Monday, August 01, 2005

Captain Sahara Sarah

The plane saga continued. I pulled up to the Airserv hangar in Goma, loving that I could just walk up to the plane and didnt even have to go through security. The pilot was the one I had flown with to Goma, who let me sit co-pilot. He was suprised to see me, and I explained how I'd failed to arrive with the WFP flight. We chatted and checked in on Kasongo and Kindu weather. The news wasnt good. We waited an hour until things had cleared up in Kasongo, our first stop, bu the sitch in Kindu was clouds and low weather. I decided I had nothing to lose, if anything else, I would end up back in Goma.

I climbed into the copilot seat and put on the headset and seatbelt. We took off and I said good-bye to Goma, my new favorite bordertown. Steven (pilot) and I had a lovely chat. He teaches aviation science and has started a class on humanitarian interventions. It was cool that he is making the bridge between aviation and humanitarian work...i never would have thought of it. He says he likes flying but also wants to be more involved in the humanitarian side. We breezed through the clouds and discussed his lesson plans. The flight was incredible, being in the front of the plane makes a huge difference. We circled the Kasongo strip, verified it was dry and unobstructed, and landed. The landings still make me nervous but I am almost over it.

We called kindu and found out it was RAINING. It's dry season, how is this possible? Rain?! We decided to give it a half hour but I was not optimistic. Ten minutes later I called my friend in Kindu (Miss 007) and she told me it was drizzling. We were both bummed I probably wouldnt make it back for the weekend. Low and behold, our prayers were answered. One half hour later the sun was out. Steven and I practically ran to the plane and headed to Kindu. The sky was white and cloudy up until we were to Kindu itself. Steven said that it was like the clouds opened for us, the weather could not have been any worse and still do-able. We landed.

I said my good-byes to Steven, who I will hopefully see next week when we charter a plane to Kasongo for our seed fairs. I took off the headset and headed into the airport.

That night, one of my friends who worked at the airport told me that he had received a call that there was an non-uniformed person in the cockpit of a plane that had landed. He looked out, saw me, and told his colleage to "disregard his observations."

Only in Kindu.


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