Travelling by air, normally is one of the scary things even though I like the idea of moving away from Sierra Leone and seeing other parts of the world, but this always starts with several thoughts on my mind.
I was one of three journalists, Daniel Moseray of SLBC ‘Wey Yus’ fame and Murtala Mohamed Kamara of Salone Jamboree to attend the first ever “MultiChoice Africa content Show”in Mauritius with the theme ” Only the best”. The event showcases the amazing content that DStv and GOtv offers across all its platforms, mobile, online, PVR and streaming, it will feature channels like BBC, lifestyle and entertainment, Turner: CNN, Cartoon Network and Boomerang, NBC Universal; Telemundo, M-Net : Africa Magic.
The showcase is aimed at giving the media an opportunity to experience MultiChoice in form of themes, participative activities around programmes and channels and the extravaganza will also future celebrities from various channels who will be engaging the media giving an In- depth experience of the MultiChoice content.
At around 6pm Local time, we boarded the Kenya Airways flight for Accra, where we were issued with our passports that made us relax with full assurance.
At this point we started moving as a team.
Sunday 22 June was no exception, as I had to grapple with the thought of the missing Malaysian airline, but I was consoled by several friends and myself since going to the South Africa has been one that I been longing for.
Because the long-crossing to the Freetown International airport was a challenge, we decided to leave early, so as to be on the safe side, since our passports were still in Accra, we had to travel using the Emergency Travelling Certificate which was a bit difficult, but thank God for Dan Moss, whose face is an ID, we were granted passes to board.
On board the flight, I met a gentleman, smartly dressed in his suit and smiling quietly. We had a little chat about the sitting position that he was occupying my seat, which is by the windows. Humbly, he got up and left the row but he came again and told me “my lady this is my seat”. I got up and said “ok if that is it, then have the seat” I got up. It was then, he said, as a senior judge how can he not know his seating position.
At this point, I looked at him this time directly in the eyes and asked his name ” Justice Hamilton”. I was shocked and ashamed of myself. But this judge turned out to be kind, warm and a pleasant person to interact with, so that what’s made my journey interesting.
It was at this moment that Murtala called my attention to IG Munu. So, Justice Hamilton told me that himself and Munu are going for a conference in Nairobi Kenya.
Justice Hamilton and I discussed several issues ranging from judiciary, politics, media and even Ebola and we charted all through to Accra, which was about a two hours journey. It was in Accra that we were given our passport that had been earlier sent by Transnational Sierra Leone Limited, the MultiChoice Local representative.
We later arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport about 6a.m Local time this is because of the flight’s delay in Freetown. We had to rush again to claim our luggage, since we were only checked in for Nariobi instead of South Africa.
Our flight to South Africa was confirmed for 9 :05 Local time but there was a technical problem with the initial flight, therefore we were transferred to another flight, which cost us over an hour’s delay.
The journey from Nairobi to South Africa is three hours twenty minutes but it was as if we were in the sky forever. At some point, I thought that maybe the flight had lost its way because I was really anxious to see ‘Jo Burg’.
Dan Mos also came to my seat to enquire about the reason why we were still flying and he had long been waiting for the announcement about our landing but it was not forth- coming.
He compared the situation to that of the missing Malyasian Airline that has not been found till now. After 30 minutes, finally the announcement was made.
From the aerial view you can see that South Africa is very big, with patches of mining areas, houses were all in an orderly manner. I said to the others, maybe it because of the size of the country that was why we spent more than the hour that is stated on the ticket.
On arrival at the OR Tambo International Airport at about 1:30 South African time, we were greeted by a 100 inches ultra sound TV planted in almost every area. We strolled through the hallway complacently because we were to spend the night at a nearby hotel, City Lodge, which was few metres always for departure to Mauritius on Tuesday.
We came out of the Airport to be faced with mighty buildings and our hotel looking straight in our eyes, as if to say “welcome my children to your home; come and live a happy life.” From this moment, we started a debate on whether South Africa is Africa or Europe because most of the facilities found in Europe is found here. Infrastructure is first class. Jo Burg stands the test of time, no wonder they hosted the World Cup in 2010.
We went to hotel to check in and Murtala “Internet freak” first asked for the internet service, as he been out of what’sapp, Facebook and Twitter for just one day which he said is a boring way for him. But he was told that he can only access Internet free for one hour and any other time is to be paid for.
As usual for my part, food was the most important thing. I enquired whether provision was made for us for food but again it was negative, the lady told us we had to find our food ” so bad for me. Ok no problem! I will find food!”
Dan Moss was interested in site-seeing, so he enquired about that.
This was positive, since the receptionist said she will find someone to take us around on site-seeing.
However, the hotel was first- class, the rooms are very nice, big and exquisite but the only thing was that of the internet.
We thought of the financial implications involved in getting someone to take us out like tourists.
We then changed our plan, so when the receptionist called, we told her we won’t be going out because we are tired and need some rest.
We sneaked out of the hotel and took the street with the idea that as long we can talk we will not get lost.
We first found out where we can change currency from dollar to Ram, which we did at the airport but at a cheaper rate. Earlier, we had met a guy at the airport, who directed us to the hotel, so we were grateful to him by using his cab to get to town. Not for free though.
Unfortunately for him, he was not aware that we had enquired about where we can get food, which was at the Kempson Park, a Central Business District and that the cost of a taxi which was a “Poda Poda” in Sierra Leone was 7 Rands about Le4,000.
When we met our friend, Fede, we asked for his help to take us around and help us find food. He told us that where he was going to take us is about 15 minutes from the hotel and will cost about 250 Rand per person for one way. We calculated just the cost for transportation which was 500 Ram, so how much are we going to eat out of the $50 we had changed which was just 450 Rand. We said to each other in Krio which they don’t understand that ” we should balance Fede”.
So I told him we were going to the hotel to collect our dollar to covert to Ram and then we will come later.
We immediately left his sight and enquired from a guy where we can get a taxi to Kempson Park, which we took no less a minute to get a taxi that was driven by a woman.
As she took us smoothly to the park, we got food from KFC.
As we leave on Tuesday for Mauritius for the MultiChoice AfricaContent Show, we are looking forward to understand and assimilate the role of the organization in bringing content to the continent through its various platforms and technology.
In Mauritius, we are looking forward to the 20 minutes of massage, hot bath, tennis with the coach, volleyball and lot of fun it is going to be indeed. “only the best”.
By Betty Milton
Wednesday June 25, 2014