The Governor was ill and had to make a special trip to Aru for treatment across the border in Uganda so I had another trip tacked on to the end of my long day. As he loaded up with the usual fanfare, a storm was building to the west of the field and lightening flashed. The tower gave a warning of severe winds and thunderstorms building. Before I could take off I got a phone call from the guys at our Bunia airport office saying to stay there until I heard back from them as the strong winds, harsh rain and huge hailstones there had just taken out half of the big tree in front of the office and it had fallen up against the windows. Eventually we left Aru without incident.As I flew back I could hear lots of chatter from the MAF team talking on the radio, asking if everyone was alright. When I got over Bunia 20 minutes later the rivers were swollen, some vehicles under water and there were trees down everywhere. Cher called on the radio and said I should come home as soon as possible before all the hail melted because it was quite impressive. And now, the next morning, the hail has still not all melted! All the way home there were roofs off, trees down, the stream bed full of ice and mist and people gawking at the aftermath. I know this is nothing for someplace like Minnesota or Antarctica, but remembering that we are on the Equator in Africa it is all quite remarkable. When I got home everything was a shambles. All the vegetation was not only off the bushes but chopped into little pieces. All the bedding and garden plants were destroyed. The paint was chipped off the walls and there were big drifts of hail about 8 to 10 inches deep in places. Some of the hailstones were over 2 inches across. We were blessed that our solar panels were still in one piece and none of the windows on the cars shattered. Our previously “lush” garden is no more, but other people have no crop for the year. Our neighbor had his roofing rolled up into a ball. One of the nearby small shops was completely blown away. There is always someone worse off than you.
There was so much more in the day, but that will do for now. Count your blessing today! I am sure you can find many.