March 3, 2014

Greetings from Ndola! The team has arrived!

The flight to Johannesburg left on time, but was delayed landing by 40 minutes or so, which meant we had about 20 minutes to make our connecting flight to Ndola. This was the last flight of the day, and we were determined not to miss it. After a quick trip through customs (and a huge thank you to the staff there that allowed us to jump in front), we made a mad-dash sprint to the gate.

When we arrived, the gate had closed, though it was still 15 minutes before take- off. However, there were other passengers who were in the same predicament. Proving that there is power in numbers, we persuaded the staff to allow us to board, which is no simple task. “Board” consists of riding a bus for several minutes out to the tarmac. The gate agent flagged down a mini-van charged with carrying crew to come ferry us out. Grateful does not come close to the feeling as we sat catching our breath in that van. After the 14-hour flight from New York to Johannesburg, the 2- hour flight to Ndola went by like a breeze.

Exiting the plane in Ndola and heading towards the bus that will take us to the airport office.

The South African Airways Airlink plane that waited for us (Thank You!), and brought us safely to Ndola.

As we exited the plane, we saw Theresa and Memory waving to us in the distance. We were very excited to greet them, but a LONG line at customs stood between us.

After making it through the Passport Office, we walked out into Ndola where Theresa and Memory welcomed us. Since our luggage didn’t make it (and really how could it have?!), we stopped in to see our pals at South African Air to track our bags. As we were waiting, the beautiful warm sun and clear, blue skies exited quickly as a thunderstorm hit, and within a second it was pouring rain. We had our second sprint of the day getting to the car!

A beautiful Welcome sign to Ndola.

Theresa greeting Jen warmly as we exit the Passport Control Office, before the storm.

And then the storm…Luckily for us, it lasted just a short time.

First stop was the grocery store, Pick N’ Pay, for some groceries. We also picked up some essentials as our luggage was still a day away.

After that, we headed off in search of an iSpot seller to purchase some internet time, but no luck. However, Jen was able to speak with Gertrude at Castle Lodge, who said that we could purchase it there. So, at long last, home to Castle Lodge. Once settled into our rooms, all that was left to do was survive till dinner when we could get some sustenance into the body and collapse into bed.

Memory, who lives with Theresa, sharing a big smile as we run errands.

Gertrude, the manager at Castle Lodge.

Our rooms for the upcoming weeks, with the mosquito nets that were added during our last visit.