Sunday, June 8, 2014

Airport run

Rest day for everyone but me. After breakfast, I went back to the airport to collect another student. Next year, we all take the same flight. These airport pickups are killing me and killing my budget. In fact, I’ll have to completely rethink local transportation for next year. We’re spending money on taxis that could go to any number of other activities. In Liberia, a taxi from Cuttington to Monrovia (4 hour drive) cost about $60 r/t, less if you shared the taxi. Here, going from Kikadini to Stone town (1 hour drive) costs $50 r/t. Prices are set by a central taxi commission, so I can’t really negotiate with drivers.  (Later on, I’ll find out this is wrong and negotiate slightly better prices.)

We arrived in plenty of time and then…nothing. Other people came off my student’s flight, passed through customs, and found their rides. I started getting worried, then saw her pass by the door and sit down with a customs official and a long form. I asked the security guard if I could go and talk with my student. She replied, “Please wait over there.” I tried to give her my card to take to the customs official and she replied “Please sit over there.” After another 20 minutes, the customs official and my student emerged. The form in his hand read OFFICIAL REPORT OF LUGGAGE IRREGULARITY. My heart sank. What did that mean? Contraband? Was something seized? Why? What happens now? As it turns out, nothing. That’s just the form for lost luggage. Air Kenya misplaced her bag. But the student was a trooper and we drove back to Kikadini. I told her to eat, get some rest, and we’d take her shopping if necessary. The other participants pointed out that the house has no wifi. Although the website gives the impression that they have wifi, they don’t. Larger hotels have wifi though. I directed them there.

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