Thursday, February 19, 2009

Volunteer Missions Require Stamina--Project HOPE team visits 4 continents in 24 hours to get to Ghana

Hurry up and wait, that’s all I can say about Ruth’s, Project HOPE’s resident expert on maternal and child health, and my journey across the Atlantic Ocean to Ghana. I was super excited to be heading out on Tuesday for a three week health education and humanitarian assistance mission with Project HOPE volunteers. I had been packing for days as had Ruth. I should have known there were going to be bumps along the trip after I ran from my gate to meet up with Ruth at hers because the folks at my boarding gate forgot to mention that our flight would be taking off from the another terminal. I ran as a fast as I could because we were soon going to be boarding. When I reached Ruth the boarding area was full of people just waiting. The flight was late due to a malfunction. Usually this is not a big deal but when you are catching a connection across the pond this could be a little tricky. And it was because our two hour delay at Dulles International Airport cost us our connecting flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Accra, Ghana.

We arrived in Frankfurt just as our plane was leaving. We thought we could probably catch a later flight never thinking that another connection would send us to yet another time zone. It turns out the flights to Ghana only happen once a day every two days. What this meant for us is that after 7 hours on a plane from the US to Germany we had to wait 3 hours to catch a connection to Dubai. Yes, Dubai. Dubai added another 5 hours to our trip. Then once we get to Dubai we had to wait another 7 hours overnight to catch a 7 hour flight to Ghana. We were so beat we booked the hotel in the airport, or should I say giant duty free shopping mall, for a couple of hours. That’s 29 hours of travel time, and 4 continents visited in a little over a day.

I am really glad Ruth is here and that she was able to be my partner in crime as we hopped from continent to continent. She made things less stressful. I hope our volunteers have better luck with their flights in tomorrow.

While I am exhausted from the trip I am pumped about meeting the volunteers tomorrow when all 11 arrive and we head to the USS Nashville to join the rest of Africa Partnership Station. The USS Nashville sounds like a huge ship from all the information I have received. It has workout rooms, mess halls, decks. It even has a store on board. I hope to have lots of interesting stories to share with you all. Thanks for reading!



  1. Despite your travel rearrangements, it sounds like you're seeing a lot and having a good time. Pictures in the next post?

  2. Hi John, Just to let you know,I am formatting photos as I write this comment...there should be some up later today.