On Monday afternoon, I took a 16-hour Greyhound Bus trip to Washington DC to attend Bread for the World's Annual Lobby Day. I made it to the conference ontime Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, I was recognized by a conference leader for biggest sacrifice or something of the sort.
The idea of going by bus came to me while watching the Today's Show about a month ago. Everyone was lamenting the cost of vacations over Memorial Day weekend and the summer. Four dollar a gallon gas was forthcoming. They stated that bus and train trips were an alternative to costly airfares and driving. So, I decided I would try the bus or train again after over 40 years. I chose the bus due to its more convenient schedule. Also, it was cheaper in cost.
At the end of the conference, it finally hit me. No, it was not the fatigue or sacrifice, but the blessing of living in the US. I was reflecting on the purpose of conference. I had come to gather support for the Global Poverty Act and a $5 billion increase in the Poverty Focused Development Accounts for 2009.
I had travel options on getting to Washington: drive, air, bus, or train. In the Congo, millions of poor people do not have an option. They must walk or they maybe fortunate enough to ride a bicycle.
I remember a man who rode his bike from Kananga to Bulape and back to Kananga, a round trip of 300 HARD miles. All the trips including his visits were done in a matter of 2-3 weeks while were there. There are no buses. The train is overcrowded and runs on an irregular schedule. And there is no scheduled air service.
I also remember it took us 17 hours by a 4-wheel drive Toyota Landcruiser to go the 150 miles from Kananga to Bulape. That was the trip I will always remember.