Surgery in the Theatre!

A few times a month my flights take me on overnight trips to places all over Zambia, I thought I’d give you a taste of what one of these types of flights look like!  One of the organizations that we fly for works with specialist doctors and organizes for them to fly out to rural hospitals where there is a need for their specific specialization (orthopedics, gynecology, plastic surgeon etc). These trips are usually 3-4 days long and so the pilot usually stays for the duration to keep from having to make two trips.  The last trip I did was with an orthopedic surgeon and a orthopedic post graduate student.  On the first day we met early and took off out of Lusaka to a city called Mongu.  If the roads are good one can drive to Mongu in about 8 hours, if the roads are in need of repair it can take double that, but it only takes 2 1/2 to fly there.  So we arrived in Mongu mid-morning, and were picked up at the airport by the Irish Catholic sisters that run a guest house where we stay.   After resting with a cup of tea, the doctors went to the hospital and screened the patients to see who was the most urgent and in which order to do the surgeries (they don’t want the most challenging to come last).  The second day they began surgery early in the morning.  I was allowed to come along and observe!  So I got dressed up in some scrubs and hung out in the theatre.  Here in Zambia (and the UK) we call an operating room a theatre, and what I saw was as good as a movie.  🙂  Sometimes they do as many as 15-20 surgeries in 1 day! In this particular location they have a large number patients so they stay and do 2 days of surgery, this time they did around 30 surgeries over 2 days.  The final day the surgeons made their rounds and checked the patients, and then we headed back to the airplane and made the short trip home!  If I’m not observing what the doctors are doing, I often ask around (or get asked) to do odd jobs that need done at the mission stations or places we stay at.  Or I sit and write prayer letters, catch up on emails, and do website postings, just like the one you’re reading now.  But really lets be honest, for me watching surgery is much more interesting.  🙂

Most of the surgeries that I saw were for a problem called Club Foot.  A child with Club Foot is born with the tendons in the foot and ankle too short on the inside of the foot causing it to be pulled inward.  In most western countries it is a relatively easy fix with casts and braces used until the child walks to stretch and lengthen the affected tendons and put the foot in a normal position.  However, here in Zambia most children with club foot aren’t treated until they are close to or already walking.  At that stage it requires surgery to correct.  The surgeons basically go in and cut some of the tendons longways in half and then on one side each at the ends of the slit and then sew the two pieces back together, effectively making the tendon longer.  It can heal that way and will strengthen itself as it heals.  This then allows the foot to extend out and lay flat as it should!  Quite interesting to watch the whole thing first hand!  Something I’d never be able to do in the states…I’ve included some pictures but they aren’t for the weak stomached so be warned!!!

 

 

Notice the Bosch battery operated hand drill… Nope it's not for aircraft maintenance it's for the surgeons!

Notice the Bosch battery operated hand drill… Nope it’s not for aircraft maintenance it’s for the surgeons!

Preparing the theatre for surgery!

Preparing the theatre for surgery!

 

Getting started on a little guy with Club Foot.

Getting started on a little guy with Club Foot.

First incision, where's the blood?

First incision, where’s the blood?

Notice how curved the foot is sitting that's the furthest flat it will go.

Notice how curved the foot is sitting that’s the furthest flat it will go.

Finding the ligaments to "extend" them!

Finding the ligaments to “extend” them!

The foot can sit flat and normally now!

The foot can sit flat and normally now!

This boy is older and has already been walking on his foot this way.  He'll have a new gait in his step after the surgery.

This boy is older and has already been walking on his foot this way. He’ll have a new gait in his step after the surgery.

Update January 2014

Happy New Year from Zambia!

The weather is warm and wet here in Zambia during the holidays, and I must admit I wasn’t quite able to get used to Christmas being a Summer holiday.  I heard songs at some stores singing about a “White Christmas” but what I experienced was far from it.  I was able to go on a camping trip to Livingstone (Victoria Falls, don’t worry I didn’t quite go over the edge 🙂 ) and the Chobe National Park in Botswana during Christmas and we enjoyed over 100 F temperatures on Christmas day!   Our flying schedule is slower during these rainy months so it was nice to get away and experience more of Africa.  They ring in the New Year here with everyone all over the city setting off fireworks, about like what one experiences on the 4th of July in the United States.  My friend Ashley was able to visit and work with another organization here in Lusaka that ministers with Orphans.  It was great to have her come and I think she was blessed by the experience as well!
On other fronts, I was able to sell my truck!!  A true answer to prayer!  While I didn’t break even on it, I think I got a fair price for it, and the buyer didn’t seem too concerned with the issues that it had, so my hope is that with a bit more work, it will be a truck that he can enjoy.  Even more amazing is how there was already another vehicle waiting for me just as the first one sold.  A Canadian couple who came to Zambia around the same time I did, imported a truck from the UK in May, unfortunately after less then a year here they didn’t feel like this was the place that the Lord had for them, so they moved on but now had to sell the truck they had just imported, so they left it parked at a house on our base until they could figure out what to do with it.  Low and behold, I was looking for a truck just like it!  It is another Toyota Hilux; it’s newer and in much better condition, we were able to come to an agreement on price, so it is just a matter of getting the paperwork changed over!  The Lord really took care of me on this one.  It was more expensive then the one I sold, but a very good price for a vehicle like it here.  Thank you SO much to everyone who has been praying and helping out with financing some reliable transportation for me here.  I have close to the full amount to pay for the truck and will finish paying the remaining amount over the next few months.  Praise the Lord!
I took the Maintenance Engineers test here in Zambia a few weeks ago, but unfortunately didn’t pass (it’s not all that uncommon not to pass these tests the first time.)  After trying to clarify what exactly I need to study to find the correct answers, and doing some studying I’ll probably be taking it again in the next few weeks.  Prayers for that are appreciated!

Finally, the Flying Mission Zambia base is located on 25 acres just south west of Lusaka, this is where all of our operations start and end, and we have been steadily working to improve it since we purchased it in 2005.  Unfortunately, half of our runway has been leased from a family and they have not been willing to sell the land until now!  We have finally reached an agreement with them!!  But now need to finance the purchase of the second half of the runway.  🙂 If you are interested in helping with this CLICK HERE for more information!

SME (Share my Experience)

In this month’s SME section, I will tell you about the most recent “rainy day” project I have been helping with.  Mowing the grass on our runway and at our base is an important job and the grass grows very quickly during the rainy season.  One of the mowing attachments for our tractor has been in a bad state of repair and was bent and cracked in several places.  So I have had the opportunity to learn and improve my welding skills working on it!  Here are a few pictures of the work in progress, it’s almost ready to head back out and mow down some grass!

If you have any questions or comments please email me, I’ll be happy to answer them and give you even more information on what life is like here in Zambia!

God’s Blessings on you all,

Jonathan

Photo by Bryan K Wilson

“Rainy Day” project!

Photo by Bryan K Wilson

Welding is an art. I’ll take all the practice I can get!

Construction is progressing on the other side of our hangar!

Construction is progressing on the other side of our hangar!

I got to jump into the gorge just downstream of the falls.

I got to jump into the gorge just downstream of the falls.

This little guy wanted to be friends!

This little guy wanted to be friends!

Pool party!

Pool party!

Beautiful view!

Beautiful view!

Nice view!

Nice view!

Got to see the falls from the top!

Got to see the falls from the top!

Continuous rainbow!

Continuous rainbow!

Our guide standing on the edge!

Our guide standing on the edge!

Almost over the edge!

Almost over the edge!

Don't slip!

Don’t slip!

One of God's interesting little creatures.  Almost ran them over!

One of God’s interesting little creatures. Almost ran them over!

Was it an elephant?

Was it an elephant?

Beware of Animals.

Beware of Animals.

Wildlife Counts and Safari Camps!

During the months of October and November Flying Mission Zambia has been able to participate in some flying that was different then our normal fare.  It was challenging, fun, and at times exhausting, but overall I enjoyed it!  The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) conducts aerial wildlife surveys throughout their parks and game management areas every few years.  Flying Mission has participated in the past and was asked again this year to do some of the flying for the count, so we allotted one of our airplanes and rotated through 4 of our pilots to accomplish our part of the survey.  This was an opportunity I was excited about because I haven’t been able to explore the Zambian parks yet or see much wildlife.

The basic purpose of the survey is to estimate the population and distribution of many of the different species of large mammals within the parks.  We were asked to help conduct the survey in the Kafue National Park (large park in the middle of the Zambian Map) and it’s surrounding Game Management Area’s (GMA).  The Kafue Park is the second largest park in Africa, and with the surrouding GMA’s the square footage amounts to roughly half that of the state of Ohio.  So it’s was a BIG area to cover.  While the survey can’t cover every square foot, we flew paths are set up as parallel straight lines each separated by a couple of miles over the entire park and game management area’s (see picture below).

The flying was challenging; flying low to the ground within specific limits while trying to fly a very straight line in turbulent 90F plus weather for 7-8 hours a day can be a bit tiring.  But there were many firsts for me as well, which made it exciting.  I got to stay at a couple different safari camps near the airstrips we were operating out of, and when I wasn’t flying I could participate in whatever activities were going on.  I went on a few game drives, a walking safari, and even went swimming in a natural hot spring.  And while from the air I was mostly too distracted trying to keep the plane straight and level, so see many animals, on the ground I saw my first Lions in Africa (a mother with a cub, as well as another lioness chasing an Impala), Hippos, Elephants, Warthogs, crocodiles, buffalo, more antelope then I could count, and even a porcupine scurrying away from our vehicle.  At night amidst the consistent lullaby of insect sounds, I would fall asleep to the sound of Hippos grunting and Lion’s roaring.  It was quite the African experience.  In the morning, I would awake in my grass chalet as the first rays of sunshine were appearing and enjoy some coffee and praise the Lord while listening to the birds and watching the impala and puku grazing on the plain stretching out before me.  It was pretty cool.

It was also fun to get to know the different members of the ZAWA team.  Everyone was very friendly and I was even able to fly with a member of the ZAF (Zambian Air Force), as part of the survey took place in Zambian airspace controlled by the ZAF.  I hope to run into them again as I visit different parks run by ZAWA.  At Flying Mission we try to pray before every flight, and when doing secular flying like this, these prayers are conversation starters, and I was able to share with many of the people I interacted with the real reason I am in Zambia.  My plane mates were even so used to the prayer before the flight that they would remind me if I forgot.  🙂

For those that have made it this far and are wondering how the survey actually worked here’s a brief explanation.  In the airplane with me were two spotters in the back seats and a recorder sitting in the front seat. I was instructed to fly at 350ft above the ground and 80kts (a relatively slow speed) over all of these straight line courses which were just GPS coordinates running through and separating different sections of the park, while the spotters in the back looked though a set of poles attached to the wing strut and counted any animals within the poles (see pictures below).  The recorder kept track of the sections and subsections we flew through and my altitude and airspeed.  When the numbers are complied they will know how much square footage was surveyed based on the altitude of the plane and the known width between the two poles on the wing struts.  The planes actual flight path was being recorded on a GPS unit in the airplane and after the flights all of the information is compiled and sent to a consultant who puts it all together and writes up the findings of the study.  A copy of the 2008 study is available HERE if you’re curious.

One of the last mornings as I was getting ready to land at the bush strip to pick up my ZAWA passengers, I lined up on final approach and looked down to see 3 adult and 2 baby elephants crossing the runway below me.  I’m not gonna lie the phrase “living the dream” crossed through my mind.

Well that’s all for now.  God Bless.

Jonathan

Joint venture with FMZ and the ZAF.

Joint venture with FMZ and the ZAF.

These was my ZAWA crew with our Airforce representative.

These was my ZAWA crew with our Airforce representative.

This is what the spotters saw from above.  Can you see the Lechwe (Antelope) on the island below?

This is what the spotters saw from above. Can you see the Lechwe (Antelope) on the island below?

This is a sampling of the lines we flew throughout the park.  Our GPS was recording it all.

This is a sampling of the lines we flew throughout the park. Our GPS was recording it all.

The Kafue park is the large one near the center of Zambia.  We surveyed the park and most of the areas around the park.

The Kafue park is the large one near the center of Zambia. We surveyed the park and most of the areas around the park.

 

Can you see the bat? This little guy shared the chalet with me for a day.

Can you see the bat? This little guy shared the chalet with me for a day.

Night game drive revealed a lioness and her cub resting peacefully, and not bothered at all by our light.

Night game drive revealed a lioness and her cub resting peacefully, and not bothered at all by our light.

Met a few neighbors!  Sadly I didn't get a picture of the hippo that I almost ran into twice.

Met a few neighbors! Sadly I didn’t get a picture of the hippo that I almost ran into twice.

Safari Accommodation!  Grass walls, thatch roof and outside bathroom beside.

Safari Accommodation! Grass walls, thatch roof and outside bathroom beside.

I got to see the sunrise and set every day.  The best time for smooth flying is just after sunrise and just before sunset.

I got to see the sunrise and set every day. The best time for smooth flying is just after sunrise and just before sunset.

This was the view from my Chalet.  Impala grazing on the plain.

This was the view from my Chalet. Impala grazing on the plain.

 

This is what the bathrooms looked like at one of the safari camps.  Can you see the hideaway in the picture?

This is what the bathrooms looked like at one of the safari camps. Can you see the hideaway in the picture?

This baby Impala was rescued after his mother died.  He will be released back into the wild after he is old enough.

This baby Impala was rescued after his mother died. He will be released back into the wild after he is old enough.

 

 

 

 

Winter in Africa

Hello Friends and greetings from

chilly Zambia!

“Winter” has taken over in Zambia, and while it’s nothing near what I am used to from Ohio, it’s interesting to live in a house with no central heating or insulation.  When the temperature outside dips into the 40’s at night, the temperature inside quickly follows, and it makes for some chilly evenings and mornings!  However, the sun comes out almost everyday and warms things back up, so that is a nice difference from winter in Ohio!  Since my last letter I have gotten my official Zambian Commercial Pilot’s License and have been able to see much of the country from the air, including Victoria Falls which is included in the pictures!  It has been very fulfilling and gratifying to finally be doing what I felt called to so long ago, and I praise the Lord for sustaining and leading me to this point!

There have also been some challenges that have come along as well, and the greatest so far has been my need for reliable ground transportation.  The truck that I bought has continued cause problems and it even seems that whomever sent this truck to Africa intentionally made it to look good on the surface, but to be made up of worn out and bad parts underneath.  It’s also frustrating because I went through what seemed to be reputable sources to obtain it but still ended up in this spot, and while I have attempted to deal with the company, they have been unwilling to help.   It’s interesting really, and I think it illustrates one of the problems that Africa as a whole is facing.  Those that have interest in Africa for non “mission” reasons seem to mostly see it as a place to be used for their own personal gain.  Things that are substandard for “western” countries are sent to Africa where they are accepted because it’s the best they can get.  Certainly much of the aid is good and helpful, but it seems like the more Africa can stand on it’s own, the better off it will be (but I’ve only been here 5 months, so we’ll see what I think after a few years 🙂 ).  All that to say, I’ve decided to try to sell this truck to someone who might be better equipped deal with it, but because I’m going to be honest about the problems that it has, I probably won’t be able to get get back out of it what I have invested in.

SME (Share my Experience)

On to more enjoyable topics… Last time I left you wondering if I was “fit” enough to drive.  The good news is now that we knew what hours the hospital was open for examinations, we went back right at the opening time and 3 of us got exams passed in less than 30 mins!!  So I guess it’s really all about having the right information to do what needs to be done.  I’ll spare you the rest of the details on transferring my US driving license to a Zambian one, but three more trips to RTSA buildings and a 60 days of waiting for them to print and laminate my card (and you thought 45 mins at the BMV was bad…) and I have a official Zambian driving license!
This month though I want to share a little bit more about my “African Family” and the work that they are doing on building their church.  When I stayed with them, it was obvious that their current church building was too small for the congregation and not a good space at all.  I had been given some extra money from a few of you to use to bless some African’s however I felt led.  The church wanted so badly to begin building, but the concrete slab is the most expensive part and they didn’t have enough to lay it first.  They were considering building the walls and leaving the floor dirt, but I didn’t want them to have a church with a dirt floor!!  So I was able to step in and help!  With the money donated plus a little extra I had we were able to come up with enough to lay the slab!  The church is excited to have a floor and the walls will soon be going up.  They have enough blocks for the walls to go up about half way, and will continue to raise money until it’s all done!  It’s been a blessing to me to be used by the Lord to bless them with the floor they may never have had for their church!

If you have any questions or comments please email me, I’ll be happy to answer them and give you even more information on what life is like here in Zambia!

God’s Blessings on you all,

Jonathan

Want to see more pictures?  Check out my facebook page HERE (you don’t need to be a member to see the pictures).

The church foundation, waiting for the slab!

The church foundation, waiting for the slab!

The new concrete slab for the church!

The new concrete slab for the church!

Victoria Falls from the Air!!

Victoria Falls from the Air!!

Life in Africa

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.

SME
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.
Jonathan

Praises For:

  • 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.

Prayers for:

  • 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.
South Africa!

South Africa!

Just no escaping them.

Just no escaping them.

Doesn't taste like chicken... surprisingly its more like beef

Doesn’t taste like chicken… surprisingly its more like beef

Granadilla (passion fruit) fields in South Africa.

Granadilla (passion fruit) fields in South Africa.

I get to see many African sunrises with many early morning flights!

I get to see many African sunrises with many early morning flights!

Headed to the Village!

 

Hello Friends!

I have been in Zambia for a little over two weeks now, and I’m sure that many of you are wondering what I have been up to!  Well, just for a quick update, I have been getting to know Zambian culture, the city of Lusaka, and the Flying Mission team.  They have asked that I do not spend a lot of my time sending out prayer letters, and corresponding with people back home during this time of transition and orientation, but instead focus on learning about and adjusting to my new home!  So at the end of orientation (about 3 months) I will send out a more detailed description of all that has transpired.  But for now I do want to let you know that things are going well, and I am learning a lot!  Tomorrow, I will be leaving to live in a rural village for two weeks.  This will help me to understand and empathize with how most Zambians live.  I am looking forward to it!!  I have a Zambian host family, and I will just be living life with them for two weeks.  After that time, Lord willing, I will return to Lusaka (the capital city of Zambia) and continue with several more weeks of learning the culture, adapting to the differences, visiting places in the city, and getting details sorted out like finding a vehicle, obtaining a driving license, etc.  Then I will move into the flight orientation phase and transfer my flight licenses, and get adapted to flying here in Zambia with Flying Mission.

Praises For:

  • Safe travels through out my time traveling to Zambia!
  • A warm welcome from the Flying Mission family.
  • The many new things I have learned thus far about Zambia and it’s people!

Prayers For:

  • A healthy, beneficial time in the village.
  • Finding a good vehicle at a reasonable price.
  • Continued focus on God during the transition.

Send me Mail!!!!
Jonathan Weaver
Postnet #197, P/Bag E891
Lusaka, Zambia

Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, Zambia.  It was nice to get off the airplane and be warm!

Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, Zambia. It was nice to get off the airplane and be warm!

The planes I will be flying soon!!

The planes I will be flying soon!!

A view of a few of the buildings in Lusaka.

A view of a few of the buildings in Lusaka.

 

 

WAKA WAKA

There’s always something exciting going on with Flying Mission in ZAMBIA!  This is a recent posting from their website.  www.flyingmission.org  Check it out!

In formationRecently Flying Mission Zambia Chief Pilot, Rick Rempel, organised a 3-plane flight to the village of WAKA WAKA. A group of doctors and dentists from Singapore needed transport to this faraway rural place in Eastern Province, where they planned to help out in their various fields of expertise. Rick tells us:

where is it?finding the wayOur passengers flew into Lusaka International Airport in the afternoon. Then they transferred from the ‘big bird’ to our little Cessnas and we headed out, following the GPS co-ordinates for Waka Waka. We had not landed there before but had the assurance that the airstrip was in good order. As we drew near to our destination, clouds obstructed the sun and there were a few rain showers. Searching below us, we could not see an airstrip anywhere! 


Then God stepped in to help. A commercial aircraft was flying into Waka Waka and informed us that the GPS co-ordinates were a couple of miles out! He gave us some landmarks to look for. Once over the airfield we understood why it was so difficult to find:it blended seamlessly into the surrounding countryside. We landed safely before dark and were met by 100 or more local  people. Our passengers were ushered away to their accommodation and we to ours: a nearby Safari Lodge! What a pleasure to wake at 5 in the morning to around 100 hippopotami chortling in the river, with stunning birds flying overhead. It was quite sad to have to go home so soon! Our job has its challenges – and other great moments too.

Psalm 143 v 8: Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go for to You I lift up my soul.

the welcome committee