This blog post is live from the Hernden Sheraton in Virginia. That’s right, I’m not 39 000 feet over the Atlantic ocean, as was planned in the Ghana JF travel itinerary. Allow me to explain!
Our flight path was supposed to be Toronto to Newark to Washington to Accra. The flight from Toronto to Newark went down without a hitch, but our connection to Washington was delayed big time. The layover in Washington was supposed to be ~2 hours, so we had a smallish window of time to make. As it got closer and closer to the cutoff and the flight got pushed back again, we decided to take action.
Naturally, the airport agents were essentially useless. After almost two hours of talking to various people, we finally managed to get the Washington to Accra flight delayed for us (since it only flies every other day). Even though we left over an hour late from Newark, it seemed like we’d just make our connection and be on our way to Accra.
Towards the end of the connecting flight, we strategized as a team the best way to get everyone off the plane and to the right terminal in a minimal amount of time. Our plan was fairly complex, but broke down to everyone “de-planing” before the rest of the passengers, followed by a mad dash through the most confusing airport ever constructed.
We pushed. We ran. We perspired. Believe me, running down an escalator with a 25 pound pack on your back is no easy challenge. But before we even managed to get to the right terminal, a friendly airport official confirmed that, in fact, the plane had not been delayed and had left on schedule.
We had missed it.
As you can imagine, the morale dropped immediately throughout the group. There were tears and quick hugs, but we swiftly moved into solving the problem at hand. We spoke to the airline rep, who told us to wait while she investigated “what she could do.”
So here we were: a group of tired, sweaty, disappointed young adults/development workers faced with the prospect of not knowing exactly how we’d all get to Ghana within the week, or seemingly at all. Our response? Probably the most ridiculous group hug any weary traveller has ever seen. Then, we sat down on the floor at the baggage claim. Tanya’s poi set was pulled from her bag, Dena’s hacky sack was kicked around, and Pascal’s guitar made an appearance. We all sang together and immediately, everything was okay.
I was so impressed and inspired by the group’s collective ability to deal with difficulty in such a strategic, positive, and supportive way. I’m proud to be a part of this amazing collective of individuals and tonight has been a reminder of the great things that I expect from them and myself this summer. It was really embodied in the song that we all sang together: Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (an EWB classic, I believe).
Not only was tonight a realization of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of an amazing team, but it was also a realization that these people have become a big part of what home means to me. It wouldn’t have mattered if we were stranded in Washington or Frankfurt (tomorrow’s destination), because we were together and we had each other for support. Listen to the song and you’ll get it immediately.
That’s it for now; my next post will be from the hot land of Ghana.
I realized after reading this to myself that I didn’t explain our new travel itinerary. We’ll be headed to Frankfurt, Germany tomorrow night, then to Accra from there. We’ll be arriving at about 19:00 on Tuesday!