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Jay | Susan | Alex | Beth | Samantha
May 25, 2009 2:05 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

My airplane (well, AIM Air’s airplane) wasn’t ready to end its vacation yet, so we go up to Loki early early Tuesday morning.  During the inspection the maintenance techs found some significant cracks in the exhaust, and went to change it.  No problem…until they tightned the nuts holding the new exhaust stack on.  Three of the studs spun.  Sigh.  So, we called off  the flight until early early tomorrow.  So…we came home, after a detour by the grocery store to get ice cream.  So we’ll watch a movie on the DVD player, have some spaghetti, eat some ice cream, and go north tomorrow morning early.  I can handle another day of vacation, now that I think about it.

May 24, 2009 3:37 am
Published in: Uncategorized

This past week we were in Kijabe for home school week.  Alex and Beth took the standardized tests, Samantha got to run around with the kindergarten class and Susan and I got to have some time off.  We stayed with the Paszalecks, who we came over to Kenya with back in 2007.  All in all, a very nice mini-vacation.

But…back at it. Monday we fly up to Lokichogio.  I’ll drop off Susan and the kids, pick up two people and some freight and take them to Boma, and probably stay the night.  The next day, I come back to Loki, pick up one person and more freight and go to a bunch of places…over eight hours in the air on Tuesday.  Then Wednesday is 6+ hours, and Thursday a mere 3.

Sometimes on the flights the passengers will talk about what they’re doing in these places.  Sometimes, they don’t want to wear a headset (they can be uncomfortable), which makes talking rather difficult.  It’s more like shouting than talking…the airplanes are very loud.  Usually when my passengers talk about the work they’re doing they talk about the people they work with.  Which is inevitable since those people are what the work is about.  And in the end the work is about making disciples of Jesus  Christ.  It’s occaisionally hard to see the connection between hauling 100 kg of rice and beans, a new tire, angle iron, and making disciples.  The connection is there, though.  My job is to support missionaries in difficult to reach places and get them the tools and supplies they need to live and work in remote locations.  And I’m very grateful they’re there.  I don’t begin to have the patience to do what they do.

As an aside, but related.  When we parked in front of Station Hall at Kijabe to register for home school week (we had the hangar’s ancient Toyota Corolla) we were one of a dozen cars parked there.  (Home school week is very popular…there were missionary families from 7 countries attending, and something like 50 kids.)  Anyway, of those dozen cars, we were the only car. The rest were Rover Defenders or Toyota Landcruisers.  One family we knew (from our time in Gatab), the Andersons, drove two days from Kalacha, over horrible roads.  I missed our Landcruiser.  The roads on Kijabe station aren’t all that great…we kept bottoming out the suspension and scraping the frame on the Corolla.  I hope such vehicles are still made ten years from now.  We’ll still need them.  It takes time to make disciples.

May 13, 2009 2:03 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

Two overnights later…. Last FridayI took some folks to Boma, about an hour’s flight north of Lokichogio, and stayed the night.  We were in the Across compound there, and actually had a rather nice room.

Last night I was in Rom, way way north in South Sudan, and stayed in a grass hut.  I also had my first taste of Sudanese coffee.  I think it’s more sugar than coffee. It was good, but very very sweet.  I spent about an hour working on our host’s generator, and got it running.  The spark plug had fouled and wasn’t sparking.  Cleaning it with some fine wire and bits of straw took a while but it was effective.  Dinner was rice and nile perch, right from the Nile, which was about 1/2 mile away.

It was a big day for the folks in Rom.  They’re celebrating the opening of a health clinic…a little two room concrete block building.  It’s the first permanant building there in 35 years.  Also, they celebrated the airplane landing.  Last year they had a medical team come in and suggest that if they had their own airstrip, it wouldn’t be such a chore to do medical clinics.  The other runway is about 4 miles away, and you have to cross a tributary of the Nile.  So…Thomas, our host, got the people to clear a runway.  It’s about 600m and rough, but usable.  I suggested they lengthen it and smooth it some, which they will work on.  But I was the first to use the runway. The people of the village were VERY pleased to see it used, and Thomas’ stock with the village has increased dramatically.  Both projects were done completely by the people of the village…it’s really encouraging to see them accomplish a project, however modest, without having to have westerners come and run it.

May 11, 2009 4:08 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

Just a few bits about our new digs. First, we live in a container.front-of-loki-house Well, not really. The house is made from 20′ shipping containers, which you can see from outside the house.  Inside, though the house looks like a house.  loki-kitchenloki-living-room

Of course, driving around here isn’t like driving around well, anywhere else. We had a thunderstorm today, which made the roads rather, well, sloppy.


May 1, 2009 5:53 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

At least that’s what I once thought.  Flying from Lokichogio has convinced me that short can be long, and long can be short.  In Gatab, a long flight was an hour (Gatab to Wamba).  Here, at Loki, a short flight is an hour.  A long flight is from Loki to Doro with stops and Yabus and Chotbora on the way home.  That was over three hours to Doro, fifteen minutes to Yabus a half hour to Chotbora and then three hours home.  Umm, long is still long.  It’s just longer now.  Yesterday’s flight also required me to fully fill the airplane’s main and aux fuel tanks and take two jerry cans of fuel along.  Over 480 liters of fuel…nearly 2 1/2 drums.

The flight to Yabus from Doro, though, explains it.  During the rainy season, you just can’t get from one place to the other. The road is over black cotton soil which turns to the worst sort of goo you’ve ever seen when it gets wet.  Even the airplanes get stuck on the runways from time to time, and we start every flight with calling our destination and asking, ‘Has it rained there? How hard, how long?’

Also, today, on another note we stepped back in time. Remember being taught in school that Roman soldiers used to be partially payed in salt?  Today I was asked to buy 20 liters of cooking oil and 2 boxes of bar soap for Pastor William in Nagashot.  The cooking oil made sense…it’s hard to get supplies up there. But two BOXES of soap? That’s about 50 pounds worth!  Then I found out that they use the soap to pay their workers there. Money does them no good…where do you spend it? There are no stores, and no way to get to a store.  You can’t drive to Nagashot.  You either fly or you walk 8 hours to the nearest town by the road.  They also sometimes pay in salt.  Jon Hildebrandt was telling me that they used to load the C-206 up with 200kg of salt and 200kg of soap and fly out to Nagashot…pay for the workers helping build the mission compound.