One of the highlights of our journey to Africa was capping it off with a safari in Northern Uganda. From the moment I heard about it, and was told about the fact that we would be flying in on a small plane I had kept it somewhere in the middle of the back of my mind. Those who know me, know that I’m not particularly fond of flying. I am less fond of flying in small planes into the bush country of African nations.
When we saw the plane I had this sort of dread with a twist of nerves and a hint of thoughtful introspection. The kind that you get when you know that the odds of dying aren’t particularly high, but considerably higher than say, sitting at home watching TV. I logically understand the whole “you’ve got a better chance of getting struck by lightning” speech, but in this case, I think that those odds were even beaten.
The plane wasn’t so much rickety as it was loosely constructed. It seemed that it was durable when it was built, which seemed to me to be around 1938. Assuming that in this nation of abject poverty and lack of skilled workers that as long as someone had tightened the bolts and every once in a while had a look under the hood we should be fine. To say that my confidence was shaken would be an exercise in understatement.
The Pilot who was earnest and jovial introduced himself. He was very welcoming. Too welcoming to be honest. It was about 120 degrees inside the plane and spent some time making small talk and introducing himself. When asked in jest if there was beverage service, we were actually excited to learn there was. We were told it was located in a cooler by the back row.
The plane seated around 20 people total and roared into the air with ample power and gusto. Taking off is one of the most dangerous times of flying and as we leveled out at our cruising altitude of what appeared to be a couple thousand feet, I loosened my sweaty protracted grip on the arm rests; but not too much.
We were happy to learn that beverage serviced consisted of ample snacks that included an assortment of colas, cookies, chips, and to my pleasant surprise, Pringles. We all sort of ate ferociously dancing dangerously on the line of gluttony. It occurred to me that this could likely be my last meal. Coke and Pringles are one bucket of KFC short of being the perfect last meal.
I sat there looking at the African countryside below imagining the made for TV movie on Lifetime that they would make about the missionary plane that crashed on the border of The Congo. The few that survived were captured by the Lord’s Resistance Army and held hostage for years until they were summarily executed. I thought it would be nice to have Russell Crowe play me until realism set in that for purposes of budget and accuracy it would have to be one of the less famous, unreformed weightier Baldwin brothers.
Before I knew it we were making our descent into Pakuba Airport in Northern Uganda. I use the word airport loosely in that it was more like a little gas station with no gas and a dirt road in front of it. Air traffic control was a CB radio hooked up to a couple of car batteries. Arrivals and departure times were followed by the term “ish”. In Africa “ish” gives a window of a couple hours either side of the predicted time.
I’ll fill you in on more of the details of the Safari but more importantly the stuff the experiences and stories from our journey. I’ve asked a couple of folks from the trip who live here in the Nashville area to share their experiences as well.
I return to America with a resolution that Conduit is on the right path. I’m convinced that the Body of Christ isn’t just a nice term to display unity, but a description of what we are; which is to say the implementing arm of Gods will, provision, and ideas in the world.
I hope if you’re in town you can join us. We’re going to be meeting as usual at 7:30pm at Building 8 in The Factory home of Journey Ecclesia.