We’ve mentioned that a group of Better World Books employees is out visiting Zambia where some of our nonprofit partners operate, supporting literacy and education in the region. The first impressions are in, so here’s the first official update on the trip.
From David Ebrite (National Account Executive based in the Atlanta, GA office):
Well, after months of anticipation and planning, we took off for Zambia on the Better World Books annual literacy trip. This is a wonderful chance to see the good that we and our partners are doing in the world.
Had a few snow flakes driving to the airport in Atlanta. Our colleagues coming from Indiana had more than that! We were told the flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg is the longest in the world – over 14 hours. A quick two hour flight then to Lusaka, Zambia and we are ready to begin!
Was dark when we arrived but roads seem fine and the city is bright. I am most excited to begin tomorrow and spend time with our literacy partners.
For all of you freezing at home, it’s a beautiful 75 degrees here….
From Franklin Mejia (based in the Mishawaka, Indiana location):
A trip, nearly 24 hours between flying and changing planes, has been very overwhelming to arrive in a country that has so much to offer and leave to imagination.
The very first impression got me thinking back when I was a child growing in Guatemala city. Lusaka is only 100 years old and rich in language, 72 languages/dialects, and offers so much to learn from.
It has been a long trip, but it is worthwhile to come and start the adventure in such a different–but at the same time similar–to my early memories of my home country Guatemala.
From Michael Schrader (Shipping Specialist based in the Mishawaka, Indiana location):
I have never flown on a commercial airline before so this is an all new experience for me. We first carpooled to Chicago together. The roads were decent until we went through the snow storm in Gary. All I could think about was what to expect in Johannesburg, South Africa. How is the environment there? How is the culture different from mine? I am excited to go but also nervous and soared of into the unknown.
We arrived at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Once I got my luggage turned in, I headed over to the TSA with the rest of the group. There was a slight wait and then we started boarding. I heard the engines start and the plane was moving towards the runway. I definitely felt an adrenaline rush. We rapidly increased speed, felt like a roller coaster taking off. I instantly felt the difference in pressure, felt light headed but just for a few seconds. We kept increasing till we reached altitude and we were above the clouds. The clouds astonished me, breathtaking. It looked like huge cotton balls and it was neat seeing it from above, looks way different from below.
My ears popped in and out throughout the ride. We landed in Atlanta around 4 o’clock. We then headed to our gate. With 45 minutes to an hour of wait time, I decided to look around the airport and call my family. Next to my gate, they had artifacts in cases. A stuffed wolf, hand carved statues, wall full of art, and much more. We then met up with the Atlanta group and boarded. This plane came with complimentary TV on the seats and I had access to movies, music, games, and a tracker for the plane so I can visually see where I am on map.
What also surprised me was the complimentary food/drinks. It is getting dark outside my window, all I can see is the moon, and the red and white lights flashing off the airplane. I believe this is the end of my blog, I’ll be in Africa in 11 hours and 22 minutes, and I can’t wait to arrive!