Monday, October 3, 2011

Oaxaca - Day 1, Travel to Mexico

Because lots of folks go on missions trips in October and November, I thought you might enjoy reading about my mission to Oaxaca, Mexico...and maybe learning from some of my mistakes! Here's my diary entry for Day 1:

Friday, November 7 – 6:45 p.m. PST

Our Mexicana flight from Mexico City to Oaxaca City (Oaxaca de Juarez) is just pulling out of the hour to go!

It's been a long day. Harry dropped me off at the Sacramento airport at about 5:30 a.m. and helped the team with the missions supply tubs [These were the large, heavy-duty plastic tubs that folks get for storage containers, and they contained miscellaneous supplies that had been collected to help us with the various ministries we would be performing on the, coloring supplies and clowning supplies and face paints and so forth for the kids' ministries, and so on].
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.

We just took off! Mexico City is a sea of multi-colored lights – gold, silver, green, red, blue – it's like jewels spread out in all directions, as far as the eye can see. Very pretty.

When we got to the immigration area upon arrival in Mexico City, we discovered that there was no way we would make it through the huge crowd (moving very slowly) in time to make our connecting flight to Oaxaca. Ali [ pharmacist] and RJ [contractor] were able to talk one of the officials into letting our group cut the line, which we did, much to the displeasure of those behind us (and in front of us, for that matter). If we don't get to Oaxaca with the tubs, who knows what will happen to them? Still, it doesn't seem like the best way to start a missions trip. Ah, well.

Unfortunately, the official they spoke with neglected to mention what was going on to the immigration official at the desk, with predictably humiliating results! Nothing quite like being yelled at and berated when you don't understand the language – but the message was very clear indeed. Anyway, we were finally allowed through, and here we are on our connecting flight. Yes! [This is the type of incident that confirms my presence on a trip...see the bit about the mysterious incident at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in "Adventures in DC" .]

By the way, the Mexicana flight from Los Angeles to Mexico City included an actual meal, and a good one. And, once in Mexican airspace, all the tequila or whiskey or whatever you could about that? (Naturally, none of us on the team had any. Alcohol strictly forbidden on the trip. Sigh?)

The flight attendants are extra gracious, and we're having lots of opportunities to answer questions about the mission, since the t-shirt we are all wearing [a brown t-shirt with the word “ordinary” in small print on the front and the “Forward Edge International” logo on the back] is a great conversation starter. Everyone we talk to is very encouraging and excited for us. I've shown the family photos I brought to a bunch of people already, so I'm really glad I brought a “brag book.” I have a wonderful family.

Zow! We're landing already (well, starting the descent, anyway) – more later. I understand we will be working with some Compassion International children tomorrow. That'll be awesome!

Next up:  We go to the dumps.

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