The other day I applied for a new passport because I'm going to Costa Rica in April on a missions trip with the LCS Class of 2010. As I gathered my "legal" documents, I traveled back in time to other missions trips - - -
Once upon a time I was just a round-eyed eighteen year old girl who embarked on a world adventure.
I did not go alone, I was one of a group of sixteen, and our Guide was Divine.
Our first port of call was Freetown, Sierra Leone.
It was pre-blood diamond war days. All was peace and quiet, devoid of the sound of guerrla warfare which came later.
I remember Larry's eyes getting big as saucers as he caught his first glimpse of topless ladies working in a rice paddy. Seems he'd never even seen a National Geographic to prepare him for culture shock.
I remember the brick red dirt walls that flanked the "highway" as we headed up country.
I remember being introduced to the chief in one village, and he received us as regally as any king dressed in rags could. As I stood before him, my heart fluttered with the fear of being rejected from his kingdom. He must have liked something he saw in us, because there was no rejection that day.
I remember Jerry jumping upright onto a bed when he saw a lizard scurry into the sink.
I remember showering under a downspout - - - and grateful we were to wash the dust of the road off of us.
I do NOT remember seeing a snake - - - though we looked very hard.
We had one overnight in Ghana on our way to South Africa.
I thought I would die in the taxi as the driver sailed right between two approaching semis. I was down on the floor for the REST of that ride.
We walked from our hotel to the Gulf of Guinea, where we waded in just to say we'd been.
In Zambia we had a close encounter of the pachyderm kind, but I've already related that tale here.
We stood at the edge of Victoria Falls and peered through the mists. I can still hear the water roar.
My glasses broke one day, and I was the only one who enjoyed lunch for I was the only one who couldn't see that our plates were preused by others in line long before us.
My roommate Sue and I lay in bed one night watching very flat spiders the size of saucers crawling on the wall above our heads - - - left there on purpose to eat worse pests.
And we hid behind ant hills the size of large haystacks to relieve ourselves - - - guys on one side, gals on the other.
Somehow we made it safely through a road block guarded by heavily armed soldiers who never cracked a smile - - - so we didn't either!
In South Africa we nearly froze to death because it was winter and no heat.
We had a snowball fight in August - - - even though up until that point NONE of us ever thought to see snow in August, least of all in Africa.
I remember Larry was driving the fifteen passenger van and kept turning into the "wrong" lane - - - British driving system, you know.
We ate fish and chips and hamburgers whose ketchup was bright pink and transparent.
We crossed the street at the "robot," stored our suitcases in the "boot," and checked under the "bonnet" to make sure the engine was running smoothly.
Then it was time to head home - - -
With two-night lay-overs in both London and Rome.
London was sunny and warm and oh so clean. The breakfasts were awesome, dinner not so much.
We stood outside Buckingham palace and watched the changing of the guard. The band played "Somewhere My Love" Go figure!
In Rome we ate the best lasagna I've ever had - - - imagine that.
We stood and gazed in awe at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Billy was propositioned by a stranger - - - Billy ran.
Larry and I rented a little scooter and wandered all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, from whence we barely found our way back, not being able to speak or read Italian.
And then it was over. The adventure of a lifetime reduced to memory lane.
After just a little sleep, I awoke a thirty year-old with a hubby and two children, ready for a family over-seas jaunt - - -
This time to Haiti. Long before the Earth Quake.
We walked the streets of Port-au-Prince - they were still streets then.
We saw the president's palace - - - then home to "Baby Doc," the dictator.
We watched children playing in the sewer water in the streets.
We spent three months on the tiny Island of La Gonave where hubby worked long hours in the hospital: suturing, delivering babies, and treating worms, malaria, AIDS, and malnutrition. I did typing and watched our children.
Once a week we went snorkling in the blue, blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. Keri was stung across the legs by stray jelly fish tentacles.
Everyone wanted to touch the blonde curls and white skin of our children.
Everywhere we went, smiling faces and large brown eyes greeted us with cries of "Docteur Greg et Madame Greg!"
We never wanted to leave and then we never got to return except in our memories.
I'm linking this post that I made Tuesday to Vintage Thingie Thursday at Coloradolady and Thrifty Thursday at Bloggeritaville.
These trips were taken in 1972 and 1984 and I'd say that's VINTAGE. Also, just look at me - - - that's VINTAGE.
The thrifty part is also twofold. First, the Africa trip was 7 weeks long. I took $100 spending money and came home with $40 of it!!! I think I was pretty thrifty, don't you? Also - - - how thrifty is it to return there now for FREE since I did it down memory lane?????
Be sure you click on both of the above links to check out what everyone else is posting.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
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What adventures you have had. The spiders on the ceiling freak me out! You spent 3 months in Haiti, the snorkling sounds wonderful.
I haven't left the United States.
I would love to go to London. Have a wonderful time in Costa Rica.
Keetha you have really created some great memories. Trips of a lifetime, twice.
Now you are heading out for another.
My eldest son just got back from Costa Rica in mid December.
When I spoke to him the first time from there he said he had never seen such a beautiful place and he has been to east and west coasts of Mexico and to the Dominican Republic.
They had so much fun and met so many fabulous people. One warning. The thieves are VERY active there and many a visitor loses their backpacks and other bags.
June 4th, 1984 was the day I graduated from High School :) I really love it when I can pinpoint a day in my life with a day in someone elses. I remember those three months of mine very vividly. Amazing that you were in Haiti at that time.
Thanks for this trip through time. I hope that you have another trip of a lifetime in Costa Rica. I wish I could go with you!
Keetha, that was a neat post. I enjoyed your memories. :) Sounds like some adventures I would have to pass on - I'm not quite as adventurous as you.
What will you do in Costa Rica?
ma!!! you are beautiful!!!
Incredible! Awesome. What a blessed life! But, not easy, although very good.
This was an awesome read, you've had some amazing adventures! I am envious you get to go to Costa Rica soon, how wonderful! Your a great writer too! Cindy
Keetha, so well written i could picture it all...even the innocence. great story!
Very interesting...I enjoyed reading it...Good Luck on your next adventure!
So enjoyed the adventures through the eyes of an 18 & 30 year old Keetha.
Thank you for taking us with you!
Wow! From Sierra Leone all the way to South Africa?? What a trip! Snow in South Africa... seriously? I'm hoping Mozambique is still warm in May and June, right??
great post....what memories you hold!
I can hear in your voice the joy that these memories bring to you as you recall them. Don't you feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to experience these things? How different the rest of the world lives! It really makes you so thankful to live in America. Such treasures held in your memory bank! Thanks for sharing!
So great Keetha...God has used your willing heart all over the world, and then for weeks on end every summer at camp! You are a missionary wherever you are!
Brings back great memories of my own on a trip I took to Cambodia once. Lizards, spiders, kids in sewer water the whole bit. Thanks for making me think about that time and how it changed me forever.
Thanks for taking us with you down a trip of great memories. Trust your trip in April will be even better. Costa Rica has a lot of beauty, but also a lot of depressing sights. I twill make for another great story for us.
What a wonderful story teller you are! I was right there with you, on the floor of the truck, behind the ant hills, watching the spiders. Have you ever thought of writing a book. Your words bring your travels to life. I love it. Pat @ junkblossoms.
Please don't stop. Tell us more, oh please, tell us more. You should write a book about your adventures, you're a wonderful story teller.. and how beautiful you are. You just need to do some writing..
Happy VTT, have a wonderful week..
I so enjoyed your post.
Great read1 Thank you. And enjoy your trip.
Thank you for sharing your vintage memories. Your stories are wonderful.
You wonderful lady... the pictures and the tone of this post were awesome. I could 'hear' the wistfulness in your 'voice'.
I've never been outside of the United States. In all honesty, I would worry about food and would have balked at pink transparent ketchup. I wish I were as brave as you (and Kristin).
I think that this is my very favorite post of yours, ever. What wonderful memories.
God speed on your trip to CR. Sounds fabulous! HG went last year and loved it.
Korie is right...you are beautiful!
Wow, you world traveler, you! You sure have had some adventures. I'm having a hard time getting past the saucer-sized spiders! I bet you were a blast to travel with. You seem to have fun no matter where you are!
P.S. Ok, this is weird, but I had to mention the pretty red nails! I notice stuff like that!
I loved reading about your experiences. What opportunities you've been blessed with!
how totally cool! A fun "Vintage thrifty" post.
WOW Keetha i'm literally speechless, breathless & exhausted..what a great script for a movie..i'd pay to see it!!
Those were the days Keetha. In 1971 I sailed in a beautiful cruise ship, "Ellinis" from Sydney Aus. to NY USA via Panama Canal, 26 days of luxury, $1000 for the four of us!
You had some sweet adventures, Keetha!
What an exciting life you have lived! All those countries and experiences. Lovely post.
Wow! Those are awesome adventures!
You have a lot of guts. It's not given to everybody to experience all this.
Thank you so very much for sharing!
You sure had some great adventures.
Thank you for sharing about your trips. My daughter will be taking her first missions trip in Summer of 2011 to Uganda.
What a great story...mission trips are soooo awesome! Thanks for coming by for a visit and I hope to see you again:)
Thank you so much for sharing these memories with us...it made me feel like I was there too-I can totally see those spiders!
Isn't it great to look through your old passports-now they hardly put a stamp in.
I LOVED this post. It left me kind of meloncolly to think of the good times in light of todays world events. I am so glad you got to have those experiences. It made you who you are today. I know your trip to Costa Rica will also be an exciting one. Do you need any more chaperones? I know a REAL good one.
Thanks for linking up to Thrifty Thursday!
Tales from Bloggertiaville
You have definitely had some adventures and some stories to tell...and you did a wonderful job telling us. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.
You've been around!
Great story! On the edge of my seat the whole time! Thanks for coming by. :)
What wonderful memories, well most of them! Have a great time on your upcoming adventure...we will expect a report when you get back...
What amazing adventures!! What great memories!! What lovely passport photos!! :-)
Very exciting and romantic stories. You should do some memoirs. I love old photos. It's funny to look back and try to remember how differently we thought as well as looked back then.
What a scary thought! If I were to consider pictures of myself "vintage", that would make me vintage as well.
Luckily, I consider my pictures "classic". I'd much rather be classic than vintage!
I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for visiting my blog.
What wonderful adventures you have had...girl I envy you! sorry I am so late, I want to throw my computer in the street.....Happy VTT!
Great post, Keetha. I enjoyed reading about your experiences.
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