The thoughts of a woman trying to live simply yet abundantly, contentedly yet expectantly, wisely yet adventurously... all for His glory.

8.05.2010

come fly with me

For a while I will have to blog day-by-day (internet access permitting) about Danja, Niger. So far my time here has been rich and full so I think you will enjoy some details! Warning: long post ahead



     
Friday (Day Two): come fly with me

After a night filled with thunderstorms, we wake up early in preparation for flying to Danja. We don our ankle-length skirts and make sure to pack our head wraps in easily accessible locations, since these things are necessary for women in this part of Africa. Our pilot, Ed, shows up at 7am to pick us up and we head back to the airport again, only this time we pass up all the commercial planes and head for a back hangar. I’ve been anticipating this for months now--we get to fly in a six-seater Piper Saratoga from Niamey to Maradi (Maradi is only 15 kilometers--a quick car ride-- from Danja). 

Ed opens the airplane hangar and proceeds to pull (yes, pull) the plane out onto the tarmac. We’re all a little giddy, seeing this tiny plane that will somehow manage to hold us and our luggage. It's a little hard to scramble into the plane in our long skirts, but we manage. I have the immense pleasure of sitting in the copilot's seat in the cockpit. At my feet are pedals, at my knees the steering console, and above that are numerous dials and knobs. I buckle in and put on the headphones, and suddenly I’m listening in on the chatter between the flight controller and Ed as they confirm preflight details. I am literally giddy with excitement!


Yours truly, "copiloting" the Piper Saratoga. 

Ed starts the propeller, and we taxi to the runway. I can’t help but hold my breath as we smoothly lift off the ground, and the next thing I know I am watching the desert below, dotted with villages with footpaths to connect them. Sometimes the land below is green and lush looking, sometimes bare and sparse, but it’s always beautiful. I think I could watch the land scroll by below for hours. This Nigerien flying experience is such a beautiful gift from God!


An aerial view of Niger (brown part; less developed and irrigated) and Nigeria (green part; more developed).

After sitting with my eyes glued to the window for two hours, we land in Maradi, the second biggest town in Niger. As I step out of the plane I notice that we have an audience of farmers and their children, all watching us curiously. We’re met on the tarmac by Burt, the local SIM director, and a local airport official who informs us (Burt translating) that he would be happy to find us all good husbands. We laugh, and thank him for his offer, but politely decline. Although, on second thought, none of us have been able to find husbands yet on our own, so maybe we do need some help in that department!


After landing in Maradi, but before covering up our hair with headwraps.
We wrap up our hair in scarves and pile into Burt’s truck for the quick drive to Danja. Before we leave the runway, we meet yet another man who asks Burt in all seriousness “where are you going with all those brides?”  Apparently all the single men have been living in Niger all this time... who knew?!?

Burt delivers us safely to the Danja hospital compound, and we get settled in the house of a family home for a year of furlough. We’ve met the other missionaries currently living on the Danja compound-- James from Australia is a physical therapist, and June from England is a nurse. Both are very warm and welcoming, and show us the ropes. In fact, we meet all the missionaries in this area because we're invited/requested to attend a monthly SIM prayer meeting. I'm amazed at the fortitude of these folks--these are the ones who live in the bush, so to speak, treating their own heart attacks (true story) and doing all sorts of other amazing things. It's interesting to meet people who have lived in Niger long enough that they call it home.


Talk about a full day! Once again, I'm exhausted, so I fall into bed, after tucking in the mosquito net, of course. Tomorrow we plan to clean the ward and the OR, meet the women here for surgery, and try to relax a little before the week begins.
Tomorrow: work, work, not dare to shirk! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome Lindsay, I'm jealous!

Love Dad (aka Anonymous)