Smiling Saah

Our flight from Brussels to Monrovia typically goes through Freetown, Sierra Leone. However, today they swapped order and went to Monrovia first then Sierra Leone. This trimmed about 2 hours from our scheduled arrival time. We found this out just before boarding in Chicago so I was able to call Mark to have him inform Saah of the time change.

Uneventful flights from Boston to Chicago, Chicago to Brussels, Brussels to Monrovia…then came baggage claim. A chaotic event which I believe I’ve written about in the past. This time it had the added complexity of getting Leon through in a wheelchair and searching piles of bags that are haphazardly pulled off the conveyor. I found one bag to the left; another scrolled by on the belt; then nothing. Turns out Leon had already acquired his bag and was rolled into the “customs zone” (a close cousin of the “Twilight Zone”). Meanwhile nothing new is appearing on the conveyor and I see a subtle hand signal from one baggage handler to another indicating the end to unloading. I started to worry since I had two Rubbermaid bins and my precious portable refrigerator intended for keeping our poultry vaccines properly chilled. I eventually found them in the far opposite corner, aided by my brightly colored duct tape peering from between nondescript black suitcases. They look in good shape – just hope the contents are all in one piece.

With assistance from the overly eager baggage helpers, we entered the customs zone. I was forced to have the bins and refrigerator crate scanned, followed by a bit of interrogation and salesmanship regarding the benign and humanitarian nature of their contents, offering as little information about the value to avoid needing to pay real – or fabricated – customs fees. The security manager eventually acquiesced with a slight flick of his fingers signaling I was free to go.

With a silent sigh of relief, we exited the terminal and were greeted by Saah with his big smile and friendly hug. We loaded up the Land Cruiser and headed to LCL. Leon, Donna, and I tucked into our guest rooms and readied for a night of air conditioned luxury.

Saah will meet me at 8:30am for new truck shopping. Now the adventure really begins.

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