Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Youth Team to Albania Camp

Liam and the team of nine set off on Sunday evening for Stansted Airport to catch their Pegasus Airlines flight to Istanbul, a brief stay in the airport overnight and then fly from Istanbul to Tirana arriving at 8am on Monday. That was the plan. But the plan was thrown completely when their fight was cancelled. Pegasus, like a lot of budget airlines, don't fly everywhere on their route plan every day. Suddenly phone calls and texts are flying all over the place even if the plane wasn't! Pegasus could get them to Istanbul on Monday after midday but then they didnt fly to Tirana until Thursday, and they could only take 9 not all 10 of them. Um! This is Sunday evening when the church office is closed and some key staff are on holiday! But we all have mobile phones! In the end they all stayed overnight in an hotel near Stansted on Sunday night and then Pegasus flew them to Istanbul on Monday. The onward flight was with Turkish Airlines to Tirana who fly from the main international Ataturk airport, so that meant being transported from one side of Istanbul (Asian side) to the other European side. This was followed by futile attempts to sleep in the airport on Monday night before catching their early morning, now Tuesday, flight to Tirana, Albania.

I met them at the airport soon after 9am, all looking VERY tired. Bottles of cold water all round was the first thing and then all aboard the air conditioned minibus where they could relax knowing they really were now on the last leg of the journey. It didnt take long for most of them to fall asleep. This photo of Olu probably sums it up. No, he is not thinking with his eyes closed, he is fast asleep!

After 90 minutes or so we were in Elbasan the main city Ann and I stay in and a good place to have a break. Liam and others were hungry so fast food was the order of the day. Sufllaques were orderd with a bottle of cold water all for 200 Leke =£1each. It is amazing how food revives the spirits.



Another of couple of hours and we arrived at the Nehemiah Centre, Pogradec where we hold the Youth Camp. Sheer relief that the journey was over. Here we are right by Lake Ohrid and much higher up so the air is fresher and cooler. The team were greeted by Ben and Jack from our church who have been here a week already.
Bags and suitcases put in their rooms and then it was time to eat again. And this is what they tucked into, a hearty helping of a baked pasta dish with vegetables in it and cheese on top, a sausage, salad, potato soup if you wanted it, and watermelon.

Here is one young girl with her tray of food, and Ann in the background.

It was great to go round all the tables meeting the young people and their leaders from the churches represented here. Many have been coming for several years and we have got to know them well.

Finally, to show that Ann is here with me one of her by the lake this evening.

Lots of love from Ann and me, and grateful to God and to many of our staff playing their part for getting the team here safe and sound ready for the Youth Camp to begin.




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