My focus is often on what isn’t here. On what we need, and how we can get it. Upon our arrival here on January fourth, I was more than disappointed that much of our cargo was left behind in Nairobi. The precious cargo I had packed over and over again to distribute weights and protect fragile items sat in the AIM Air hanger – my priority 1 bags alongside those marked priority 2 and 3. Of course they had been rescheduled to travel on the plane that will pick us up on Feb 4 which is in time to put them into use, but too late for me to see the clothing and educational materials distributed to our students, and too late for Jean to see them enjoy the books and toys and other items she brought from Colorado. Even when we mentally prepare for such disappointments, it’s disappointing.
Sometimes AIM Air is flying in the area. Sometimes they have room on someone else’s flight that can be diverted. And we have the miracle of email here. So AIM arranged for all our remaining cargo and some of our timbers left in their freight office since last July to join another group’s flight that picked me up. It was to arrive a week after we originally touched down here, the same weekend we were planning to go to Juba.
I asked if there was any possibility that plane could pick up Jean, me, Dau, and Manyok, and drop us in Juba. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available for that, which meant we were back to arranging the long treacherous road travel.
On Friday morning, the day before we to leave, AIM’s scheduler emailed that there was a plane in the area that could divert if we could be ready in an hour. I wrote back “yes,” and we raced back to our compound. Jean and I threw our things together in my large suitcase. Dau and Manyok had very modest size bags. I don’t know how they manage their clean and pressed look. I can’t do it.
We headed to the airstrip. Rebecca, our cook, carried my HUGE red suitcase, which probably weighed 40 lbs, on her head, stopping only once during the 25-minute walk to rest. I don’t even have a picture.
This is Africa, however, and of course that plane didn’t arrive. One must temper one’s expectations. After waiting some time, Jean and I walked to the clinic where we learned there was another one in the area – the plane dropping off our friend Moses Joknhial from Sioux Falls, SD in Pajut. Two hours later, we were off to Juba by air – a little over an hour by air. Ten hours by road.
I am reminded, that I have more than I need. Life’s essentials are far more modest than what my life has allowed me to expect. People here consider themselves fortunate if they have soap for bathing and washing clothes. Not essential, but nice to have.
Deb Dawson, January 31, 2013.
- TIA: This is Africa (asahinsudan.wordpress.com)