepping into the hundreds of photographs my parents brought back. The only difference here is there is way more detail. They have the sweetest looking flowers, mixed into all the greenery. Unlike the photos, the cars actually honk and the big tankers give off the most horrendous stench. The palm trees wave at you gracefully, instead of just standing there. The people don?t say much more than they did on the pictures, they?re just as friendly as they manage to be with the little vocabulary they have. The children not only look at you with big dark eyes, they sidle up for hugs and a shy handshake. Their dark braided heads are hard to the touch. Every time a little group walks by one of them is bound to wave. The people are surprisingly small. Small, and with that sour Nigerian smell that always wafted out of my parent’s suitcases and smelled up the whole house for a day or two. I suppose I should get more specific!
We arrived safe and sound and a little stiff after our six hour plane ride, but the plane ride was only the beginning. We were ushered off the runway into a bus. From the bus, we were moved slowly towards the airport. Once we were close to the door a guard came out, and ushered us “Makaras” ahead into a separate line. I thought, Aha! That should speed things up! But no, we were the last ones to get our passports stamped. In the meantime, we could look left and watch our luggage coming in and being piled off the “track that brings it in”, and our dads got more anxious by the minute. As soon as Paul Vetter possibly could, he rushed off to claim it. He left my dad and the rest of us with the guard, who wanted us to declare how much money we were bringing into the country. That was kind of scary, because we all knew how corrupt everything is over here. We filled out a form and he let us go on. My dad stalled and asked a dozen questions so the guy would definitely not be able to call us back. The men then left us women with the carry-ons, while they went for the rest.
We stood there and watched them open everyone else’s suitcases and dig around in them. Then along came our luggage with our guys in tow. Somehow Paul Vetter and my dad managed to convince them that we were a group, and that we were missionaries, and for some reason or the other they made everyone move over and we just walked on through. What a relief. OH! I forgot to mention that it was stifling hot in there. We were all soaked in about ten minutes.
Then there was the drive home with the Palmgrove guys. The closest thing to it that I have ever experienced was maybe joy-riding with the windows down, with the music going, and the driver trying to be as daring as he possibly could. We whizzed in and out of traffic avoiding all the pot holes we could, all the way to Palmgrove. There was one road where our driver said, after eight (when it gets dark) people start putting up illegal check-stops and robbing the drivers of their vehicle and everything in it. We had Inno’s Government vehicle, so we were let through every check stop without even having to slow down. We made it home just before dark. My mom wanted a pineapple very badly, but they didn’t even dare stop for that. Annefiok, our driver, brought us two the next day instead.
Here in Palmgrove, things kind of slowed down in a way. A lot of people, and at least half of the children came over to say hi. Some came right away, and others have been stopping by as they found time. I think so far I’m managed to put three names and faces together. : ) Glory, of course and Blessed, who?s cooking this week and our driver, who appears to have three names not just one.
By the way, if anyone wants to call us, just dial 011-8816 41455201. We?re six hours ahead of you for now, so I guess you’ll have to learn to count to six before you dial. There is no fax machine so “beziehungsweise” no fax number to give you.