A number of numbers are rattling through my brain today as I think about the upcoming trip. The first and most important number is 13. Thirteen people from Mount Vernon First and other churches on the district make up this W&W team to Zambia. The team members are Tim and Connie Sharrock, Ken and Kendra McKenzie, Juan and Eva Vega, Dave Secrest, Jillian Secrest, Jean Taylor, George Gribben, Don Beecher, Mike Norris, and Kevin Hughes.
We have 12 days left to prepare for the trip. I know Connie Sharrock has been making the final travel plans including things like gathering up food donations at church and getting our entry visas from the Zambian embassy. Individually we all have checklists of things to do and things to pack in the next dozen days. Most importantly, by now everyone should already have or be about ready to get their Yellow Fever shots and Malaria pills.
50 pounds is the maximum each of us can pack on our 1 check bag. That is always a challenge, especially when the packing list includes tools. To complicate matters, Ethiopian Air only allows 15 pounds in a carry-on. So the usual strategy of putting the heavy items in the carry-on to get around the 50 pound limit won't work. Fortunately Ethiopian Air allows a personal or computer bag that doesn't get weighed beyond the 15 pound carry-on. So your's truly will have a heavier than usual computer bag on this trip.
777 is another number I'm thinking about right now. Fortunately we had the pleasure of flying an Ethiopian Air Boeing 777 a few years ago on our trip to Mozambique. At first it was a little scary thinking about flying a plane hailing from Ethiopia, but we were pleasantly surprised. This is a young fleet of comfortable and well equipped planes with individual TV/computers in each seat. This is important since we will spend 14 hours of our 20 plus hours of flight time on a 777.
When I think I might not be able to handle this extensive amount of time confined to a flying tube, one more set of numbers give me the resolve to keep packing. Those numbers are 80 and 60. Those are the forecast average high and low temperatures for our 2 weeks in Zambia.