January – the whirlwind month!
On January 7th we learned we had been granted permission to re-enter the Solomon Islands on a repatriation flight. The Solomon Islands remains closed to regular commercial flights, so at the moment, these special flights are the only way to enter the country.
Then we learned the next flight was on February 7th from Auckland, New Zealand. There was no other word about if/when the next repatriation flight would be scheduled, so we decided to try and make it.
We made lists of things we had to do;
- fulfill requirements of Covid testing for the Solomon Islands
- fill out multiple forms for the Solomon Islands Government
- pack up our 3 bedroom house and store everything in a 2 car garage
- purchase items to take with us
- pack boxes to go in a shipment, help to purchase and pack up linens and baking pans and 10(!) cast iron skillets for our group houses in the Solomons, etc.
- prepare our house for rental and engage a real estate agent to handle the property
The weeks flew by and it felt like we were constantly in motion. The delivery trucks made regular stops at our house. Boxes were filled and carried off to storage along with our furniture. The house started emptying. Meanwhile we began getting tested for Covid as we needed 3 negative results in order to board the plane.
We never could have done it by ourselves. We are so very very grateful for the friends who helped pack boxes, carry furniture, run errands, bring meals and generally encouraged us along the way.
Tickets were purchased (at a much higher cost than usual) and we made reservations for a 3 week hotel stay for the required 3 weeks’ quarantine upon arrival in the Solomons. A special launch account was set up to give people a chance to contribute and in a short 3 weeks, the full amount was received. It was such an encouragement and blessing!
The last hurdle we had to ‘jump’ was a Covid test 24 hours before our departure. We found a lab that could provide results in 12 hours and took our test the morning of February 3rd. At about 9:00 pm that night, we received our negative results, clearing us for departure the next morning.
Some of you have followed our travels on our Facebook page, MatzkeMission, but we decided to start to blog our travel and quarantine adventures here. Each day we will try and share an update.