2006-11-12

Goodbye Niamey, Hello Paris, London, Hoskins

Janella, jay, me and Michael being silly

At the end of our time in Niger we had formed some wonderful bonds with our co-workers, especially our friends from Canada and the USA, Janella and Jay. When flying out of Niger the most common route is on an Air France plane via Paris and the four of us managed to get a flight together into Paris. It was so exciting to be on the plane with our great friends and share that experience with them before spending the last few hours in Paris together.

We had been awake for almost 24 hrs I think by the time Jay left

Before we got to the Paris part of our trip though we had to get through the Niamey airport. Now, anyone reading this who's been to Niger (thinking of you Nancy) will smile at the way you exit this airport. We had to check our luggage in during the afternoon, pay for extra weight and then come back for our flight late at night. To get to our plane we went through at least 5 check points that I can remember. At each one they checked our passport and ticket. At the last stop the Air France steward/security person got out a little torch and checked inside our hand luggage as we stood on the tarmac waiting to board our plane.

At the airport (that bag I'm holding weighs 18kg)

Once in Paris, the four of us knew we only had a matter of hours to do anything so we all gathered our luggage (very very very heavy) and found a train. We spent about 40 mins on the train (I think) to the Eiffel Tower, sat there and had lunch and then got back on the train. We had to be back at the airport in time for Janella to catch the first of our flights. It was hard to say goodbye as we knew we probably wouldn't see her again for a long time (still haven't!). This was followed a little while later by us waving off Jay as he caught a bus to the right terminal for his flight (he looked so sad!).

The first junk food we'd seen in a year

Janella and Jay in Paris

Michael eating a baguette at the Eiffel Tower

We are grateful that God allowed us that extra special time with our friends and we can't wait for the day when we can be reunited.

Now, so this post isn't too much longer let me just say that we had a detour through the UK on our way to our next stop - Papua New Guinea. We spent three weeks in Debenham, Suffolk staying with some wonderful supporters (hi Ruth and Myles) and visiting our church in England. They also picked us up from the airport which was very generous of them. I remember being freezing cold after coming from Niger to the UK. I also remember reverse culture shock starting to set in. The cats in the area looked enormous to me (the ones in Niger are scrawny). Those few weeks with our friends in the UK were as precious as those few last moments with our friends in Paris.

Framsden Baptist - our church in the UK

Our time in the UK ended and we said goodbye to our friends. We had come full circle. UK - Paris - Niger - Paris - UK. As a short-termer you will meet people who become friends for life. People who share strange experiences. People who share the same memories as you do but aren't family (and yet become your family). It's been 5 years now since we left Niger and the UK and we can't wait for the day when we can visit these people again.

We got on our Qantas flight and said goodbye to a cold London and headed towards saying hello to yet another cultural experience in Hoskins, Papua New Guinea.

In part 17 of this epic I will tell you all about the next big part of our adventure - our trip to see my parents in Papua New Guinea and our arrival back in Australia.

Part 1 - Position Available
Part 2 - The Year was 1999
Part 3 - Red Dirt or Green Grass
Part 4 - Preparations and Going the UK
Part 5 - But I's Dark and it's only 4.30pm!
Part 6 - Laying Out the Fleece
Part 7 - Oh, That's Why We're Here!
Part 8 - Shakin in my long skirt and sandals
Part 9 - You won't mind teaching history will you?
Part 10 - Gas Canisters on the Roof
Part 11 - The Tree Attack
Part 12 - Galmi and the Toebiters
Part 13 - Say (sigh)
Part 14 - Three Showers a Day and Nems
Part 15 - My Name is One Kilo of Beef

2 Comments:

Blogger Michelle said...

whoa! What a trip! And I laughed so hard at the Mc'Ds in Paris!
Blessings on the change!

11:29 am  
Blogger NIGER1.COM said...

Hello i am from Niger and i am the webmaster of
http://www.niger1.com/english1.html
Were you the one who travelled to Niger or your friends
youi can reach me at
niger1.com@gmail.com

4:18 am  

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