BACK TO THE BUSH: A Day of Adventures!

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Journal date: 3-7-2013

   Our friend George, the logistics coordinator working with my son’s team, needed a ride to the airstrip. My son, daughter-in-law, grandson, co-teacher friend and George piled into the vehicle and off we went. 
   Motivated by hunger, we stopped along the way at a run down restaurant. Actually, every thing built here looks run down. But I think it has to do more with the type of available materials when the building is built than things wearing out over time. With no building codes to be bothered with, one just puts a building together with whatever materials they have.
   Tasty potatoes slightly seasoned, alongside tender beef, and chipoteh (goodness, at the moment I can’t remember what that was. But not the deliciousness of the main dish) was the general fare. Meat and potatoes are always sure to please, even back in the States!
At the restaurant

At the restaurant!

   As we drove to the airstrip (can’t really call it anything else, no buildings you see) we saw a group of people parading in celebration of “The International Day of the Woman.” Made up of mostly Jia’s (people group, identified by the platted bangs and patterned markings on their foreheads. We were told they were of a fierce nature. But all decked out in their pleated plaid skirts and chanting in unison a very African sounding euphony, they didn’t look fierce to me at all! But intimidating? oh yeah! 
A young lady from Jia people group.

A young lady from Jia people group.

    Our final adventure of the day was in arriving at the airstrip. We all tumbled out of the truck and, as always, immediately drew a crowd. I never did get use to that! If I lived in this land long enough, I am sure I would. But given my bent to shy away from being the center of attention, it probably would take quite a long while for me to adjust.
   Airports in these bush areas can only be described as an airstrip. No security checks, no baggage checks, no tarmacs, no hustle and bustle of people’s goings and comings, no air traffic control towers guiding the multiple planes in their landings and take-offs. You just drive up close to the airstrip (made of firmly packed dirt) and wait until you see the plane drop out of the sky. The pilot knows you are there and thank God for that. (Of course, before you set out, someone calls the aviation company you are flying with to book your flight. That’s about as close to modern day flying as you can get!)
   Eventually, the plane arrived and my son helped George get his luggage on board. We said good-by and watched as the plane took off (only a few feet from us) and disappeared into the sky. You really get up close and personal with the flight experience here.
  We closed out this day of adventure and headed home. Can’t really compare traveling back home to traveling here in this part of Africa. But each has it’s appeal!
Airport? Yep, dirt runway and 1 plane!

Airport? Yep, dirt runway and 1 plane!

Waiting on the plane!

Waiting on the plane!


BACK TO THE BUSH: Unconventional Prayers!

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Airport? Yep, dirt runway and 1 plane!

Airport in the Bush: No buildings, dirt runway, one plane!

     Living in the bush is nothing, and I mean nothing, like the life I live here at home. I want you to think of going to the airport to pick up someone. Images such as driving down a smooth highway in rather heavy traffic, making a mad dash to the airport so you get there before the plane lands, pulling into the airport with planes taking off and landing overhead, air traffic control towers positioned strategically near the asphalt covered runways, or entering the multi-leveled terminals perhaps come to mind. Now, discard almost every one of them. 

February 22,2013

     On this particular morning, I was given the opportunity to ride with my son to the airstrip (notice I didn’t say airport) to pick up a couple from their mission organization, who were making a routine visit to see how well the missionaries in their charge were faring. 

     By the time it was decided that my son and I were to leave it was 8:52 a.m. and this couple was to arrive at 9:30. It typically took a minimum of 45 minutes to make such a trip.  You do the math! This was the familiar part of the experience–making a mad dash to the airport to arrive before the plane landed! 

    We needed to navigate the route as quickly as possible and for a very good reason–if the plane arrived before we did this dear couple would have to wait for us. Not a good idea!  For you see, unlike our airports, there were NO buildings where they could wait. It would be a matter of standing out in the open, on this lonely little strip of dirt!

    At the outset of the trip, I began praying. Roads there are pitted with holes of all depths and sizes, so my son’s daunting task was to dodge these potholes as speedily as possible.  My task was to keep my eyes glued to the road and warn him of the potholes and bumps ahead. 

     At one point, I failed to warn my son in time about a dip in the road ahead (we were in rather a hurry, you see) and the land rover went airborne. You know, I had always wondered what it might have been like for those Duke boys when the General Lee catapulted into the air! Well, now I knew!

     And just as we turned onto the road that led to the airstrip, my son saw the plane high up in the sky just beginning to make its descent. We high 5’d each other and shouted with relief! (Just like the Duke boys!) I thanked God (for the sake of the couple we were meeting) for understanding and mercifully seeing fit to  answer the rather unconventional prayers this not so typical mom of a missionary had been praying!

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