We awoke this morning to a difficult day. We were upset that our incredible stay in this beautiful country was over. Packing was done in a rush, some laundry was hastily shoved in our bags and we headed out to breakfast with tio Herby, his lovely family and the elusive Duncan. We ate pancakes, succulent fruit and american cereal whilst enjoying our last day with Waltercito, Herbert and Duncan. We discussed our favourite experiences, our hardest moments and our happiest times. I had the best time doing the evening clubs on the bus de Sarah. Ben enjoyed meeting the Guatemalan people and experiencing their food. We both we humbled by the mi arca street team. Frank, Juanita, Walter, Dina, Herby, Maria are so committed, super kind and talented street workers! Without them StreetKidsDirect would just be dunc living in an empty building trying to save the world by himself. Instead he is blessed with an amazing group who can support him, share the work on the street and build meaningful relationships with the kids.
We accompanied Duncan to church where we had an emotional reflection on our previous week. He then drove us to the airport and tearfully waved us goodbye.
This is where the hilarity started. Never have I enjoyed a plane journey as much as this. We rolled up in the airport and checked in. As we got to the gate we couldn't believe the plane we were flying in! A twin propellered commercial airplane. We loved how small it looked and how old school it was. It got better! Whilst in the gate we realised there were only about 5 other people in our gate. I don't know how this flight could be economically viable at all. We walked onto the tarmac where we had to climb up the steps into the plane. Oh boy. We sat right at the front of the plane and with the pilot, co pilot and air steward, making ten of us altogether! As we were sitting in an emergency exit aisle we were asked to read the emergency instructions. The pictures were all pixalated as if someone had copied and pasted them and enlarged them beyond recognition. Ben and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. Ben resolved the situation by exclaiming that in an emergency 'We'll just give it a yank' . The woman behind us looked worried and asked us to read it again but properly! The pilots had the door wide open leading to an awesome view of the cockpit whilst taxiing out to the runway. When the door finally closed and locked it was with a lock often seen in primary school toilet cubicle doors.
The take off over Guate was flawless but hilarity ensured. Ben went to the toilet at the end of the plane just as we hit a patch of turbulence. In such a small plane we were flung all over the place. I could only imagine Ben holding on with horror in his eyes!
The snack cart came next. The air steward opened the overhead locker where he was storing the cans of soft drink in a hopeless attempt to keep them cool. These tiny cans were flat and lukewarm! The steward then sat down whilst the snack cart was flung out of the cupboard during turbulence and spewed its contents all over the floor. The air steward then pulled an old style telephone off the wall and continued to deliver safety announcements before tidying up and preparing for landing.
Landing over Tegucigalpa was exhilarating, especially as it's voted one of the world's most dangerous airports. The landing over kids playing football and rooftops was hairy but we touched down safely. The short walk from the tiny plane to the terminal was relatively simple. Therefore the inexplicable hour long wait for the luggage to be transported 15 metres to the baggage conveyor was frustrating.
We loved Guate, we loved the flight over to Honduras and we will let you all know how much we love our time here at AFE !
Safe travels to all! Alex D