I was leaving Nairobi, Kenya. Not that I hadn’t loved every minute of my trip there, but it was time to go, and as I approached the Kenya Airways counter to receive my boarding pass for the flight to Dubai, I was greeted with the wonderful news that our plane was delayed! One thing I have learned as a traveler is that there are a few things you cannot change so you might as well accept them as best you can. Delayed planes fell into that category. Nothing to do but wait. Trouble was, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport there really wasn’t anywhere to wait.
The young lady who had given me the news now pointed me towards a coffee shop down the walkway, but unfortunately all the other passengers who were waiting to board had the same idea, so I dragged my bags back to the airline counter and stood along side a wall.
“Hey, come back here and talk to me,” said the girl in the bright red uniform.
I don’t know if it was because she was wearing my favorite color or because she had such a warm smile but I immediately moved behind the counter and sat on the stool she offered.
For the next four hours I had the best conversation with the person I now know as Nancy. We talked about our lives, past, present and future plans. We talked about the state of the world, and our beliefs. We realized we had more in common that just the fact that we were both sitting behind the Kenya Airways counter on that hot summer day. And when my flight was finally ready, Nancy and I hugged and said goodbye. We exchanged email addresses and promised to keep in touch. But what happened next was truly amazing.
Two years later I took a job in Kuwait. While I was there Nancy emailed me that she was being transferred to the Kenya Airways office – guess where – Kuwait! Now if you have never been to Kuwait, you should know it is more like a big city than a country which meant we would definitely be reunited. The more Nancy and I talked the more impressed I was with her life. Coming from Kenya, wanting an education, a career, wanting to travel and experience all that the world had to offer. I could feel a deep sisterhood with her that I almost never felt with anyone else.
As the years passed, we have stayed in touch. True we do not talk every day or even every month, but I still consider her to be a dear friend, which makes me so thankful for that trip to Kenya, the delayed plane and the crowded coffee shop. Knowing Nancy reminds me that each step we take in life is another step in the direction of our unfolding journey.