P.3 anyone

So it worked out, that night I walked up to the agent at the desk and she stamped my itenerary. The woman at the help desk from the night before was glad too, she stopped what she was doing…helping some customers to ask if I had everything squared away. Walking through the hallway to the plane was a victory! This time when the plane took off I knew my body was simply acting from a remembered stress response to anxiety. just breathe and let it go. Ten hours to Ghana.

The flight attendants made it known that windows were to be closed due to the Intensity of the light from the West African sun.

Kind of private how I felt about seeing the land of Africa and the clouds over. I just felt like I was bringing my ancestors home. No one walks alone. 🙂 when the plane finally landed the drama started.again. It went like this…

I grabbed my passport pouch and must have dropped it. So while standing waiting to be ushered to the main airport I realized it was gone! The airport attendants ushered me back and forth from my bag in the building to the seat I sat in on the plane. About three times. By the third time the seats had fresh little pillows, red blankets in bags, and the magazines put back in their cubby. Check your bag again they said, so I did. Check everyting’ tak’ your time. So I did. Adrenaline. Burkina faso requires a visa upon entry from America, America requires a passport upon entry from another country. A man sat next to me, an officer at the airport, he was calm in approach and questions. He said come with me. They had me check my checked luggage. Trying my best not to sound like a smart alec I said, ” there was no way I could board a flight from america without my passport in my hand, it was on the plane.” Its not there anymore.  They looked at me, some agreed I was sure. Hmmm. I must have dropped it. I thought of the blankets I covered myself with. Nothing. Then a man and woman entered the luggage area she with my passport pouch in her hand. She was holding it out looking at me. I ran up to a stranger and gave her a big excited hug. Don’t think she’d ever recieved one of those before. Lol, she got out of it and said give me 100 dollars. I looked at her like oh shit woman. Come on! She said and give him to $20 dollars, referring to the airport attendant. I grabbed my wallet gave her twenty bucks…my debit card was in there I was Uuuberly grateful. The pouch had a protecting layer in it so that none of my documents could be illegally scanned.I said I would pray for her every night. The man who was helpful to me said in a quite voice, come on lets go. He signed me into thier guest book and had me sit in a seat for the next three hours. I was so bored I didn’t know what to do. Music, no. But by then I started to notice that my body was feeling funny. Nausea, restlessness, and birping. Oooh shit.

I had to stand then sit then stand. Oh no! Then I thought maybe it was because on the flight I hadn’t had much to eat and I drank a bunch of orange juice. I didn’t know what to do. So I made a request to please let me get up and go to the main airport I needed to eat something. It had probably been a day and I hadn’t noticed because of the traveling. It still took them half an hour to let me into the main airport. But with a perk, a card which permitted me to miss most of security because I was with them the whole time. It was to verify I did only come there to go somewhere else. It’s just that my flight was later.

I found something to eat. Fried rice, i think it was. But it only intensified the feeling I had. I had to gather my strength then. I had to look well enough to get on the plane. The plane to Burkina was small and someone had dosed themselves with soo much Cologne it was nauseating. I started breathing in through the nose out through the mouth as slow as I could. Then we took off.

The Gold Mine Boys

On the plane was a man who previously in the airport I noticed wss staring at me. I sat down and looked to my right and I mean staring. He was a white man maybe in his fifties, french is what I thought. I said are you staring at me. he said he didn’t know. I got my things and went to another seat. Well well well boarded the plane and guess who had the seat next to me. It was stated on his ticket. Ahhh shit. Lol. He said he was a geologist. I thought okay geologist. He said he worked for the gold mines industry and made more money in Africa than in Canada where he was from. At the same time a conversation between two white men behind me started to really take off and what do you know they delt in the mining business as well. It was the most uncomfortable, stirring, annoying twitch moment. Men who wore thier suits and spoke of how much money they made in the business while the people whose country had the gold rightfully under the ground under their feet had a life expectancy 56 due to malnutrition and polluted water.

Calm.

The man next to me was a strange fellow indeed. I looked out the window and just as I’d turned around, you guessed it he had been staring at me and mouthing something. Oh dear.

Turns out it was an hour and some flight and when we were descending to land he was nervous on the airplane and said he didn’t like that part. He was gripping the seat and covered his eyes. I thought okay, scene. I fanned him with an immigration card. No fainting allowed.

So we finally got off the snug little plane and got to the airport building. Saw my first african mozzy! In the building I had to pull it together. Look okay? I did and walked away. Then the test stand in line. I was shifting from foot to foot. Breathing slow. Got in! went to the luggage grabbed my bag…”you American!” I wish I could go back with you was the end of that statement.

I was looking for a friend of a friend. He appeared at the door. He said, “you hungry?” At that time I thought don’t mention it. I didn’t eat anything till late the next night.

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Next up… A guide for the week P.4

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No sleep

It’s the second night before the day. Well before four am, I can’t sleep. So I will continue the story.

Decision made, I am going to Africa, I worked three jobs this summer for one special round trip ticket with my name on it. Then came the visa, check. Yellow fever vaccination, you can’t enter the country with out it, check. When you walk into the airport your vaccination is the first thing checked not your visa.

Malaria pills, check.

The evening before my flight, I was pushing my bike up a hill when I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. The airline texted me informing my flight from France to Ouagadougou had been cancelled due to Air France’s pilot strike. So began the fight to get to Bukina!

First, I wasn’t sure what to do. I had two layovers for my trip to Africa. SFO to ATL, ATL to Paris. Paris to Africa. I could make it to France but there wouldn’t be a flight to OUA, Ouagadougou. After sitting on the couch stunned for a moment I decided to call the airline. Eventually the agent let me know she could get me to two places close to the country, I would have to choose one and find my way from there. The airline would pay for my ticket to the place I chose but it stopped there. Nigeria or Ghana? I chose Ghana.

The ticket was changed, instead of leaving the next day in the afternoon I would be leaving early the next morning. I packed one bag! ( an accomplishment from days of carrying too much with me). One simple backpack, and my small tent..hey keep your options open.

When I reached JFK, part of my new flight, JFK straight to Ghana, no need to go to France fly direct from NY. When I reached JFK I was relieved and excited. For one when the plane took off from SFO my body had a sensation of a large weight flying off of me. I was so intense I jumped, I though it was anxiety. The woman next to me assisted me by telling to breath through my nose and out my mouth. She gave me water to drink. At JFK I had two hours two hours to board a flight to Ghana.

Ten minutes before boarding or so a man on the intercom mentioned, for the flight to Ghana if a passenger did not have blue visa stamped in the passport, that passenger would not be allowed on the plane. I went up to the desk of the agent, they asked…What’s your final destination? I said Burkina Faso. They asked…how do you plan to get there? I said, bus. Sorry ma’am, you are not allowed to enter the country of Ghana with out a visa as an American. You could be fined $5000 usd. And so could the airline.

I went quickly to the help desk. Explained what they knew, Air France pilots were on strike, the agent on the phone changed my ticket literally only the past evening. How could it be that this is okay. I had no idea it would be such a hassle. The woman said, ma’am it’s the passengers job to make sure they have the required visa for the country not the agent. She put me on the phone. The woman on the phone said, ma’am i don’t know what the woman at the desk is talking about it clearly states on the computer that you do not need a visa to enter Ghana. The woman at the desk and the woman at the phone debated back and forth…turned out the woman at the desk was right and the woman on the phone hadn’t read everything. It clearly states you must have a visa as an American citizen. The woman on the phone apologized and hung up the woman at the desk started listing options:

A. Delay the trip, go back to SFO

B. Stay in NYC till Friday (it was Monday)

C. Go to the address on the page she gave me to hope to get a rushed visa and she could change my ticket for the next night

Decisions. I chose option C. She said go back to the agent at the gate she has more info. Okay so by then because of all of the confusion. Plus! The disappointment. My teary face was wet and I walked away with a voucher with the words sorry for the inconvenience printed. The voucher was for transport to the hotel the airline was offering complimentary. The agent looked at me and said…you don’t need a rushed Visa what you need is a ticket. Show me a ticket tomorrow that clearly states you are not staying in Ghana and I will let you on the plane tomorrow… So budgeting for this trip became a little interesting…She said by the way you can keep your luggage here. See you tomorrow. I Ieft the airport in a nice car to a nice hotel and a nice room in Jamaica, NY. I immediately began looking for tickets. I went to bed probably around 2 am. Woke up around 6 am. Dressed and caught the 6:30 shuttle to the airport. Walked in and began looking for that ticket. I needed it by the time the planes began to load and my main concern was how much time was needed for a small airline in west africa to issue a ticket for next day travel. Would’nt you know! I found one! Received confirmation email in my inbox.

It was Early in the morning considering if 7 to 8 am is early. Rainy New York? No thank you! I spent the whole day in the airport. Walking and sitting, walking and sitting. When the afternoon came a woman stood before me, it was the agent from the night before. I could see she’d recently arrived. She said, you got that ticket? I smiled, Yes! She said, alright see you tonight. We both walked away. This was during my walk abouts, exercising, finding something to do. I only packed a small bag. No card games, rubicks cube, sodoku puzzles, nor art supplies this time. And I wasn’t that impressed with the book I’d brought along which was the only book I’d brought with me, Doorways in the Sand.

By the way. I realized something. That day I ate one thing. A veggie pizza which I couldn’t finish because my stomach was like, have you lost your mind. So I closed the box and remembered going to the hotel with it. I remember grabbing everything I’d brought with me. At the airport was when I realized that somewhere between admiring a tree across the street from the hotel while waiting for the shuttle and going to the airport I missplaced my pizza.

Alright ahhh!

Wow let me begin with…this year I felt yes I must go to Africa. I have been to South East Asia and all of these beautiful places with its residual African resemblances and yet my feet hadn’t touch the soils of Africa. I remember in Oakland there was an African centered woman who made clothes in the Lower Bottoms, I used to phone her and ride my bike to her home with lentils I intended to cook for her. She had a special place in the hearts of young black women who would visit her.  She reminded me of my aunts, you went over to her house, she had a rule everybody cleans up. I found myself doing the dishes, sweeping, and helping sort out fabric. My favorite part was if we all spent the night like a mother hen she read us stories. Can you imagine us early twenty something year olds lying everywhere heads resting on their palms looking up to a woman reading passages from books she wouldn’t let you borrow nor bend.

She used to say you want to go to Africa, all you got to do is confirm it and you will go. She was right, this year I decided two things were for certain I was going to see Hornby again and I was going to go to Africa.

Went to Hornby, thats another story. Now, I’m in Africa.

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Whats happening

I love to blog. I just haven’t come to it for a while. I am on this Island where there is so much beauty. so many stories. people say this Island is very powerful with its petroglyphs and at times fast moving tides. I have been engulfed in art and dedicated to it. devoted to it. loving it. cooking, cleaning, creating, crafting. coloring, painting, cutting, gluing. I awake every morning at 5:20 am. my dear friend sometimes stirs by the sound of the alarm. so long as I am not doing too much she is fine. my tent is decorated with shawls I have collected. my altar is set up in a perfect place. I have been dreaming by a grandmother tree.

It begins like this, I wake up and lay there for ten minutes just to orient myself. then I grab either my dream journal if I remember or my journal in which I write three pages. doesnt matter what but I am writing. then I sit up and close my eyes while staying awake for an hour. I think of nothing or I do mental exercises. meditation.

then I might grab my computer and for one hour with out stopping, no bathroom break to call my own. I write for an hour. and let it just come. some of it is personal. sometimes its a story. if its a story I pray it be medicine. Then I leave where I dream after prayer and shower. then I walk to this place called the boat house where I have been working diligently on what some may call an elaborate doll house looking structure. it is indeed a large house. it has two roofs. trim. a small door. windows that you can’t see through. I finished the inside a few days ago. now its all about the outside of it. No matter what this is what I have been working on. then I might travel to clean for extra cash. look at the sea and thank her. look at the trees and thank them. I can breathe here the air is clean I feel. not too many cars. the people are kind, funny, nice, sharing their tales and art. people love to stick art where it can go. there might be a show here or there. I eat simple food for the sake of my health. peanut butter is a treat. I think if not for eggs I have returned to being a vegan but there are sweet crepes that i can only have with a bit of honey on it. but it is sooo good. there is new music I have been collecting from a guy named Jeff who is hilarious.

So that is where I have been. I think I have been touched by art. It has shown up to help me through the days and I have decided to dedicate myself to it in gratitude and also because I am interested in it. I have been in pursuing the muse. and getting over and loving my ego. I have learned that to get over it is a great thing. and also that it comes to the rescue to make sure you know when somethings not right. so what if its just an unfairity but it is better to flush it out than to ignore it. Oh dear. I thank you Hornby. A song recently written speaks about parables and proverbs.

let go, relax, and love love love
and go live on an island

It won’t be Hornby but it will be Hawaii. I have decided that I who love the Earth, Water, Air, and Fire would appreciate sea, trees, and volcano near by. The natives of Hornby speak that Hornby is a powerful land. The people would leave during the winter and the shamans would stay. for vision.That is that for now.