A Missionary Journey in Kenya

Receiving more than I give

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Travelling to Canada via London

After the normal Sunday Masses on Sunday 8th April, I took the Shuttle down to Nairobi and caught the plane at 11pm to London.  I had supper at my friend’s restaurant and he drove to the airport.  I slept a little on the plane and arrived without incident in London – immigration hardly even looked at me – I suppose at 6am on a Monday morning it is hard to get too excited. 

I was carrying two big bags of Kionyo tea for the speaking tour around Canada, so I checked them in at the terminal – after crying poor, the man kindly suggested I plastic wrap the two bags together and check it in as one bag – a mere 48kg!  But it saved a few dollars.  I then took the Tube train to London and stayed with my niece Alexandra for two nights.  As they say, timing is everything… as it was 7am in the morning I had to pay 16 pound for my ticket… 3 hours later it would have been Off-Peak and half price.  Oh, well.

Because my niece was working during the day I took the opportunity to visit the Oblate Parish in Quex Rd, Kilburn, where I spent 6 months doing pastoral work in 2001.  Sadly, the previous secretaries had left 2 or 3 years before, so I never got to see them.  But I did see two of the younger parishioners who are now married with children.  After a sleep and lunch at the parish, I toured London looking for my niece’s place at Hackney.

Apart from seeing people, Alexandra and her colleague managed to get free tickets to see the musical “Billy Elliot”.  It was a great show and I was just amazed at the courage of the young actor playing the part of “Billy”; all of 12 years old.  Apparently there are about 5 boys playing the “Billy” character, and they take it in turn, so they can continue their school work.  They all live in a the same house and get “home” schooling.  The weather in London was pretty good… typically British as they say. There is also an 85 year old grandmother (really) who acts like a cheeky 40 year old!  My niece and her friend are practicing to do the signing for deaf people at the show in the coming weeks.

I was very impressed by the Victoria Palace Theatre, too.  Lucky I got a free ticket.

Then, on Wednesday, I took the plane to Toronto, Canada, and thankfully I remembered to collect my “two” bags… the man was a bit surprised how heavy the bag was!  I was also fortunate that British Airways gave me a Missionary fare which allowed me to carry 3 x 23kg bags for free.  Unfortunately when I arrived in Canada, despite a promise over the phone, I had to pay for the second bag… but $23 seemed reasonable for 21kg. 

In London, our plane was held up for 2 hours and I missed my connection to Saskatoon.  This was a blessing in disguise because they put me up in the Sheraton International for the night, and I got a decent 5 hours sleep.  Next morning they almost cancelled our flight to Saskatoon because of storms… but we got away just in time and we landed safely at 9:30am, to be welcomed warmly by Diane and her husband, Bernard.  Diane is the boss of our MAMI office (Missionary Association).

SASKATOON, in the Province (State) of Saskatchewan, Canada – has a decent airport for a city of less than 250,000 people.  It is supposed to be spring here, but there is lots of snow!

So, that’s enough for today!  Take care and God Bless, Gerard


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