It did not prove a very restful night. I will have to make up for all this poor sleep eventually. The next two movies were Trouble With the Curve and The Avengers. I know I slept some because I missed chunks of both of these. Bruce has trouble sleeping on airplanes as well. I was blessed with a window seat and have been doubly blessed with some beautiful sights. We began in darkness, but sometimes the white clouds were thin and allowed you to perceive the Atlantic Ocean churning below. At what must have been 3 am (Eastern Standard Time), the sun began to rise. We were flying toward the sun. It began as a thin bright line on the horizon, but quickly (aided by restless naps) swallowed the whole sky. I was also fortunate to catch us coming over the edge of the African continent. The distinctions between sea, coast, and mainland were a delight to behold. We have been over the mainland cruising at 37,000 feel for some time now. I have spotted a few bodies of water and one city, but otherwise it looks quite dry down there. Perhaps when we reach Accra I shall have a closer look. I wonder what city that was?
We landed in Accra, the beautiful capital of Ghana, at about 7 am EST, 12 noon local time. For breakfast we had little fruit cups and breakfast burritos that were designed more like an empanada. I called it a "breakfast pod," but it had refried beans and a little meat like a burrito. I must be feeling adventurous about food, because I gobbled it up. I finished the Prolegomena reading for my Trinity class on the person of Jesus Christ. Like the Karl Barth reading before it, this was more of a pleasure than I would have expected. His main point was that, the phrase I keep thinking is, "we have this self revealing God in Jesus Christ." He must be accepted or rejected on His own terms. Trying to work your way to a knowledge of God from any place beside His self-revelation is dead on arrival.
The city of Accra is quite beautiful and modern looking from the sky. I saw, among other things, numerous nice homes, one swimming pool, a soccer (football) stadium, and a large church. There were also several long fishing boats in the bay. It was a neat scene. Accra was green with palm trees. We were given some time to wait while the plane was prepared for the last leg to Monrovia. We ended up waiting over an hour for the plane to be refurbished for the next trip. It started getting really hot and humid in the cabin, our first exposure to African heat. Then there was a wiring problem, then the plane wouldn't start properly because of the heat. Eventually, we got going again and landed in Monrovia maybe 40 minutes behind schedule. They had everyone get off the plane and ride the bus to the terminal, which hardly seemed necessary as the terminal was only a short walk away. The immigration process was smooth, aided by our forerunning host who pushed us right through customs. I doubt we'll have that kind of ease when we come back to America. It was the sort of situation where one had to be assertive and push there way through which takes some getting used to. Our temporary host took us across the street (through the chaos of waiting crowds and UN people) to a small restaurant where we waited for our driver to arrive. We had Cokes (produced in Algeria) to help pass the time. Rev. Abraham Powell, a leader in the EC Church of Liberia, with others accompanying him, was our driver. We traveled jeep of sorts. I sat in the middle and dozed heavily for awhile. The scenery was very green and tropical, but the dirt was red and dusty. Randy made numerous comments regarding the improvements to Liberian infrastructure since his last visit, observed in the quality of the roads and airport. From Monrovia, we traveled south to the city of Buchanan and our hotel for the next three nights. When entering Buchanan, we drove through a lengthy marketplace area. The most prominent item for sale was gasoline in glass jars and used soda bottles. The hotel itself, very close to the ocean, surprised with its niceness. King-sized bed, private bathroom with a western toilet, a TV with one channel, and air conditioning that lifted humidity, but did not make things cold. We met Matthew Gueh, the Field Superintendent, Janga, Field Superintendent of Nepal (who had arrived ahead of us), and others for dinner at the hotel restaurant. We all had schwarma (beef or chicken) on Matthew's recommendation. A Lebanese dish, schwarma consists of beef (in my case), onion, and a tart Greekish dressing all wrapped in a fried or baked tortilla. We chatted for a little while then then went to bed, good and tired from lack of sleep and slept through the night even though it was 4:30 in the afternoon at home. Jet-lag averted?