Our last day, so Thomas takes us on a round of farewells, but also slides in a couple of new visits as well! First off we went to communion at the College at 8.00. It was in Swahili but I sat next to Fareth who translated very clearly. Absalom preached very well, but for 30 minutes – numb bum again. I might hate pews but they are better than benches any day! Back for breakfast and then off to say farewell to Bishop Aaron. Darlington and Vithalis were also there. Then a trip out to Murgwanza Secondary School, perched on the lip of the ridge with the most spectacular views. We met the Head and Christine floated the idea of a link with an English school. He summoned his Academic Head and after a bit of misunderstanding seemed very keen on the idea. I noticed that Theatre Studies were on their curriculum, so naturally asked for more details. When we were introduced to the staff the Drama teacher was particularly introduced to me. It turns out that this is one of only two schools in Tanzania who do Theatre Studies and they have had some impressive results. He was keen to keep in touch and wondered if I could send him any English plays.
From there we went to the Tumaini Fund headquarters which supports orphans in Tanzania. An orphan is any child who has lost a parent. It does some amazing work, including providing technical training and support with schooling.
Back to the house where we finished packing, although various people turned up to give us things to take back to the U.K., as a result two of our cases are slightly overweight, so I hope they will let us through!
We had lunch and Thomas and Imani arrived about 2.30. Absalom and Fareth arrived to see us off with of course June and Dorothee. We had all got on well and had a lot of laughs so it was sad to leave.
The border post on the Rwandan side was as baffling as the border post on the Tanzanian side. Emigration from Tanzania at one window, immigration to Rwanda at another then on to Customs (I don’t know why!) then to the bank to pay our visa fees, then back to immigration to collect the visas. It only took about an hour and everyone was very pleasant. Some lorry drivers looked as though they had settled in for the rest of the afternoon and possibly the night.
Once we had our visas we then had to go to the border post, where they insisted that we took all our luggage out of the land cruiser and into the post. Then they asked what was in it. I replied “mostly dirty washing” and then we were told to put it all back in the land cruiser again – I suspect it wasn’t cause and effect! Then one more barrier and we hit the open road. Imani drives very well, but of course is now driving on the right in a left handed vehicle, so I had to tell him when it was safe to overtake. The trouble was I kept nodding off, so I wasn’t much help!
On the approach to Kigali airport we were stopped again, this time by police, and told to get all our luggage out. We had to place it on a platform while some very large Alsatians sniffed it (dogs, not German citizens, although the latter would have been funnier). Christine is petrified of German shepherds, having had an unfortunate experience in the Alps as a child. The policeman was very reassuring and showed her where she could stand safely. The dogs did not seem very interested in our belongings and we soon packed them back in the car.
At the airport we said farewell to Thomas and Imani and headed for ‘Departures’. This is where the fun began. We pushed our loaded trollies up to the entrance where a young man tried to tell us that we were flying tomorrow. I assured him we were indeed but that didn’t seem to help. A farcical confusion followed, the upshot of which was that we were too early. We had to come back at 9.40. We headed to a very nice café between the departure area and the arrivals area and ordered wraps, muffins and coffee. The coffee was very good so we had second cup, before pushing our trollies back to departures. This was not a simple operation, because while there is a level way from the café to the departure entrance, it is taped off, so we had to push the trollies down a steep slope, along a bumpy path and up another steep slope to the entrance. A new official was on the entrance who told us we were still an hour early. Our fault, we were still on Tanzanian time; Rwanda is an hour behind. So back down the slope, along the bumpy path and up the other slope to the coffee. A very delightful waitress signed me in to the Internet,so I caught up on Emails and this blog. Then an hour later we repeated the operation to storm the departure area. A new official told us we were still a n hour early and we had to go back to the café as the flight gate would not be open until 10.40 (Rwandan time of course). We tried arguing, crying, falling to the floor and waving our legs in the air, but to no avail. Back down the slope, along the bumpy path, back up the slope we went to resume our seats in the café. We are due for a rematch in about 5 minutes, but have agreed a cunning strategy. One of us will go trolley-less to assess the opposition. If all is well they will return and collect the other plus trollies and we will proceed at last to the check-in. I will let you know if we are successful, but I am quietly resigned to spending the night here. Wasn’t there a film with Tom Hanks…………?
We’ve made it! Straight in….well almost. We had to convince the gatekeeper that we were both on the Eticket, then we showed our passports to get a yellow boarding pass, which we then ta be to the man who was standing next to the man who gave it to us and he also checked our passports, even though hie had seen his colleague check our passports a minute before. Then through baggage security and to the check in desk to deliver our bags. Finally passport control and we are now in the departure lounge. You have to admire the Rwandan security. It is practically watertight. We are now sitting in a fairly empty lounge where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are competing with a football match of uncertain provenance. Thankfully they are competing sotto voce! Only two more hours to kill and then we board! Entebbe, Nairobi, London, here we come!