What I Did on My Summer Vacation

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Okay, it wasn’t really a vacation. Haven’t had one of those in about three years. But as they say, a change is as good as a rest. And my 10 days in Angola recently certainly qualifies as a change.

I was a writer attached to a video crew and still photographer documenting the work of a wonderful Christian aid ministry in Angola. Getting there required a 9-hour flight to London, a 7-hour layover, and then a 8-hour flight to Luanda–Angola’s capital city. We were traveling on a non-profit budget so the accommodations in Luanda were, shall we say, spartan. Here’s a couple of ¬†shots from my hotel room window:

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That water in the street . . . that would be a sewage leak. We only spent one night in Luanda. The next morning we drove seven hours south along the coast to the city of Benguela. A hotel there would be our base camp for the next six days.

Each day brought a long, arduous drive on bad roads to a remote village. I saw things I wish I could un-see:

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There were lots of fun moments as well. For example, I brought my iPad and quickly found that I could use it to mesmerize the children of a village. For example, there were no mirrors in these villages. Outside of catching their reflection in a bucket of water,  these children there had never seen themselves. As a result, I learned that I could take the front-facing camera on my iPad and work some magic. Allow me to illustrate:

Getting home proved to be a challenge. Due to back to back mechanical failures with a British Airways flight, we ended up requiring about 70 hours of travel to get home, sleeping in airports and airplanes. I wanted to kiss the ground when we landed at Raliegh-Durham.

Nevertheless, one of my favorite things is traveling to a place and culture I’ve never experienced before. And this trip to Angola was rich in countless ways.

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