We have got sad news last night, in the middle of the night, that older brother of Sister Grace, the administrator of our health center, has passed away after long illness... I celebrated a Holy Mass for the repose of the soul of late Godfrey, we consoled Sister Grace and feel for her and her immediate family back at home. Now we've got a serious problem. How to get Sister Grace back home for the funeral, and if not possible, at least to be present during the wake?
I'm on the phone since early morning and browsing Internet as well to find a viable solution to this problem but perspective seam very bleak. She won't be able to get home on time for the funeral. First, she has to hand over the administration of the health center to me (I never thought in my wildest dreams that one day I will be the administrator of the health facility like this!) while she is away. This already poses a lot of problems for me and the staff. Anyway, we'll do our best to make sure things go smoothly and professionally.
Secondly, there are no cheap flights in our part of the world. If you hear cheap flight, it is not that cheap at all. The fastest way it would be for Sister Grace to take plane to Dar es Salaam and then from there to Lusaka in Zambia. Air fare from Mwanza to Dar, return ticket would cost approx. 110 USD (there is a promotion till May at Precision Air). But from Dar to Lusaka the return ticket costs around 650 USD. Hmmm, for this money you can fly to many destinations even on intercontinental flights! We don't have this kind of money...
So, the only option will remain to use either a bus from here to Morogoro and then from there to the border and then to Mpika (the area she comes from) or to fly to Dar by Precision Air and then take a bus to Lusaka. In both cases it will take at least three days to get there.
We will have to decide tonight, so tomorrow she can hand over the health center to me and get ready for the trip.
This is a sad reality of missionary life. You happen to be in a remote place that when something happens in the family, you realize how far you are from your loved ones and feel helpless sometimes as you are simply unable to connect with the family in this important time...And it's a paradox that sometimes it is easier to get on time to Europe from here or to America than to get to neighboring African country...
Pole sana, Sister Grace!