West Africa Wins Again
I recently had a vague memory of my first trip from South Africa to West Africa after Tom was hired to be the administrator for the Sub-Saharan churches of the ICOC. My memories were a bit patchy. I could remember sitting for a long time in the airport in Lagos, Nigeria. It was hot. I pictured Anne-Brigitte working on a needlework project. I knew I was with Tom and Mike and Anne-Brigitte. I remember feeling bored. And that was the end of it. It nagged me, this feeling that I should remember more, that this had been a monumental trip and I should have recorded it so that I could tell you all about it years later.
I saw Anne-Brigitte recently and asked her if she remembered that trip. I knew everyone else had been to West Africa other times and that I was the only novice on this trip. She reminded me that it wasn't just the airport in Lagos that we spent a lot of time at. Our flight from the Ivory Coast was delayed for so long that we had gone back to our hotel to spend another night! Of all the other details she filled in, the one thing she said that stood out to me was this..."We got WAWAed."
I had so forgotten that phrase! West Africa Wins Again! Back then travel in and out of West Africa was fraught with delays and attempts at getting bribes. One time Tom and another colleague traveled to Lagos and were promptly told to get back on the plane and go home because their visa had not originated from the country where they were living. It didn't matter to the officials that this part of their trip was unexpected and so they had gone to get a visa at the Nigerian embassy in the other country where they were doing business. Really?! Yep! Their choice was to get back on the plane or slip a few notes to the official. Since that is not the way we do business, they got back on the plane. I am sure to remember other interesting memories now that this one has come back. I promise to keep sharing them as they return...