How Many…?

I find this title fitting to sum up the week I had but before I continue let me say I am not writing this post for sympathy but simply sharing the details of my busy week.

How many days does it take to get to Africa? 5

How many hours do they delay the flight out of London to Africa? Too long

How many times did my luggage go missing? 2

How many times did I leave my passport in the luggage trolleys? 2

How many times will I leave all my money and cards in my carry-on (that I was made to check)? Never again

How many people did I worry/stress? Too many to count

Last Monday (August 3rd) I set out for my trip to Africa around 4pm. I came off a really nice week saying goodbye to family and friends. I was ready. Bring on the adventure I said. Little did I know there was a week-long adventure waiting for me. My first stop was Raleigh and check-in went relatively smooth. I get to the gate and several people had to check their carry-on bags. When I arrive in Charlotte, I realize all the money/cards I had were now in my checked carry-on. Panic set in. Little did I know that money would have been really helpful when I was left in London airport for 9+ hours because of aircraft issues.

At 7:30 pm Tuesday, the flight finally leaves for Nairobi, Kenya. I would miss my flight from Nairobi to Zambia at 8 pm so plans were already made in London to reschedule that flight. I arrive in Nairobi Wednesday morning at 6:30. I go to pick up my luggage and my checked carry-on (thankfully) and one another bag made it. Myself along with too many other people are in a huge circle at a tiny desk claiming hundreds of lost luggage. After waiting in line for 2+ hours, I was finally able to fill out my information. I leave the airport to stay in Nairobi for two days. Thanks to a lot of help from Cindy Aggers, Kara Cullom and Sue Gammons I had a fellow PULSE friend (Alicia Cook) waiting outside for me.

Friday morning comes and I leave early enough before my flight to pick up my luggage that did not arrive until midnight Thursday. I go to the luggage area to pick them up only to find out they were in a van being delivered to the apartment I was staying at. Luckily we caught the guy before he left the parking lot.

I arrived in Zambia Friday morning and get off the plane to collect my luggage only to find this time I had nothing on the belt. Once again, I am in another line filling out another form for missing luggage I just picked up not even 4 hours ago. After many trips to the airport, I finally have all my luggage with me!

Last thing: load shedding. What is this you might ask? Zambia did not receive adequate rainfall last year needed to support electricity for the entire year so load shedding was put in place in July and rumor has it that the end will be March. This means power is cut off for the entire country in shifts of 8am-4pm or 2pm-10pm. Every day is different so you never know what shift you might get.

After missing luggage, flights, and sporadic electricity, all that is left is finding a place to live.

Tomorrow I start at the office and I am eager to get started!

I need to give a big thank you to people I have already mentioned and others: Kara Cullom, Cindy Aggers, Sue Gammons, John Bolla, Alicia Cook, Karoline Rohlig and family and friends that helped this week in different ways.

Until next time!

Kara IMG_2107






  1. So sorry about your travel issues. I hope you can rest now and prepare for your assignment. Best of luck:)

  2. In the words of Wanda Lightbourne, “Only Dora the explorer” lol! This week will be much better! Be safe!

  3. What a story!!!! I like all your questions to start off with ;)….thankyou for sharing the “fun”!! I know it takes time to write, but I, for one, read eagerly of your news…lovingly, Mrs. Valerie

  4. Happy to hear that u finally made it 🙂 challenging times bring great learning. Good luck in ur assigment, i am sure the coming days will be much better

  5. It certainly was an eventful journey and I’m pleased to hear that you finally arrived safely and have all your bags. I hope your start with LCD is less eventful and all goes well this week – all the best Dara.

  6. Hi Dara,

    I’m glad you made it safely and were finally able to get settled. Remember that trials have the ability of making you stronger and I’m sure you will do great things there to impact the lives of many. I look forward to hearing more about your adventure and GSK Zebulon is so very proud of you!
    Take care,

  7. AH! Cant help but laugh (sorry). That wouldn’t have been a believable script if you had written it. You made it in the end. It can only get better 😉

  8. TIA Dara….. TIA! This is Africa! You will repeat this many times during your PULSE assignment. I had a similar start to my trip, though thank goodness I had my money. Just think….. if you made it through all of this already, the rest should be easy! Glad to hear that you are safe and sound. Good luck with your housing search and your first week on assignment!!

  9. Dara. You poor thing my heart goes out to you ,what terrible ordeals , breathe deeply and calmly . I am thinking about you and sending you strength. Look forward to hearing happier stories in future.

  10. Hello Dara, The Bostians want you to know that we love you, are praying for you, and thank God for all that He will accomplish through you! Be safe sweetie!

  11. Glad to see through it all you are doing ok. I am sure all will go well for the rest of your trip. Looking forward to seeing you when you return.

  12. ….Dara that is unforgatable experience. I am glad finally you sound settled in. Hydro-Electric Power use in Zambia is huge especially at the Capital-Lusaka and Copper Belt where the Copper Mines are I would imagine the scenario on “Load Shedding”… Might not be pleasant. Best wishes though.

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