We had an 11 hour flight from Singapore to Istanbul, and then a 10 hour layover before our flight to Benin. Busy airport, but we found a quiet spot to sleep for some of those 10 hours. Nick is way better at sleeping in airports than I am. He has the gift of being able to sleep just about anywhere. :)
Half way through our last flight I opened my window and was completely mesmerized by what I saw below- an ocean of red sand. I know I've flown over the Sahara before, but I don't remember being able to see the shapes in the sand so clearly. So amazing!
It was after sunset when we landed in Cotonou. As we arrived there were lights twinkling below, white electric light mixed with the softer orange glow of cooking fires.
At passport control we presented our documents and visa waivers. All Mercy Ships crew get a letter explaining that our agreement with the government allows us to enter the country during the outreach. The officer looked over the letters, handed them to his supervisor, and then in a business-like tone instructed us to wait aside because he had a few more questions to ask us. After the other passengers had passed through he called us back and said "My son has problems with his vision, can Mercy Ships help him?" We spoke briefly about how there are patient selection dates soon, but that Mercy Ships only can help with certain health conditions so we can't give a guarantee.
From the airport we hired a taxi to the port and found our way to the ship, and finally to our own cabin. It feels really good to be back here, this place feels like home.
Nick is hitting the ground running and heading over to Lomé, Togo to present in an orthopedic and rehab conference there. He leaves tomorrow, please pray for safe travels and that he has the opportunity to make good connections with other professionals while he's there.
Home sweet cabin: