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Jay | Susan | Alex | Beth | Samantha
March 6, 2014 2:04 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

I have what could arguably called a very expensive, flying, solar oven.  At least, that’s how I used the airplane yesterday.

Yesterday I flew to Juba, picked up 8 people and took them to Boma, in South Sudan.  The passengers were three bishops, a couple pastors and two soldiers.  The soldiers seemed a little surprised when I asked them to clear their weapons.  They did so readily and without argument, they just seem surprised I knew to ask.

I gave my usual emergency briefing, please keep your seatbelts on throughout the flight; lift the latch to release the belt; four doors two in the back two in the front, lift the handles up to open the doors.  If you start to feel ill get the blue envelope from the seatback in front of you and very important, please use the white plastic bag from inside the envelope, the envelope is too small and not waterproof. There’s a fire extinguisher on my door.  Please no smoking during the flight or I’ll have to use the extinguisher on you.    I got the usual couple of laughs, particularly over the fire extinguisher.  The flight was routine…about an hour and a half at FL115, or eleven thousand five hundred feet above sea level.

The bishops and others went off to their meeting, peace talks of some sort to help bring some reconciliation to South Sudan. I waited with the airplane.  I opened all the doors, put the window shades in, and tried to stay cool.  Really hard when it’s 105F outside.  I put my lunch between the windscreen and the windscreen sun shade.  In about 45 minutes my beef stew wasn’t just warm it was HOT.  Great solar cooker up there.  A lot of times when we’re flying, even though it’s only about 45 F outside, we’re sweating in the cockpit. The windscreen acts like a greenhouse and we get baked.  So it was for my lunch today.

Later I was in the back of the plane, having an after-lunch nap in the open area behind the seats, when I heard a bit of commotion outside.  I looked up. They’re back!  My passengers had finished about a half hour early.  I jumped up and went out to greet them, and in short order we were on the way back to Juba.  This time at FL125, but even that wasn’t really high enough to get us into smooth air today.  We bumped and bounced all the way back to Juba. Fortunately there was a tailwind, so the trip was quick.

I’d like to make a comparison between South Sudan and flying…how it’s smooth in the cool of the morning and everything went well for the country in the first year of independence.  Then transitioning to now as the day heats up and the air gets bumpy, two years down from independence so is the situation in the country.  Instead of going into details of the analogy, I’ll just leave the thought there.  Along with the thought that there are men who are working to try and keep the country united. Three bishops from three different denominations left their comfortable places to go to the village of unfriendly tribes to make peace.  “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.” Matthew 5:9.

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