Thursday, January 8, 2009

Leaving Mauritania

It seems like we only just arrived and we find ourselves leaving.

Paul took us out to the airport to check in our luggage at 8:30 pm. Our flight left at 11:55 pm. Ruth and I were packed and ready to go in time. I could not say the same of our new traveling partner, Jon Shadid. I will give him some slack though as Jon operates on Mauritanian time.

Security is so much more strict at Nouakchott International Airport. Each of my bags was individually checked by a guard. I wasn't strip searched, but fairly close to it.

These actions gave me a confidence that I am lacking traveling in the US. Oh yes, the technology is 'smarter' in the US. But nothing is more secure than a real person making sure I have not weapons in my suitcase.

As the plane leaves the runway I look out over the city. I see lights with my eyes. In my minds eye I see the people that I met over the last two weeks.

I leave behind my brother: But I have met his Mauritanian family.

I bring with me a lifetime of memories that will forever change and shape the way I think about the people living in this region.

The warmth and kindness that the people of this land share is something that is missing in my home culture. It's as simple as the greeting: a kiss on each side of the face.

We are more alike than we are different.

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