Packing and unpacking suitcases has been a familiar scenario for us the past two years as we’ve been making a transition to living and working in Africa. Two years ago it was packing up to go to MTI in Colorado, which also including packing for seven months in Malawi. Then returning to the US only to pack again for a three month road trip to raise support, recruit and make connections for teaching at Hope Africa University in Burundi. Next it was packing to move to France for a year to learn French. The last five weeks we’ve packed our small suitcases for airline travel and car travel as we visited family, friends and others in the US. So, at last, we were packing up what we needed to move to Burundi.
With all that packing experience we were pretty confident we could do this well. That was our first surprise as we began our three day move to Burundi. We were not shipping a container, as most families have to do, since it is just two of us we had worked it out to just use suitcases. Unfortunately, seems the scale we had used to weight things on the mark in France, was off from the airport scales, which meant all our bags were 5 lbs. over! Randy’s quick thinking and a new backpack we’d purchased that morning, enabled us to repack all the suitcases at the airport, creating an extra bag. Unexpected but still far cheaper than a crate or container.
There were many other surprises along the journey, seen and unforeseen, which kept us laughing at ourselves and being thankful for the Lord’s presence with us. A planned lay over in London blessed us with the opportunity to see old friends, an amazing view from the plane of Mt. Kilimanjaro as we approached Burundi. The best surprise was getting to the Bujumbura airport to see two familiar faces, Eric and Joel, waiting to greet us and take all our bags to our temporary lodgings.
For the next two months we are renting part of a house while we look for more permanent digs. So we will have to repack to move again but it won’t be over an ocean. Most of what we brought will stay in Burundi. We spent the day unpacking some of the suitcases and settling in, grateful for the warm welcome and all the ways we’d been cared for. This whole moving experience reiterated to us that all our plans need to be loosely held because there are many surprises along the journey.