I set the alarm for five am, but I never heard it. Maybe it was the ear plugs and my little noise machine, but it’s possible I didn’t set my iPhone alarm correctly since I’d never before used it as an alarm clock.
Reliable Keiko knocked on my door about 5:20. By six we were all hauling bags from our hallway to the van, and George drove us to Wilson Airport where we waited for the two Pauls from AIM Air’s freight department. Now we would learn whether we could take all our luggage and supplies to Duk on the flight with us, or whether we will be leaving some behind for the flight that would return for Rygo, Vika, and Keiko on May 27. The Caravan is limited to 1050 kg or about 2200 lbs. Without Michele and her bag, we had a little more room for cargo. Though we would have rather brought Michele.
I weigh and mark every bag and tote with contents, weights and priority. On this trip, our personal bags and equipment are all priority one as are the three large camping tents (from which the packing cardboard has been removed and replaced with donated underwear that we distribute to girls in the village to help keep them in school). Bags with lanterns, batteries, flashlights, and snacks like protein bars, licorice and peanut M&Ms are also high priority.
Priority two are things we’d like to have but could wait for – extra blankets, pillows, towels. And lastly – the extra underwear, sanitary pads, books, and other things that are needed for our school but it isn’t necessary for us to be there when they are received.
I didn’t believe it would be possible, but we managed to load all of it along with the electrical supplies. Some of our girls will have to double up for a week because we had to leave the bunk beds – they wouldn’t fit on the plane with the supplies. And our pilot, Rheiny, will offload some extra seats in Lokichoggio when we stop to refuel. He’ll need them for passengers in the morning out of Loki.
Our goal for the flight coming the 27th to pick up Keiko, Rygo, and Vika will be to bring the beds and our solar power system. ASAH’s marathon team, the Sunshine Runners – set up a CrowdRise fundraiser for our solar power system. Even though the marathon is over, any extra raised will go to the cost of transporting and installing that system. Solar power will reduce our reliance on costly fuel and pollution for the generator and enable our students to study and read during the evenings (it gets dark early year-round) as well as make our compound safer at night.
A quick stop in Lokichoggio to refuel, use the bathroom (it was clean!) and a Coca Cola. Then a short flight to Kapoeta to go through immigration. In the past we’ve been required to go to Juba for this. Juba requires more flying time – it is farther South than Duk Payuel, it has high landing fees, and it can be a real hassle to get through immigration due to the crowds and inefficient and inconsistent bureaucracy.
May 20, 2013
Empowering Orphaned Girls