Hello Friends and greetings from South Central Africa!
It has only been a little over a month since my last update, but it feels like several months of things have happened! Since then, I have moved into the flight portion of my orientation. I began by studying for and taking the two Zambian Air Law exams which by God’s grace I was able to pass both of them on the first try, then I read the Flying Mission standard operating procedures and started flying with the Chief Pilot and another mentor pilot. We also had an airplane that needed to be taken to South Africa, to be painted and have the interior redone, so I was able to go along and see what international flying in Africa entails. We spent 2 days in Johannesburg with a board member from Flying Mission, and then another 2 days in Gaborone, Botswana where we were able to tour Flying Mission Services and meet many of the people involved in the other branch of Flying Mission. It was great to see a bit more of Africa, and to see the full picture of what makes up Flying Mission. And then just this week, I was sent out on my own and began doing the normal mission flying! I was also able to buy a truck that had been imported to South Africa, it seemed like a good vehicle to purchase, but unfortunately when it arrived in Zambia I found it had some problems that I was not told about. So I am working through the best options for making it a reliable truck for me to use.
In aviation we have something called an “SYE” form or Share Your Experience, when something interesting, abnormal, or possibly dangerous happens, a pilot or mechanic will fill out the form to share their experience in the hopes that others can learn from it. I want to share with you some of the different experiences that I am having here in Africa, so this will be the SME section (share my experience). 🙂 Maybe there is something to learn from it, or maybe it’ll just make you giggle, but either way it will give you a bit of insight into what life is like here in Zambia. Living in Africa is certainly a different experience than what we normally experience in “Western” countries. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, where I am in Zambia, just outside the capital city of Lusaka is at times an odd mix of the two. I went to get my Zambian Driving License not long after I arrived. Having been given most of day to accomplish this task, combined with the fact that it would just be a transfer of my Ohio license, I was thinking that it couldn’t possibly take more than a day. Well the first step for the license here in Zambia is to have a medical examination done to assure you are fit to drive. Flying Mission had the forms at the base and I filled in my information on the form and set out with Paul, one of the team members who had most recently gotten a Zambian License. We stopped at the nearest clinic and after a brief wait were told that we couldn’t do it there as there was no doctor on duty. On to the next clinic, and after a bit of confusion as to where to enquire about the examinations we were told that they no longer did the driving license exam. From there we moved onto a clinic that was a bit further away, and arrived just after 12pm when we found the receptions area, we were told that it was lunch time and we would have to wait until 2pm when they reopened. Well, given that bad news we decided to have lunch ourselves and because there were other clinics in town we kept heading that way. After lunch we headed to the next closest clinic, and again after some confusion as to where to go, a “helpful” employee took me aside and said that he would have the doctor sign the paper for me, but that I shouldn’t have written my name and address on it because it should all be done in the same handwriting. I was a bit confused, and when it became apparent that I wouldn’t actually see the doctor but he wanted me to pay him right then and there, I hesitated and said that we would have to go get a new form because I had written on it. Obviously seemed like something fishy was going on. So we went on to the Road Transport and Safety Administration building (RTSA) and picked up a fresh medical exam form and decided to head to one of the hospitals in the hopes that we would have better success there. We arrived and were told that indeed the exams were done there and were directed to the wing where they were done. Upon arrival there was a sign that clearly stated that we were in the right spot for driving medical examinations! Finally! But the sign also clearly stated that they did them everyday from 8am until 2pm… by that point it was about 3:30pm and I enquired anyway just to be told to come back the next day at 8am. In one last attempt to get it done, we went back to the clinic where they had told me I needed to have the blank form. It was less busy by this time and we were able to ask a nurse about the exam. She told us that the clinic was no longer able to do the exams because there had been people filling out the forms but not examining the patients. (exactly what had almost happened to me, and apparently also the reason why clinic #2 couldn’t do the exams anymore either). It was almost 5pm by that time and Paul and I were beat…after visiting 4 clinics, 1 hospital, and the RTSA building I had not yet gotten step one of the driving license accomplished, what a day! While I am enjoying living in Africa, and Zambians are wonderful and hospitable people, there are times when being in a new place brings many challenges… oh and teaches you a little patience. 🙂 Well friends, I fear I have written too much so you’ll just have to stay tuned next month to find out if I am physically fit enough to drive or not (sure hope so as I’m flying airplanes all around)… God’s Blessings on you all.
- Passing my Zambian Air Law exams.
- The beginning of my flying is going well.
- The Lord is blessing me with a good attitude through all the changes and challenges.
- The decisions I need to make on fixing the truck I bought.
- Continued good adjustment and focus on God.
- Safe Flying!
- For the ministries we support to be blessed by God in the work they are doing for him.