Equatorial Guinea

The following posts tell about my trip to Equatorial Guinea. Through words and photos I hope to succesfully share my experiences. I've decided to do this on a day by day basis. I hope you enjoy. If there's anything I may have missed, or something you'd like to know...please email me at michaelh@uwyo.edu. Thank you all for your unconditional support of me, both financially and spiritually. Without you, this trip wouldn't have happened. More on Africa here: http://53lat158long.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 08, 2006

Return Trip- We left the church at about 9 PM Malabo time, piled into the sweatwagon one last time, and headed to the airport. The entire Gonzalea family, Abram, and Benito joined us. It was hard saying goodbye to everyone.

Benito, Carlos and Abram helped us carry the luggage into the airport. It was a good thing we arrived so early because it took us a while to get through security. They did some sort of passport check on us all and then had to type it all into a computer. Unfortunately, I think the man typing it in was new, and had to chicken-poke everything in. As we walked to our gate, we waved goodbye to everyone one last time.

We met another missionary while waiting for our plane in Malabo. He was fluent in Spanish, and had been all over the place. He was from California, and very outspoken. I ended up sitting next to him on our first flight to Madrid, and he yacked my ear off until he moved to the empty row behind me. His name was Israel, and he was on his way back to LA via New York, so he was on our next flight also.

When we got to Madrid, we decided to go out into the town and get some breakfast. We rode a bus to the downtown area, and went to a little cafe. It was absolutely pouring in Madrid this morning, and I think it was the first time I really used my rain jacket...I never wanted to use it when it rained in Equatorial Guinea because the rain was so refreshing. We had some bacon and eggs at the cafe, and headed back to the airport.

I was carrying a package with our butterfly pictures in it during the whole trip back. Basically it was three of them, glass and all, wrapped up in some duct tape and cardboard. This package caused me to get stopped a few times. I actually got stopped three times in Madrid...twice for the package, which they cut open both times, and once to search my bag. Apparently I just looked guilty or something.

The flight from Madrid to New York went well. It was strange to be back in a place where English was the common language. We didn't have any trouble getting back in the country through customs, and there was even that much traffic in our switch between La Guardia and JFK.

It was here that I started to experience some reverse culture shock, or maybe it was just a sudden realization. I noticed that in general Americans are very arrogant and self-centered. This may have been just the New Yorkers, but we were in an airport with people from all over the country. When our flight to Denver was called to board, everybody immediately jumped up and ran to get on the plane...so they could sit and wait. Our group just patiently waited for the rush to end, and got up when everyone was through the line. We were the last ones on the plane. By the time we got to the plane, all the overhead compartment space had been taken up, and we were forced to check our carry-on bags, which was annoying but alright with us. The guy I sat next to was from Boulder and was using both his light and mine to read. This would have been fine if the Amish-ish couple behind me didn't have kids kicking me in the back all night. Needless to say, I didn't exactly get a whole lot of sleep on that flight. It left me longing to be back in Equatorial Guinea where the people are always courteous and compassionate.

This trip left me feeling torn with what I want to do with my future. I loved traveling and spending time in the completely different culture that Africa provided, but I also love Wyoming with its lack of people and abundance of beautiful terrain. My current dream is to become fluent in both Spanish and French, so that I can get around easily all around the world (with the exception of Asia). I would like to do work overseas once I get my engineering degree, and just help people improve their lives with both engineering and the gospel. I read somewhere that I good engineer can save more lives overseas than a good doctor can, it's just not usually as first-hand. When it comes time to raise a family, I would like to come back to Wyoming and make a living here either with the Forrest Service or a surveying company somewhere. This is my dream, but it may not be what God has planned for my life. Afterall, if you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans.

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