13 Mar 2005
After the rejection of my visa application by the French consulate in Douala, I went to SAGA (traveling agency) and changed my route to India. Kenya Airways was chosen because its flight schedule was to Place me in Mumbai a day after the other 39 members of my group had arrived there. The four-hour flight from Douala to Nairobi began at midnight of the 8th March and we reached Nairobi at 6 a.m Kenya time (4 a.m Cameroon time).
Announcements on board of Kenya airways are usually done in Swahili and English. Information gathered from msafiri (the magazine for the Airlines) indicates that the company is performing well with her fleet of 17 aircrafts. The flight to Nairobi was very smooth. My connecting flight to Mumbai was scheduled at 10.30 pm (Kenya time) fully 14 hours from the time I arrived. One would have taken the waiting time for sight-seeing in Nairobi but I had been informed back in Cameroon that the Kenyan authorities would not allow Cameroonians and Nigerians on transit to leave the airport. Citizens of these two countries are viewed with suspicion because of previous activities of fraudsters.
The Jomo Kenyatta International airport is modern, cleaner, bigger and more organized than the Douala airport. Flight announcements are clearly audible compared to the rambling inaudible echoes one gets as announcement at Douala airport. At the waiting lounge I met a couple of Cameroonians mostly traders on transit to and from Dubai. Everyone to whom I spoke was full of lamentations for the plight and future of Cameroon based on their knowledge of the evolution of things in other countries.
I boarded one of Kenya Airways Boeing aircraft with sitting capacity over 200 for Mumbai in the night of 9th March. Most of the passengers on board were Indians and I could only count five black people on that flight. After five and a half hours of continuous flying over the sea, we landed at Bombay International airport at 5.30 am (Mumbai time). When we walked out of the plane, I had the feeling the air I was breathing was a little bit heavier. A waiting taxi took me to the hotel that my colleagues were lodging for a reunion. When asked by my colleagues how I made my way to Mumbai, my reply was “You came by the highway, but I took a short cut through the jungle”.
Copyright 2005 by Njei Moses Timah
Njei Moses Timah [e-mail]