Here I go again! By the time you read this post, I'll be winging my way across 11 time zones from San Francisco to Portland to Amsterdam to Nairobi. Lest that sound exotic and fun, let me share the details:
After 28 hours in transit, my zombie-like self will, I hope, clear Kenyan immigration and customs before midnight and land at a local Mercy convent. Then it's back out to Jomo Kenyatta Airport early the next morning for the next leg of the trip to S. Sudan: a flight to Lodwar, in central Kenya.
Alas, the discovery of oil in northern Kenya has vastly complicated my travel to South Sudan: the airport at Loki, quite near the S.Sudan border, has been shut down (several years already!) for repairs and expansion. Lodwar is an undesirable alternate airport, located some 5 hours south of Loki, and thus necessitating a long road journey to the border, where I must stay overnight (think lovely motel "tukul") because it will be too late in the day to get cleared by the border control officers. The next morning the journey resumes northward, with long stopovers to obtain multiple official stamps in my passport from Kenyan and S.Sudanese immigration personnel. That done, we cross into S.Sudan and after another hour or two (providing the rivers are not impassable) arrive at our nearest project site, Narus.
Beam me up, Scottie!
But, you might ask, "Why not fly into Juba, the capital of S.Sudan, which is less than 150 miles from Narus?" Yes, that would be a better option, for sure (a mere 12 hour road trip) except for the fact that the road linking Juba to Narus is plagued by ruthless bandits murdering travelers every week. Often the road is simply shut down by the army as "too dangerous" for transit.