Thursday, July 30, 2009

The real deal: my first flying in Africa

So it came together pretty fast. Nate is a pilot that came just before we did, and has paved the way for getting through the Kenya licensing requirements. He needed a handful of hours before he could apply for his license. So a plan was devised. We needed to swap a Cessna 206 with one in Uganda. The 206 was rebuilt just last year, and is the "shipping container sister" to the plane I have been working on, and maintenance wanted more hours put on the plane. It has been sitting in our hangar because of regulatory issues here in Kenya (imagine!)

So this was a good chance to get some training done. The trip was longer than the hours Nate needed, so they invited me to come along. I will need 10 hours of recent flying to get my Kenya license, too.

We left on Isaiah's birthday (Tuesday) ... I know... I will make it up to him. We returned home today. We carried some mail, equipment, a nurse working in Lake Victoria and her mom from Germany coming to visit her, and also engine oil for the pilots based in Uganda. I saw Nate put some pictures up from the trip, so all apologies for borrowing those. I shot some video, which I will crunch together into something coherent hopefully!

The picture above is one of our first stops. The runway is right on the beach. Lake Victoria is more beautiful than I imagined.

The highlights were:
*Visiting the missionaries working at the lake and hearing about their work. The church is maturing there, and they are finding less focus needed for church planting. Most of the work is now medical related, with a big emphasis on HIV/AIDs. Approximately 8 out of 10 people around Lake Victoria are infected.

*Seeing friends I had met before. One was a nurse out there we went to Africa Based Orientation with, and also a family we met at homeschool week at RVA.

 *Meeting the other remote AIM-AIR pilots. We had a float plane accident shortly after our family arrived here. But the pilot in charge of work on the lake (Dale) was very optomistic about the future and a replacement float plane. A lot of people have come offering support. He loves to use aircraft and boats to reach the fisherman in the many cramped fishing camps around the lake.

*Being able to spend a day landing on that strip off the lake. Great practice and a great location.

* Spending some time fishing with Dale and his son Josh.

* Visiting Entebbe airport. Very nice facility. It was the location of hostage crisis during Idi Amin's rule over Uganda, but has been redone quite well.

* Flying again.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Happy 11th Olivia!

Can't believe my baby's 11...over a decade old! We love you and everyday we are blessed by you!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

DC3 in Sudan video

Here's a video I put together from my chance to be the flight attendant on the DC3 into Sudan. Unfortunately all the interesting stuff was when I was busy on duty, so I could not get it on video. I will share more soon...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Quick request for rain

We are out of our first rainy season of the year. For our neighborhood, we received a fair amount of rain, but the eastern section of Nairobi missed out on a lot. I have heard of a clinic across town that hasn't had water on in two months.

Up north the situation is more desperate. Sections of Kenya have missed rains for three years or longer. The lakes we flew over in the DC-3 were quite low. Our friends we stayed with in Kurungu drove down today and said it was very depressing to see dying animals along the side of the road. In Korr, which is in the heart of Rendille country up north, the churches have started a program to haul off and burn dead animals for people.

Please keep these needs in your hearts as you pray.

Pray for wisdom for us and other missionaries to wisely respond to the need. Churches in Nairobi are doing drought relief ministry mainly transporting food to areas nearby that have not had crops. Missionaries in places like Korr may have to make tough decisions about how much help they can afford to give, and there are times when good friends are lost because of hunger. I have heard that if there is not enough food to go around, the goats will be fed before the children because they are what is needed to sustain the family through the drought.

In His own words, Jesus said He came so that we "may have life, and have it to the full." He also declared Himself the living water. The Rendille picture heaven as a place where water flows over the ground, like a stream. Our hope is in line with Jesus' promise that the rains will come and life will flourish throughout East Africa, and the people will live full lives and find the One who is Living Water for their souls.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hitting the books and a Grace-ism

This is an excuse post... I have a lot I want to write about, but my free time is being consumed by studying for a Kenyan commercial pilot test. I am the next guy in line to take it, and the previous pilot has assured me it is quite rediculous. Questions about Polar Fronts, flying to Scandanavia... not much about flying in Africa. I think it will take about 160 hours of studying for me to have a chance of passing this thing.

I did go on a neat flight on the DC-3 as a third crew member ... the flight attendant. It was really interesting, and I want to share more when I finish condensing it so it doesn't ramble too long. I also edited a video I took when I wasn't buckling passengers in or unloading cargo.

I did want to leave you with a Grace-ism: We went to the animal orphanage today for our family time. It is a place where abandoned or wounded animals found in the game parks are taken in. There were quite a lot of cats, and in one cage two male lions were strutting right up agains the fence to the female pen, where the lionesses were sleeping on some logs looking the other way, completely uninterested.

Grace was at the fence watching, and when I got closer I heard her singing as the lions paced: "Hut two three four ... impress the women ... hut two three four ... impress the women."