Saturday, June 30, 2012

This is our first posting from Nigeria - and by "our" I mean I, Tyson, am here in Nigeria while my family summers on the beach in California.  Actually, as much as I miss them and wish they were here, it's for the best that they get to enjoy the summer with their grandparents and cousins while I get things ready here.  So, whoever actually reads this will have to suffer through my writing until Diana arrives and takes this over.

So some of you may have heard that it took me a little longer than expected to get here.  Here's a bit of what happened: I flew out of Dulles to NYC JFK on Delta at 4pm on Wednesday 13 June.  I was to have a short layover before boarding a direct flight to Abuja, Nigeria, through Accra, Ghana.  After boarding the plane, we were told we would be delayed while waiting for the special meal of a passenger.  About one and a half hours later (by which time it was blatantly obvious that we were delayed for something more than just a special meal), we were told there was an indicator light that was giving them pause for concern and the mechanics were looking it over.  After the second hour had passed, passengers began to become more vocal about their concerns.  About two weeks ago, a Nigerian airline going from Abuja to Lagos crashed, killing all 150+ onboard.  The Nigerian passengers on my flight began voicing their concerns, crying out that they did not want to remain on the plane, as they did not want to crash!  Many were praying out loud that it should be left in God’s hands, others were demanding to be let off.  One of the pilots actually had to come to the rear of the plane in order to speak to a couple of the groups that had formed and calm their fears.  It worked for a bit.

After a little over three hours, we began to taxi to the runway.  While most passengers were excited to be on our way, many were still concerned about crashing and began almost praying outloud that it be left in God’s hands.  As you can imagine, I thought it was pretty funny and had to keep from laughing.  As our plane turned to head down the runway, instead of picking up speed as we expected, our plane proceeded at a constant low speed down the runway.  We returned to the terminal, at which time the pilot announced we would be deboarding the plane and that another plane and crew would be found within a couple of hours.  The majority of the passengers erupted in applause.  Some, however, were extremely upset.

Well, I'm going to post this before the internet goes out, so I will write more tomorrow!