I’m writing from 39,000 feet in the air. Our plane is travelling 568 miles per hour and we are 1,994 miles from Brussels, and 1,483 miles from Montreal. Further from Kigali, closer to Ottawa.
Yesterday Noah and I spoke about how planes are like twilight zones. You leave the earth’s surface and suddenly you’re stranded between what happened and what will happen. You have to pause before fully ending one reality and landing in another. That’s where I am right now, somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean, half of my heart in Rwanda, half nestled in my Ottawa apartment, waiting for the rest of my body to arrive.
We’ve been on many planes in the last couple of days. On Sunday we took an early bus from Babati to Moshi, near Kilimanjaro. I watched the sun rise over green mountains and an errant herd of zebras, grazing beside the highway just outside of Tarangire Park. The sky was cloudy in Moshi, so, despite our proximity, we couldn’t see Kilimanjaro’s famous peak.
We had nowhere to go in Moshi, so we took a vote and decided to head to the airport early. We spent most of our day curled up on the plastic chairs there, using the free wifi, and, in my case, reading Noah’s copy of Breakfast of Champions cover to cover.
In the evening, we flew back to Dar es Salaam.
The next morning we returned to the Dar airport and boarded a flight to Nairobi. We had a four hour layover in Nairobi, which turned into five hours after our original flight was cancelled and we were rescheduled. By the time we boarded our flight to Kigali, via Bujumbura, we were exhausted and ready to return to the city that was home for a month.
Tanzania had one more gift before we officially said goodbye, though. After our plane took off from Nairobi and turned towards Bujumbura, the man in front of me leaned his chair back, nodded out the window and whispered “Can you see Kili?”
There was Africa’s most famous mountain, rising into the blue sky, the only piece of earth visible above the cloud cover. “Wow,” I exhaled. “That’s amazing.”