Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Southern Sudan

The other day Simon returned from doing a flight to Sudan. Most days are "normal" for him although I don't know if even I would say it was just another "day in the office' as most flights have a tale to tell. Anyway this particular day he came home to say that he had almost been arrested. He had flown into a certain place in Sudan, which will remain nameless, only to find that the President of Southern Sudan had just landed there. To say his security detail weren't happy was an understatement. After many conversations and Simon proving his right to be there by producing the properly stamped paperwork he was free to go. Simon said it was a bit hairy for a while but thankfully it all turned out well. Southern Sudan is due to have elections next month so the President is doing his rounds. Its an interesting time for Southern Sudan and we are not sure how it is going to go. Many NGO's have evacuation plans in place in case the need arises. MAF and other NGO's would value your prayers that God would intervene and that there would be peaceful elections. If Sudan goes to war it will have far reaching implications not only for the people of Sudan but neighbouring countries also. We need to pray for peace as this country and its people have gone through years of suffering.

One NGO group that Simon flew to Sudan a while ago said that there are first world, second world and third world countries and Sudan is far from all three. This group had seen a lot of countries on its travels but Sudan was the worst it had seen in terms of need.

Simon is currently up in Sudan tonight and will be doing some flights for the MAF Juba programme tomorrow. Pray for safety for him and pray for the staff that God will give them wisdom in the next few weeks concerning the upcoming elections.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Sipi Falls, Eastern Uganda - Random photo update

Simon and Zara enjoying the wonderful view over the valley

A visit to Patrick and Stella's house who look after widows and orphans and run a coffee making business.

Zara loved every stage of the coffee making process

Zara helping Patrick sieving the grounded coffee

Joshua and Grossvati grinding the coffee beans to get the shells off.

Joshua climbing up the rock face to get to the bat caves. Some of us took the ladder :)

One of the many colourful lizards we saw on our visit.

Watching a localised rain storm pass through the valley.

We stayed in some comfortable, but basic accommodation. We helped the amenities along a bit by enabling their tap to turn on with the help of a 100 shilling coin.

Simon greasing the door hinges with some butter from breakfast. It did the job no more creaking!

This was as close as we could get to the waterfall as the path down was too slippy and muddy. Even here we were getting soaked by the spray.

Awesome power of water!

Another wee creature that we met along the way - a chameleon!

Joshua and Zara enjoying the tree swing!

Some little kiddies that accompanied us for brief moments on our walk.

From a different angle....

Some more happy faces that joined us on our way...

We climbed this ladder to get to the bat caves. These ladies went one further and carried their fire wood at the same time.

The view from the top of the ladder.

Simon and Zara in the bat cave. I beat a hasty retreat after about 10 minutes. I don't like bats and I was convinced on my way into the cave that I saw one hanging in front of my face. It was enough to see them flying around never mind hanging so close to me....Ahhhhhhhh

Beautiful rainbow and a reminder that God keeps his promises!

Will it hold us all over the drop....thankfully it did!

J and Z standing out a mud hut that was being constructed.

Some of the most beautiful roads in Uganda. Do you like the removal truck? I particularly liked the bike hanging on the back. Good job there weren't many pot holes on this road. Not sure if they would have made it to their next abode.

We were able to go away for a weekend with Simon's parents to Sipi Falls. It is a beautiful part of Uganda and we enjoyed the new experiences we had there. We had a 4-5 hour walk into the valley to visit the falls and then had lunch with a national family. We also had a coffee tour where we went through every stage of the coffee process. It makes you appreciate coffee and all the work that goes into it.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

The ground has been broken for our new MAF Hangar

This area is now full of water. MAF has its very own swimming pool!

In the background you can see four containers. These contain our new hangar. One day soon we hope to see these containers open and construction started. :)

The start of the swimming pool :)

For all those Scots who are reading our blog the first plane in the picture is "Scotty".
Thanks to all who were involved in the Caledonian Connection. This plane is busy flying all over Uganda, Sudan and into Congo. Praise the Lord!

This is the back side of our old hangar. Definately could do with some TLC!

After many months of raising funds, much organising, finding contractors, architects and finally purchasing the new hangar we have broken ground at Kajjansi for the work to begin. Unfortunately due to heavy rain and unco-operative machinery the excavating has not been as quick as we would have liked it. Above are a few photos of the beginning process.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Photo update of my trip to Congo

Sheryl Strietzel and I with whom I stayed with during my visit to Bunia. Sheryl and her husband are friends of ours who have been in MAF for many years. They are the Programme Manager family for the East Congo programme.

Some of the beautiful scenes on my flight back from Congo

In comparison our flight to Congo which was fraught with rain and storms....a different picture altogether.

Sheryl and Lary's home in Bunia. They are often without power and the water needs to be boiled before even going through the water filter due to typhoid. Even we don't have to boil it first here in Uganda.

It is difficult to see in this picture but these three ladies were colourfully dressed. Congolese love bright colours. Behind them there is a man building a house out of local bricks.

This is the road to Lary and Sheryl's house

Another road to one of the other MAF family houses. This picture doesn't do the potholes or the gradient justice.

This is the main street in Bunia. On the right there is the UN. The car in front of which you can just see has a problem with its exhaust box as its dragging on the road. The owner didn't seem to mind as he continued driving.

This is also the main part of Bunia town. In the centre of this picture is the main market. You can even exchange money on the roadside here with Congolese currency piled high for all to see.

Another angle of Bunia from the air when I was flying into Congo

On the way home flying over Lake Albert. The middle of the lake is the border between Uganda and Congo

This was the MAF plane that flew me to Congo. I was grateful I didn't have to drive there as it would probably be a two day drive. It only took me about 1 hour 15 minutes in the plane!