Friday, June 10, 2011


The morning comes too soon; I still don't feel good, and I have another full day of flying.  My first stop is in Banda for Samaritan's Purse.  It takes 2 hours to get there in the "slow" plane, but I've got 30 minutes of margin in my day.  As long as I keep things moving, I should arrive back in Bunia before the airport closes.  After dropping off one Sam's Purse passenger and a few boxes, I'm off for Faradje with another Sam's Purse passenger.

This is the same route I did a few weeks ago when I saw elephants and water buffalo.  I descend as we enter the park and keep a look out, but nothing yet.  Then my passenger points to a herd of buffalo and I spot some antelope grazing on the grass.  We spot several elephants along the way too.  One of these days I'll remember to have my camera with me so I can take some photos for you!

Faradje goes quickly as well, and after 10 minutes I'm off for Todro.  I've been here two times before, and they were both interesting experiences.  The airstrip slopes up 1 degree to the south and has some side slope to the right in the landing area.  It then flattens out towards the middle and slopes to the left at the other end.  It's not too terribly short for landing, but there's almost always a tailwind on takeoff.

As I circle overhead, I notice they've cut the grass down that I barely missed last time on the extended centerline.  The rest of my cargo will stay here, and after I get everything out of the plane, a man approaches me and asks if I can stay for some lunch and visit with them for a while.  I decline.  Unfortunately, I just don't have the time.  He hands me a bag and asks if I can take it.  At first I don't want to, but he insists and says it's for me.  Inside is roasted chicken, a huge loaf of bread and a container of honey...I guess they had prepared a whole meal ahead of time, hoping I'd stay with them.  I want to, but I just can't.

The man tells me to keep the food for the rest of my journey and asks the Lord's blessing on my work and my family.  I thank him again, and I'm off for Dungu.  Being 1:30pm, I dig into the bread, and it is the best bread I have ever eaten.  They must add honey to the dough, and it is so good!

In Dungu, I refuel and load 4 passengers for Bunia.  Our caravan is there at the same time, loading, unloading, and re-fueling.  On the way home, I stay low, hoping for better winds in my favor, but no such luck.  I sit back, relax, and crack open some more bread. 

In Bunia, I give the chicken to our national staff.  I figure I should be a blessing to others, like the folks in Todro were to me.  In any case, I'm sure glad it's Friday, I need a break!

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