July 10, 2015. Our trip down to Guyana was an adventurous one, marked by problems every step of the way. We rented a car from Enterprise to drive down to Texas, where we were to fly out of the DFW. On the way we stepped in McAlester to visit with Brother Ron Dinnocenzo, one of the members of our church. He feasted us with a supper of grilled T-bone steaks, boudin, and bacon-wrapped shrimp, with watermelon for dessert. After a few hours of fellowship and prayer, we proceeded on to Dallas, arriving at the DFW shortly before midnight. The first thing that struck us was how huge the airport is (27 square miles). A bus carried us and our luggage about 5 miles from the car drop-off to the United Airways terminal. That was where our trouble began. Although our flight was with United Airways, it was operated by American Airlines. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 5 a.m., but none of the kiosks or ticket counters opened till 3:45. We asked around to make certain, and were told that we were in the correct terminal.
But after printing our tickets at the kiosk, and making it to the ticket counter, we were told that we had to go to the American Airlines terminal, since they were operating our flight. By the time we rode the shuttle to Terminal C, and hauled our luggage up to the ticket counter, it was 4:30. We were told it was too late to check our luggage in on the flight. At that point, confused and exasperated from lack of sleep, I was beginning to wonder if we would make it to Guyana. But the very helpful lady at the ticket counter named Elisa rescheduled us for a 9:05 flight, with connections that would still land us in Guyana at 9:45 p.m. local time, our originally scheduled time of arrival.
Our flight was half an hour late departing Dallas, but we made it safely to Miami, where we had to haul our luggage probably a good mile across the airport to the Caribbean Airlines ticket counter. There we had to hand over another $50 for luggage (I had already been forced to carry my garment bag with me to avoid a $200 charge from American for checking 5 bags). But we made it through with just enough time to use the restroom, and board our next flight. We were quite hungry by this time, but had not had time to buy any lunch. Thankfully however, after dividing the last of Dad’s jerky and peanut butter crackers, the airline actually served us a very good meal of chicken and rice with a biscuit and cookies.
We landed in Trinidad on schedule, and were supposed to remain on board for the final leg of our flight to Guyana. However, for some reason we had to disembark and switch planes. Still, we left on schedule, and landed in Georgetown right on time. Dad and I made it through customs with no difficulty at all, but when we went to claim our baggage we found two of our bags were missing, one of them containing 50 pounds of books and tracts, the other various medical and personal supplies the Katryans had requested us to bring from the States. We put in a claim for them, and are still waiting to hear if they have been located. Brother Katryan tells us that the Trinidad airport is bad about stealing luggage.
Brother Katryan was waiting for us when we arrived, in spite of the late hour and his own health struggles. Because of a crime wave in Guyana following the recent election, there had been some thought of staying the night in Georgetown, but instead it was decided to take us back to Corriverton that night, a 3-hour drive. Jewan, our driver, knows every curve and bump on the Georgetown-Corriverton route, as he drives it 6 days a week. He is a very pleasant and engaging man, and like many Guyanese has a message on his windshield. His says ‘Jesus Never Fails,’ which is one of the best I have seen. It was an adventuresome ride, as Jewan drives very fast, and we encountered several donkeys in the road, as well as a herd of cows and several dogs and cats. But we made it safely to the Katryans’ home in Corriverton around 1 a.m. Dad and I went to bed immediately, and slept till breakfast around 8:30. We enjoyed pancakes, scrambled eggs, and mangerine, a fruit that is a cross between an orange and a tangerine. Afterwards the Katryans sent us back to further catch up on our rest, and that is what we are doing now as we wait to go out for the first time this afternoon.
Our first day in Guyana was largely uneventful, as we used it primarily to rest from our exhausting journey. Brother Katryan is slowed by a flu bug that has sapped his strength, and Sister Nalin is suffering a good deal from a mosquito-borne illness. We did go out in the afternoon to see the project at Roadside Baptist Church, where they have the school and training centre as well. Several months ago a violent wind storm did great damage to the facility, but the work being done now will make it stronger than ever. Instead of a tarp roof on the left side, a stable structure of metal and tin is being built. A man newly attending Corriverton Baptist Church, Tony, is overseeing the work, and a metal fabricator named Dave is involved as well. Both are good, industrious Christian men, by Brother Katryan’s account.
We went by the building at Corriverton Baptist to clean up some work done earlier in the week, then after supper returned to take a couple of girls who were helping clean the church to their homes. We then stopped by a little store to call home and visit with our wives, and then returned home to retire for the night and prepare for a busier day tomorrow.