We then returned to Beijing from Changchun on a Thursday evening for the farewell ceremony of the third China- Africa Youth Festival at Capital Hotel. It was fun as the entire six groups (A1 B3) had planned to present gifts to our different Chinese friends who had traveled with us in our different buses.
After listening to speeches delivered by representatives from the Chinese government, All- China Youth Federation and African Union (AU) we watched performance from students of Beijing University. All the groups had planned to hit the stage with their gifts.
One of my friends from Ethiopia Tewodros Kidane asked me to do the presentations as everybody in our bus had suggested I do it because of our Bus I (BI) Everyone song.
I however passed on the task to my colleague Alieu Bakarr Conteh to do it on my behalf.
Our group was the last to present our gifts. Before that our Chinese interpreter Helena and Kay See also suggested that it would be nice if I did the presentations. Our group went on the stage with the BI slogan. It really hit the hall as everyone joined us with the slogan. Our group made the best presentations.
After the ceremony we went back to our Thailong Plaza hotel to prepare for the start of our long journey to Freetown the following evening with Emirates Airlines.
The day for our departure to Sierra Leone, we rushed east of Beijing to do some shopping at Yashow market. It took us two hours using two underground trains to get there. A Sierra Leonean student Adekalie assisted us and took us to the market and a restaurant owned by a Sierra Leone Mr Turay. We were so happy to eat African dishes and to meet with other Africans especially those from Nigeria.
We returned to our hotel again and later took off for the aiport.
We arrived very early and went through checking time, security checks and weighing of our luggage. It was stressful as the Chinese workers at the airport could not speak English. During this process, a Nigerian guy who we met at the airport walked to us and asked one of the Nigerian ladies Rebecca Ibiere Wilfred to help him with his excess luggage. She refused and called our attention but before we could do anything about it the guy sneaked away. We became worried and asked one of the workers of Emirates Airline to allow us check in as a group. They grated our request and we went to the waiting room to board our flight to Dubai. This time round I was confident to be in the Emirates Airline as it gives me all the pleasure I deserve. Their food is nice, their pilots are encouraging and above all they have good food and drinks.
It was really good to fly with Emirates. This time round I was unable to watch, movie from my soft touch Television set because I slept. After six hours, we arrived in great Dubai. One thing I like about Dubai is their escalators, elevators and their soft touch taps. Whilst moving around the airport with my colleague Baindu Massaquoi to do shopping I spotted my Boss, Kelvin Lewis. He too was from China. He asked what my next flight to Kenya is. I told him and he responded that we were going to be on the same flight on Emirates Airlines
Mr. Lewis told me that according to the flight schedule we were to spend a night in Kenya before leaving for Freetown with Kenya Airways and passed on the information to my Sierra Leonean colleagues. We were worried as we did not have anyone to stay with for that night. Our friends from Kenya however assured us that they would take care of us in Kenya. We then moved to Air Emirates boarding gate for our flight to Kenya only to realize that it had changed. We had to walk again for half and hour to our flight gate. .
We boarded the flight for Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. We had a lot fun onboard the very smooth flight and exchanged jokes not even aware that we were airborne
As usual I asked the air hostess to serve me Baileys so that I could sleep.
After six years, we landed at Jomo Kenyetta Airport went through security checks and moved out of the airport to find a hotel to pass the night. There we met Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police Somasa who gave us a warm welcome. My Boss joined him and I joined my Kenyan and Sierra Leonean friends to a hotel far off from the airport.
But one thing about Kenya is that the place was too cold for our comfort. One of our Kenyan friends Gideon Magak Omodho took us to a restaurant and later drove us to a hostel to spend the night. My Boss had to intervene to help us foot the hostel bill. In the evening we wanted to take ride to the city but we were advised by workers of the hostel that the city is not safe so we returned to our rooms, took a bath and slept.
We woke up very early in the morning as we had been warned about the traffic congestion from the hostel to the airport. We made it to the airport very early did all our checks and some shopping.
This time, I was not too anxious to travel with Kenya airways due to the turbulence we encountered on our first trip. The difference between Air Emirates and Air Kenya is that when we encounter turbulence with Emirates we did not feel it, but with Kenya we felt it.
As usual, I asked one air hostess to serve me Baileys as I wanted to fall asleep. But that did not materialize. After four hours we landed at Ghana’s Kotoka Airport where some passengers heading for Freetown joined us.
We started the journey again in joy for Freetown as we had only two hours to land. We made fun with other passengers until we landed at Lungi by 3:30 pm.
Back to Africa the suffering of traveling started. The schedule for the ferry was 6 pm.but we had to wait for two and half hours before boarding the Great Scarcies ferry. The trip was terrible; we got stuck at the middle of sea here for another for two hours before we were rescued by toeing the ferry to Targrin. We landed at exactly 9pm.
By Abibatu Kamara