As I prepared the plane for the morning flight I noticed a lot more people working in the “garden” around the airport. Every little shrub had a man or woman apparently trimming or cutting, many on their knees in the grass. Upon closer inspection I noticed the many shed wings on the ground and twigged to the fact that everyone was collecting flying ants, or termites. There were thousands everywhere. People had bags and water bottles full of them. It was great fun. As I pre-flighted the plane I found them all over the windshield and tops of the wings, stuck in the remains of the rain from the night before which is what brings them out. Stuck on their backs in the water from the night before that brings them up out of the ground. ( Can’t believe I don’t have a picture but I left my camera at home.)
Termites are a wonderful food source. Very fatty. There have been times when we were driving at night in the rain and have run through a cloud of thousands of termites. Thinking we could just brush them away with the windshield wipers only succeeded in smashing them across the window as if we had taken a cube of butter and smeared it on. It was impossible to see and no amount of plain water would wash it off. If you fry them up in a pan they are buttery like popcorn and taste quite delicious. So on this morning our workers were picking them off the wings of the plane as they fueled it up for the day’s flights and plopping them in their mouths, wings and all, with great smiles on their faces at the quite literal windfall of free food.
It was just great to get in the plane again and pull away from earth into a puffy-clouded sky with 40 miles of visibility. I found myself saying “It’s a beautiful day at the office” to my front seat passenger, as is my habit. And it really was just wonderful to circle gently around the clouds to a clear skies. I love my job!
We were flying up to Faradje for Samaritan’s Purse, who are helping the local community with malaria prevention and its women & children affected by the LRA. They always do a great job and it is good to be assisting them with transportation.
Faradje is close to Garamba National Park and we often see lovely animals in the area.
UPDATE: Emmanuel De Merode is doing well and looking forward to coming back to Congo as soon as possible. We wish him good health and safety as he does.