We (the Cropseys) have arrived safe and sound at Tenwek Mission Hospital! Thank you so much for all of your love, prayers, encouragement and support that made it all possible throughout so many parts of the journey of life to get here. We are so excited to be here.
Here's a quick run-down of our travel adventures so far. Our 13 pieces of checked luggage mostly weighed in at 50.5 pounds at the airport. The nice man checking us in said he was fine with anything under 51 pounds. Because our weight was on the money, I could only stuff Candy Land from our box of goodies that we brought just in case we had extra room. Merry Christmas, Elise. Due to their weight, my tools didn't make the cut.
This is where tactical mistake number one occurred. Much to my excitement, Jess read online that "dull" tools under 7 inches could be put in carry-on bags. So I put a pair of pliers and a small crescent wrench in my bag. Well, TSA was unaware of this generous guideline and worked my carry-on over like it had committed a felony. They did allow my tools after my extremely well packed back was spread all over DTW. It took a while to figure out how I had managed to fit it all in there the first time.
Tactical mistake number two was accepting non-traditional baggage stubs in Detroit from the "nice" guy mentioned above. He assured me they would suffice.
Tactical mistake # 3 & 4: Taking two small munchkins across the world into the heart of Africa without chocolate milk on board the plane. Elise slept only two hours overnight to Europe. Micah took occasional cat naps of unimpressive duration. Many "I want mommy" and "I want chocy milk" were exclaimed. Due to your prayers only, no extended screaming spells occurred. We were quite tired upon landing, but we had to rush to our next flight as we had a tight layover.
Tactical mistake number five was thinking a carry-on is to be packed with the density of nuclear grade plutonium. In my experience, if something is really heavy but legal, it should go in the carry-on, thus ensuring a much larger volume of junk can be placed in the checked baggage. Books being a prime example. This is what I learned from my father in the 80's. Well folks, it's no longer the 80's, especially in Europe.
Tactical mistake number six was assuming my carry-on was clear to go once through DTW. Ahhh, the old Dutch trick of putting security at the boarding gate. Upon x-ray number one, they didn't like what they saw. Despite her native strength, Dutch lady #1 liked neither the lead-like weight of my carry-on, nor my tools. Thankfully, Dutch lady #2, who extracts pounds of flesh for such violations, was not at her desk, so they checked my carry-on as my 14th bag, left my pliers and wrench alone, and didn't charge me with a crime or a fee! I'm really thankful they never picked up Jess' carry-on which I had packed because it weighed twice as much sans tools!
The flight to Nairobi was uneventful other than our children did not sleep (nor we), but they were quite well- behaved for having pulled all-nighters with little sleep.
Having two children with car seats meant being the last off the 747. Not good for getting through the visa line, but a random agent spotted us at the back of the line and took us to his booth which he was just opening. He charged only 1/4 of what we thought we would pay for visas.
We arrived at baggage claim with our baggage on the conveyer belt. It made it! Sike. With amazing efficiency, our luggage made it in near perfect halves (2 of 4 action packers, 3 of 6 rubbermaids, 1 of 2 suitcases, oh and my checked carry-on. We waited with two kids in melt-down until it was clear no new luggage would be coming. Upon seeking assistance at the desk, it became quite evident that our "non-traditional" baggage tags were of "no value." After significant discussion, signing of papers etc, more screaming of children, we left the airport.
Our very friendly Samaritan's Purse driver took us to the Mennonite Guest house where we met Ben & Jenny Roberts. We crashed hard, but sadly our kids didn't. There was a downward spiral of meltdowns lasting for what seemed an eternity. Because there was only one real mommy, only one child could be quieted at a time. Sleep. Then off to the races in the AM to procure all of the stuff we needed before leaving Nairobi. We spent a lot of money really fast, but our jet-lagged brains didn't really comprehend the true impact of our Shilling spree. Our luggage showed up at our doorstep, and we left for the 3.5 hour drive across the Rift Valley to Tenwek. All went smooth. (Elise is now so tired that she fell asleep while eating her lollipop.) Our apartment is wonderful. Everyone has been so helpful getting us settled. The kids are adjusting well, and we feel very blessed to be here. Stay tuned for more!