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Saturday, April 19, 2014


On Thursday I got the chance to do a "Ride-a-Long" to observe a typical MAF flight day here with MAF Uganda.  I accompanied MAF pilot, Dallas, on a day that took us on a few stops up through Uganda and into South Sudan and back.

After meeting at the MAF office in Kampala and then driving out to the hangar in Kajjansi, the first thing was to go over loading stuff and paperwork with the local MAF staff there.  I'm sure I'll come to greatly appreciate all the great work and effort these guys put into the operation.

Then it was time to preflight and fuel the aircraft.  This is an MAF-owned strip so it's all MAF staff doing the fueling, runway upkeep, everything.  Again, they seem to do a great job!

Nearby, another MAF Uganda pilot, Rembrand, was pre-flighting the Cessna 206.

Here's one of the strips we landed at during the day.  Uganda only has three paved airstrips, and I'm sure South Sudan is similar.  So most of the strips are some form of dirt or gravel or grass.

And here was one of our cute little passengers--the little girl, not Dallas.  They were on their way up to South Sudan, but there were several stops along the way, so they got in and out to stretch a few times, and take care of immigration concerns before leaving Uganda.

Here we are somewhere up in South Sudan.  MAF Uganda flies primarily ministry and NGO staff, so almost everyone on the aircraft is going or coming from somewhere where they were/are doing something significant to help the local people and share the love of Christ.

Twice we had to add some JetFuel along the way at one of the strips where MAF keeps a stockpile.  There's always someone with a big smile ready to help.

Here's a very typical village scene throughout Northern Uganda and South Sudan.

And here's a typical scene over the Northeastern part of East DRC.

The leg back from South Sudan to Entebbe, Uganda was much longer than anything I typically flew in Kalimantan.  After about 2.7 hours we landed in Entebbe in the late afternoon where our passengers could clear immigration and catch connecting flights.  Then we hopped the 5 minutes back over to Kajjansi where MAF's little airstrip is.  Here's a view out over Lake Victoria to the South, which is gorgeous from the air, but rarely seen from the road we travel.  This is right near the MAF Kajjansi airfield.

And here we are back at MAF's home strip.  MAF's hangar is down at the far end.  The other airplanes and little hangars you see are private operators and flying clubs that use the field as well.

After doing post-flight and more paperwork, we drove the hour or so back to the office in Kampala.  Traffic was very heavy, as the long Easter weekend was starting, so we took some "short-cut" roads.  I should have taken some pictures of that, but I was hanging on with both hands.  I'm telling you, the roads here are pretty crazy and many of them would be almost certainly impassable without 4WD.  I'll get some good shots of those sometime so you can appreciate them better.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Home Sweet Home

We made it--home sweet home!  Uganda.  Here's an iPhone shot right out our bedroom window this morning.  The African sunrises are amazing, and many nights we're treated to spectacular lighting shows as well.  We're blessed with a great view and a beautiful, big, grassy yard here, with lots of song birds and butterflies everywhere.

Thanks for your prayers for our travels.  Everything went well, and all our bags arrived with us. :-)   A few of our duffels were torn pretty good from who knows what, but the contents were all in-tact. We were greeted on this end by a great MAF team who've all gone the extra mile to make our transition as seamless as possible.  We feel loved and blessed in so many ways!

Of course, there's SO much to learn, and we often feel like we're drinking from a fire hose as we try learn everything about life here.   Like the roads for example.  As we took the kids to school for their first day, we had to help a few cars get un-stuck on the road just below our house.  We're extremely grateful that our friends, the Rogers, have allowed us to borrow their vehicle for a month or two until they get back from home assignment.  In the meantime, we're going to have to find and buy a used, 4WD vehicle of our own.  We appreciate your prayers in this regard--a good, old, 4WD vehicle is very expensive here, and we trust that God will provide just the right one for us in His timing.  (Incidentally, this was the "good" road compared to several other options that are steeper and much more deeply rutted.)

The people are beautiful here, and so friendly.  In time, I'm sure I'll have some great photos to share with you, both of the people and everything else.  However, I haven't even had a chance to get out my cameras (other than the phone) yet, as things have been just so busy.

Britton and Hannah started school on this past Monday and love it.  The other three start this coming Monday.  They've all been making friends and seem to feel at home already.  Joy is learning where to shop and how to navigate the roads and figuring out how to keep the home going and also making friends.  I started work at MAF, and will be taking a validation exam on Monday at the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) to hopefully get a temporary 3-month permission to fly based on my U.S. license until I can complete the rest of the process to get a Ugandan license.  Pray that I pass. :-)

More next week.  Now I'm off to study for the exam.  Thanks for your prayers!