Travelling during the Global Pandemic (preparation)

This is a journal of my preparation leading to the Kenya Airways (KQ) Charter flight Paris – Nairobi for July 8th

Thursday June 25th

This is almost 2 months later from my initial departure date in May. My contract had long ended in April but fortunately the French Govt extended my contract alongside other language assistants who were still stranded in the French territory. Our contracts were extended with full pay till June.

This day also marked a week of not having WiFi in the house so I had just been using my mobile data and on this day is when it decided to hang its boots.  Fortunately, I had just received the message from the Kenyan Embassy in France talking about the charter flight sent for Kenyan citizens and residents in France. That was it; I couldn’t access any further details

Buying data again was just another story but before we get into that, on Friday the following day I decided to go use the free Wi-Fi at McDonalds (ha-ha I was that person). At this point it hadn’t hit me that I should do my best to head home with the charter flight until I saw my landlady’s message asking if I could move out by 10th of July since she doesn’t rent the place in July and August, plus I was also tired of always reminding her that flights aren’t allowed in Kenya yet.

I spent the weekend trying to get data without success. Buying data for even a week is impossible the least they can do is a 12 month subscription. I had to return the following Monday with even more documentation just to be assisted.

Monday June 29th

I went to Air Caraïbe offices which was a good amount of walking from my house. Since my return flight with them was canceled in May, I just wanted them to change the dates for me for the 6th July…on reaching; the security informs me that flight matters are handled at the airport. My face dropped. I didn’t even know how to get there, didn’t even know which bus to take, all I knew was, it was 9 minutes away from where I lived.

But then I had a bunch of other things to do, the guy was like “finish them and go, they open all day ha-ha”

I finished up my errands and found my way to the airport, only for the airline attendant to tell me they can’t change my ticket because I had booked it via an agency and I needed to get back to them to make the changes. After calling myself to a meeting I decided to just buy a fresh ticket because honestly I wasn’t going to put my hopes in the agency again. It just made more sense to me to deal directly with the airline plus it was cheaper and I was already at the airport and luckily I had the money.

To catch up on my agency experience;    https://addikahbelinda.wordpress.com/2019/10/21/first-day-in-paris-on-transit-to-guadeloupe/

Booked a flight to France and that was checked off my to do list.

I confirmed details for the Covid test since the centre was at the airport and a Coved free certificate was a mandatory requirement for the KQ flight. (Booked flight details for the charter flight and a signed agreement form to quarantine in the facilities given at one’s own cost were among the documents needed by 6th)

Two of the medical staff present told me two different things…one was like come with your booked flight since I didn’t have a doctor’s prescription (I still don’t understand why one had to have a doctor’s prescription to get the test…French people sometimes smh) the other said I needed to get an appointment with them online prior to my coming.

I just decided I’ll just show up with all documents that indicate my reason for traveling on Wednesday.

Tuesday 

Stayed in and tried filling out the forms online requesting for an appointment. I called the number given on the site and the receiver refers me to another test centre saying the airport was already full with appointments. Aaah I decided kama mbaya mbaya, because time was running out. I just decided on Wednesday early in the morning I’ll present myself at the test center at the airport.

Wednesday 

As planned I woke up for the airport. I was there around 10 am since I had a few stops to make. Lo and behold the place was locked!! I didn’t panic at first since I was there on Monday and they opened at 2pm but just to be safe I started inquiring. No one at the airport not even the customer care/information desk knew what time the testing centre was opening weeh.

I decided to call the other test centre just to try my luck and see if I could get an appointment. They set me up for Friday and I am thinking that’s late since that would be 3rd I don’t know if the weekend counted as part of the 2 days that one had to wait for the results to come out. But then the charter flight needed us to send in our flight details and Covid certificate by 6th eh and this maths wasn’t adding up. So the medic assures me that I will get the results the following day 4th which was on a Saturday.

So the appointment is set but she required me to have a doctor’s prescription too, rolls eyes. I decided to wait till afternoon to see if I’ll get tested because hey that’s what I had come for anyway. It’s now like 3hrs before 2pm. Guys I did everything and anything to kill time. I literally picked all the magazines in the airport and read them.

It was finally time and guess what I was served without having had any appointment nor a doctor’s prescription and paid zero bob. The medic only asked for my departure ticket from Guadeloupe and my medical card (carte vitale).

The whole thing took less than 10minutes and I was out, however it ended in tears.

The test is less than a minute thing but weee the pain, I just cried. So first he inserted the long stick with a very soft brush on the end ( looks like q-tips)  on my right nostril I can’t even explain the amount of pain I felt…he just gave me a few seconds to cry before trying it on my left nostril.

More tears guys, he takes out the thing and says “I just did the bare minimum; I didn’t go all the way”.

I had earlier intended to still go for the appointment I had booked on Friday but after the horror I went through, can’t be me again.

Some people have had worse experience with after effects of a mild headache later in the night.

Thursday 

My main goal for the day was to go to the bank and deposit some money into my account so I could book the charter flight. Thing is I have been withdrawing money from my account in the event that I’m to leave the island I wouldn’t have to go to the bank to take out a huge sum. Plus our pay for June had delayed.

Next up was to print the travel documents especially so I could fill out the quarantine form. People were shocked that I was looking for a printing place ha-ha everyone I asked didn’t know of a printing place that existed. (Nilikumbuka vile town – Nairobi nikama 1 million). In the shopping center only one stall had it and apparently it’s been broken this whole week. I kept on going back this whole week in the hope that it would have been fixed. Weeiiyaa

I tried calling the other Covid testing centre to cancel Friday’s appointment but no one picked. I figured I’ll wait till morning or better yet if they call to ask I’ll say I tried reaching them.

Friday

I finally got somewhere to print!! I also spent the better part of the morning catching up with Russell, a very good friend and I also made 2 new friends.

WhatsApp Image 2020-07-03 at 20.38.30

Later that evening I decide to check for my Covid results online. The code I was given wasn’t going through. I manage to call the facility in charge and I’m told to call the next day at 7am. At this point I’m still not even panicking.

So Saturday comes and I call the number but it goes straight to voice mail. I’m like what’s this now. My only option left is to call the number early Monday morning or just go to the lab itself in person.

I spend the rest of the weekend doing final shopping and packing. I even went for a hike to the waterfall on Sunday at the Chutes du Gallion,

 

however up to Sunday the money I deposited in my account hasn’t reflected plus I still wasn’t paid for June luckily my amazing colleague helped me sort it out. I pay for the charter flight on Sunday evening.

Stay tuned to find out how my flight went… 🙂

 

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8 Comments

  1. Wamboi Seth July 31, 2020 at 9:13 am

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas si I just sent you be traveling on my behalf 😊💛. Je’taime

    Reply
  2. Jeremih July 31, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Mama si ukona nguvu … honestly if I was in your shoes I would have given up Waah 😩

    Reply
      1. Evelyne Kioko July 31, 2020 at 1:08 pm

        Waaah the strength you have is just on point.
        Go girl 🥳🥳🥳🥳😘

        Reply
        1. Belinda Addikah July 31, 2020 at 2:02 pm

          Much appreciated 😌!! ❤️ Thank you for reading..

          Reply
  3. Simeon Onderi August 10, 2020 at 12:49 am

    You have made travelling a whole new series…so interesting i can tell you…..remember when you said stay tuned???we aint going no where….so keep em coming….

    Reply

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