Last Day in Country and Heading Home

Monday, January 09, 2023
Plano, Texas, United States
Yesterday morning, Sunday, Adeline arrived with a taxi at 8:30. I took what I needed for a baptism, and we headed out through the thin traffic. Sunday morning is the fastest time to navigate Douala, many people take Sunday off if they can. We drove to the eastern edge of Douala, turned left off the Yaounde road and made our way to a swimming pool. Aline’s husband Christian had said this would be a good place for a baptism. We waited for Christian, then walked inside to talk to the manager, who was sitting at a table poolside eating an omelet for breakfast.
We explained that we wished to use the pool for a baptism, we needed ten minutes and we were willing pay him. We had arrived early, before his clients would arrive so as not to be a bother. The pool was empty but was being cleaned.
He politely informed us that he couldn’t allow it. “My pool must be open to all my clients, so I don’t allow anything religious or political on the premises. If I let Christians baptize here, my Muslim clients might not want to come any more. Even if no one but staff is here, the word would spread. I don’t allow pollical parties to hold events here either. I’m sorry.”
We asked if he had another suggestion. “Take the road across the street, there is another swimming pool down there. You might be able to use that one. So, we drove down the dirt road for half a mile or so and came to a brand-new hotel. It appeared to have a pool on the roof. We walked in the lobby and explained the situation to the manager. She agreed to let us use the pool. So, we walked up four flights of stairs to the roof, and Adeline went to the restroom to change clothes.
When she was ready, I asked God’s blessing on the ceremony, and asked her if she accepted the covenant of baptism. When she said she did, I asked her to step down into the pool. She went slowly and laughed nervously. She said she had never been in a swimming pool before. I baptized her, then back on the deck, ask God to grant her the gift of His Holy Spirit. As she dried off with a towel, I told her an angel was writing her name in the book of life. She had a wonderfully happy smile on her face.
On the way out, I paid the manager 5000 francs, about 8 dollars, for our use of the pool. Back in the taxi, we drove to the turn-off to their home a few miles down the road. Then it was goodbye and until next time, and the taxi driver took me back to the hotel.
Sévérin was waiting in the lobby. We went over some last-minute paperwork. I thanked him for his help, and he said he was happy to do it. We shook hands and said until next time.
I considered going down to the Wouri River for lunch, there are a couple of picturesque restaurants on the banks that serve fresh fish. But I’ve been there many times, and it’s not much fun without Marjolaine, so I stayed at the hotel for lunch and worked until it was time to go to the airport.
I took the hotel shuttle at 9:00 pm, and started the process of leaving Cameroon. The bureaucracy is just as bad leaving as arriving. My bags were scanned before I was allowed to enter the airport lobby. I was checked by a policewoman at the door to the check-in area. The Air France procedures went quickly. The agent told me to go through all the emigration formalities with my passport, then come back through it all to the Air France lounge, where I could wait.
My suitcase checked in, and boarding pass in hand, I headed toward the corridor leading to emigration. At a desk with two policemen, I was stopped to show my boarding pass. I walk down the corridor to some other desks where I had to fill out a departure card, just as I had filled one out on arrival. Card in hand I got in line at emigration. The agent takes my passport and boarding pass, takes my photo and electronic finger prints from my right hand. She stamps the passport and waves me on. Fifty feet farther I reach another desk where all my papers are checked again.  I tell the agent I’m going to the Air France lounge and he nods.
In the lounge there are snacks and beverages of various sorts. I sit and connect to wifi and send a few messages and e-mails. When the time comes, I head down toward the gate. The agent just past the emigration desk recognizes me and nods me through. There is long walk down un-airconditioned corridors to the gate area. I reach the government security check, where I go through a metal detector and have to take out my laptop, tablet and so on and put them through a scanner. Two steps later and Air France security crew goes though my rollaboard and shoulder bag by hand, quite thoroughly.
From there I move on to the gate agent, who scans my boarding pass. It beeps and indicates I have been upgraded to premium economy, a pleasant surprise. She pulls my luggage tag off the old boarding pass, and I reach out to take it. She shakes her head, no she will stick in on the new boarding pass. She hands the pass to me and I’m allowed to board the plane. But the luggage tag didn’t make the switch. I hope the suitcase won’t be misrouted, I won’t have the tag or the numbers.
It was a six and half hour flight to Paris, leaving at midnight and arriving just before dawn in the same time zone. I slept two hours. We are funneled into a security check, where we go through the same verification, laptops, tablets and liquids out, empty pockets etc. When I get recombobulated, I head up to the departure level and go to the lounge. I have a glass of tomato juice with a dash of Worcestershire sauce (if you’ve never tried that, you should, it’s delicious). 
I had entered an award certificate into the Delta system which gave me the right to a free upgrade to premium select, sort of a business class. But the flight was overbooked and there were no seats, not even economy comfort, so it was main cabin across the pond. The flight was smooth. I was seated next to a young Lebanese woman who lives in the US now. We chatted about Lebanon and her family members who were still there. I asked if any of them were affected by the massive fertilizer explosion in Beirut in August 2020. She said no, “thank God.” I slept two more hours more or less.
I had another layover in Detroit for a couple of hours, which gave me time to clear customs and immigration. I was in line for an upgrade to economy comfort, but it didn’t come through. There's something different about an African boarding pass. In fact, though they scanned my boarding pass at the gate and the green light came on, after I was seated, I saw a gate agent walking toward me. Upgrade? I hoped. No, their system didn’t show me even being on the plane. It’s strange, but it’s not the first time this has happened, a glitch in the matrix.
I was seated next to a stewardess who was deadheading home to Dallas. She had just come from Tokyo. We swapped travel stories for a few minutes, she was very pleasant.
Finally, I arrived in Dallas about 28 hours after starting my trip. I arrived home at 8:00 pm to my wonderful Marjolaine. I will sleep well tonight!
Thanks for following along and for your kind thought for my safety and well-being. This was a challenging trip, but good results have come from it. I don’t know yet when my next long trip will be.

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Cecil Maranville

We’re thankful for the positive developments, and we continue to hold the church family in our prayers.


God bless you and the African brethren.


Thank you for updates on your travels. Your work in Africa is certainly challenging! God bless your work in every way is my prayer.


Thanks for blogging and keeping informed about what's happening with our brethren. Very touching to hear that Aline's baptism was the first time she had been in a swimming pool. What a happy occasion.

Tess Washington

Glad you're back in the country and in your home! It was a wonderful occasion of Aline's baptism and I like the comment you told her that an angel is writing her name in the book of life! And what a trip it was for 28 hours from Cameroon to USA!