Captain’s Log-17 April 2011-Last Go-round Congo for a While

Medair Girl unloads the cargo at the station-No Arms On Board

The only thing that is for sure is that things will change.  And today was a great example of that.  The ASF plane broke down in Isiro so I was asked to go to Kisangani to pick up an engineer and bring him to repair it.  To make that trip more efficient we got a load of supplies for the Medair team in Ango lined up to fill the plane on the way.  But then the governor’s people called and said they would be flying with us to Aru in the morning and how could we refuse that?  Then the ASF guys canceled. So we still had Medair and the government people.  This was for Saturday and we try not to fly on weekends if it is not an emergency.  But there you go.  So there I went.

Governors group on the way to Aru

I was happy to fly as time is getting close to our departure and since the rains have started all the smoke is out of the air and it is gorgeous out.

Arthur sitting on top of his soccer ball

We got 10 passengers loaded up and took off with the governor’s people a bit late for Aru, because you can do that if you are important enough.  After dropping them off I loaded up 4 drums of Avgas and 10 jerry cans to help relieve the shortage we have in Bunia, returned there and loaded the plane for Ango.   We had to stop in Isiro to pick up one passenger and, since he was late coming, I went over to play with Arthur, the little male chimp that the Bangladeshi UN soldiers have as a pet there.  He started jumping up and down with his hands in the air when he saw me coming.  He loves me and is a pleasure to play with.  He now has his own soccer ball which he sits on, looking like a mini version of King Kong on the Empire State Building. We carried on with our load to Ango and were met happily by the team there.  It is always fun to bring the supplies people are waiting for in the remote places where I fly.  African Sleeping Sickness is wide spread in that area and work is going forward to fight this disease by a number of humanitarian groups.

New California Girl-Cortney Brandt-checking out the plane after pizza and Coke

I unloaded the plane and headed into the village for a bite to eat while one of the guys I was taking back to Bunia gave an HF installation checkout to a couple of people who hadn’t a clue about doing the job but were excited to get involved.  At the Medair digs I was offered lunch.  The standard fare is beans and rice, so when I offered the girl that was showing me around a piece of pizza that Cher had made last night she was very excited.  When we got back to the plane, Courtney, who is the new American girl working in Ango, asked how lunch was commenting, “It is always beans and rice but it is good fuel”. I said very nice thanks.  I asked if she would rather have pizza today and she made some comment like “That’s a funny but mean joke here.  I would kill for pizza right now.”  I said I actually had one piece of pizza in my bag.  She was very excited and thought it was wonderful.  Mozzarella cheese and even a Coke!  Cher is a very good cook!  It is always nice to make someone’s day.

We got out of Ango minutes before a storm and followed a line of afternoon thunderstorms all the way back to Bunia.  It is just wonderful to have the mix of dark clouds with flashes of lightening mixed with sunshine and 50 mile visibility.  Options.  I love them.  We dodged our way home under the huge buildups of clouds.

Another lovely day at the office.

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7 Responses to Captain’s Log-17 April 2011-Last Go-round Congo for a While

  1. steve says:

    We dodged our way home under the huge buildups of clouds.

    pure class writing

  2. courtney says:

    I repaid the favor 🙂

  3. Paul says:

    A great read Jon. how true, you can always guarantee change in some way, shape or form. I have spent quite a bit of time in DRC in the last year, had 3 visits, my last to Kisangani which was my second visit. I have fallen in love with the place and the people and can’t wait to get back there. I have been instructing on radios provided to the FARDC by the UN to help with peacekeeping missions elsewhere in the country. I really hope to get back soon but probably it will have to wait until after the elections in November. I am off to Tanzania/Kenya for a month with the family next week so Africa is really difficult to shake from my system, I love it, I love the people and wish for a happy and prosperous future for them.I was very saddened to hear the tragic news of the Hewa Bora flight coming down at Kisangani a couple of weeks back, what awfully sad news. Take care, safe flying. Kind regards
    Paul White

    • jcadd says:

      Hey Paul,
      Thanks for writing in. It was very sad about the Hewa Bora crash. It is too common a thing in Congo I am afraid. We really work at good maintenance, pilot training and everything we can do to operate safely. It is a challenging environment but worth all the work. I look forward to meeting you on a future visit. Cheers for now. Jon

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