Tuesday, November 13, 2007

November Tradition

The mission’s Cessna 182 has its annual inspection each year in November. This is when the plane gets stripped of just about everything that renders it dignified. Every nook, cranny, crevice, dial, lever, etc. is microscopically inspected to detect recent cracks, corrosion or malfunction of any kind. Since the Cessna is Canadian registered, a Canadian aircraft mechanic needs to inspect it. For the past 8 years or so, Gary Hillman from Red Deer has been willing and available to come do this service. It takes about a week to complete, so by the time he’s nearly recovered from jet lag and the 9 hour time difference, it’s time to head back! On Gary’s first trip out, we took him to Kruger National Park (http://www.krugerpark.co.za/Krugerpark_History-travel/kruger-national-park-history.html) for a day to see some of Africa’s fabulous wildlife. Since then, making this scenic day trip into the park has become tradition…much like eating turkey on Christmas day.

On the very odd occasion, Gary hasn’t been able to make the trip. This year was one of those, so Dan Thomas (and his wife, Mavis), currently serving the aviation program at Prairie Bible College, were able to come instead. (Pictured above left to right: John Herbert of Mercy Air, Dan Thomas, and Dwight!)
They have a passion for missions and their first stop was in Botswana for 2 weeks to serve Flying Mission. They then came to us for their last week before returning home. The guys worked feverishly on the plane while the ladies spent the week doing other activities like visiting a rural clinic, cooking and…shopping! When the work was complete, there was a little time left for sightseeing so we headed out on our traditional visit-to-Kruger-Park-with-the-aircraft-engineer. This time, I had a lady friend along too! We saw some amazing sights, the kind you never get tired of seeing.
This one was a little sad though. This very young baby elephant was lost without its mom or the herd. This is highly unusual since elephants are very protective of their young, travel in large matriarchal herds, and have no predators to fear when they are together. But some how this little guy got stranded and wandered onto one of the roads in the park. In very short order there was a sizeable snarl of traffic since we were all drawn like magnets to this lost, lonely little soul. I’m sure we all just wanted to hop out, scoop him up and take him home, but the thought of a very large angry tusked mother cautioned otherwise. We knew that if she should suddenly appear, we would likely be reduced to scrap metal and flat people! After about 10 minutes of ‘awww’ing’, shaking our heads and scanning the surrounding bush for the large, angry mother, we managed to extricate both our emotions and the vehicle from the spot. We’re not sure what happened to this little orphan, but I believe the park’s rules are generally to let nature take its course. In this particular case, I wasn’t very happy with Mother Nature.

Yesterday, Dan and Mavis left since their week was up. The plane is now pretty much back to it’s dignified self again and we should be ready to return home within a few days. The generator should soon be back to its old dignified self again too! We’ve received some much appreciated help from wonderful people in purchasing a new unit here in South Africa and shipping it to Mozambique. It should arrive there about the same time we do. So Dwight will have some Humpty Dumpty work on his hands right away—putting it back together again!

It’s hard to believe that it’s already that time of year. The month before Christmas! This is usually the trip when we do our Christmas shopping here in South Africa where there is more available. You know, nice little gifts, a turkey, cranberry sauce, mosquito repellent, antimalarials, any needed animal vaccines/medicine, farm tools, etc. You know, all one needs for keeping with tradition!


Russoft said...

wow mom, those are some pretty professional looking pictures you've got there. Awwww, baby elephant! Still think you should've stolen him and kept him. He can't be THAT heavy, I'm sure he'd fit in the plane :P

Amanda said...

Awww baby :(
Awesome pictures!!! You're getting very good :).

ruth said...

Awesome pics Aunty Lynnie. Wish we were all together for Christmas. You'll have to give Mandie some extra snuggles from me since you'll see her again before I will:).

The Nelson's Dog Patch said...

After talking to you last I felt a tiny bit better aobut the elephant situation so read your blog. As usual it was very interesting & entertaining with awesome pictures.
Love you