The following entry begins as I travel via mission plane to a flight station in another part of Zambia, Africa. Enjoy!
I am beginning this post in the air, as I'm flying in on a four seater cessna with Bob Young to attend his flight service meetings.
I do tell, the air outside is marvellous. The plane is new, with a leather interior remeniscint of our own nissan maxima, and the sleek exterior of a plane that has been washed much more freequently than our maxima. We are coming in for a landing, the trip being filled primarily with my reading and writing other letters and books.The purpose of our trip is for Mr Young to be able to complete his week long series of annual meetings with the missionary fligh crew services, of which board he is indeed a member. I will turn of my laptop and stow it at his request now, as it would not do for him to catch a concussion with an impact from the back of the head as we begin to hit turbulence right before we land.
That was the day before yesterday's post, and much has happened since then. The pilot, John Loudon, happens to be the pilot that flew me out here from Lusaka (Zambia's capitol I think, big city) to Chavuma (the very small town mission I am helping at. But now I am at Kalene, the flight service headquarters, the opposite side of Zambia from Chavuma, having flown here presently. He, the pilot, has graciously offered Bob and I the rooms of his now empty house, as his wife and children are away at Sakeji (the city all the missionary children go to boarding school). We will be visiting Sakeji later in the week.
So, for a review, Lusaka (big city with an international airport), Chavuma (town mission where I'm staying for three months), Kalene (Flight service missionary headquarters) and Sakeji (mission school town). So far, here, I've met a good many good people. On Saturday when we came in, I saw the hanger and the headquarters set up, which was amazing, and the apartment where the Poidevan's stayed (Bruce and Maryland Poidevan kinda run the planes here, with John Loudon) above the back end of the hangar. The hanger has unlimited internet, but it is very slow. I tried to post pictures here, but it took far too long. I did get to meet Sean Martin, a kid (sorry, young man) about my age who's here under different circumstances for the same type trip. We enjoyed tea and dinner together, and Mrs. Maryland Poidevan is a wonderful hostess and cook!
The next day, sunday, we attended the church services, and I met some more of the missionaries here, including the good Dr. woodfield, who works at the hospital here. I will follow him around the hospital, and watch him and help in surgeries. I also met his wonderful family, all three of the kids home for the weekend from sakeji boarding school. His kids (Katherine, Matthew and Peter, I believe, are not nearly as old as Dennis, Daniel, and Jenny, the other missionary kids I've met on the way from Chavuma to Lusaka in May) wonderful, though I've only shaken hands with them in church on sunday and waved to them at the prayer meeting.
The prayer meeting sunday afternoon was very pleasant, with the missionary kids attending (only four of them present) and all 20 or so of the missionaries around. It was so wonderful, as Dr. Woodfield exposed us to scripture, we sang hymns and praise songs (one of the missionaries here has an electric piano) and prayed. Which reminds me, I've seen two real pianos in missionary homes here. They are both in severe disrepair, but they are a wonderful sight! Evidently, there's a lot of canadian will to give, but not as much to come out and help. Which also reminds me... this whole mission organization is Canadian. Not American. It took me a while to realize that there are some places in the world that American christians have not reached out, but to those same places our next door neighbor Canadian christians, with the less opportunities available to them, (and the lesser number of them) have dedicated their lives and services to the mission field and have reaped many benefits and blessings from it. We should learn from them, and not allow our churches to ever sit back and be content with supporting one, or two, or three missionaries, but we should constantly be looking for more of God's work to support.
Today, this morning, I went with a man to tour the hydroelectric station that the missionaries here have built with help from the locals and under the supervision of a private firm. The plant was begun in 2004, is completed as of 2007, and is a marvelous structure (I videoed some of it to show you, before my camera card filled up. The basic idea, is that on a stretch of the Zambezi (the river by which Zambia gets its name), where the water is descending the quickest, the missionaries have built a weir, or a dam, and set a channel for some of the water to run, beside the zambezi. Continuing on through solid granite, they blasted to build this large, canal like channel, with traps and filters and ingenious mechanisms for the washing off of sediment and blockage, to a length of about half a mile. At the end of this length, the Zambezi had descended about forty feet, and the water that had continued to fill the channel fell down through a large six foot diameter cylinder into the power station, where it turned a large turbine and through a series of cooling machines and more, it eventually generated electricity. They are managing to keep it on 24/7 through donations and a little monetary return on their investment, but they hope to build a second cylinder from the large channel, and run a second generator here in the following years. Thus, they can generate twice the electricity for about the same cost.
The eletricity is (as of now) reaching a diameter of 30 km (20 something miles) to three villages, a hospital, the hangar, and all the houses and schools and compounds in the area. The missionaries have also set up a satallite station so that the local schoolchildren can come and use the internet, and for the first time in their lives see what the outside world looks like, and be able to tell their village chums that they'd seen pictures of big cities, and skyscrapers, and huge cruiseliners, and large airplanes, and massive schools and huge shopping malls and stunning amusement parks. It's all amazing for them, and while you hear of such things, you begin to feel guilty for living in such an affluent society. For instance, how would you answer when a zambian local asks you what an amusement park is for? Tell him, finally, that it has no real use besides entertainment... and you pay what equals two or three years of education for the children here, along with supplies, to go for one day to a place where you enjoy rides that cost so much more to build and maintain than they can ever imagine... And then, of course, how can you answer when they ask you if you've ever been to an amusement park? Convicting, eh? How about a shopping mall? There's only a few large stores in Lusaka, none anywhere as big anywhere else... Why do we need so many different kinds of clothes or foods or goods? or even better yet, a movie theatre? Explain that one... what's the use of going to see stories on a screen? Especially when you know what little other people have as far as possessions and opportunity.
Speaking of having little, at dinner last night, a missionary (Mr Gordon) talked about his times in the congo, during the rawandan genocides not that long ago, and how the genocide stretched deep into congo, and threatened his own misison there. He talked of driving through the cities and seeing the slaughter firsthand, but not being able to do anything about it. He told of the mission being packed with people, hidden in the basements, in the water towers, in the wells, in the closets... and told us stories of him and the other missionaries at the station walking the victims of the gencide across the border at night into Zambia. I hadn't known that the genocides had stretched all the way through the congo to the Zambian border! He recommended I read a book, Blood Rivers... tells about the history of it, i guess. Knowing what it's about, I don't think I'll recommend it to anyone until I read it.
Today i did surgeries with Dr. Woodfield all day, fourteen procedures including another circumcision, two tubal Ligations, a Gasonoscopy, an examination of the urethra, two urethral obstructions, two lymph node TB biopsies, an inguinal skin tag, a sarcoma biopsy, a breast abscess, an amputation, and a few others. I also met the doctors youngest son Peter, who has quite the energy and quite the imagination! The doctor and his wife were kind enough to provide me with lunch while we worked morning to night, and then a snack for the way home! I also found out that I might know the doctor's niece from TMC... Rebecca Woodfield. Maybe!
Happy late 'your' day to all you fathers! The world wouldn't get very far without fathers, I'm sure.
Happy 'your' day to everyone else too - I love you all and miss you all so much! Though, if we were talking to each other in person, I assuredly wouldn't say it quite like that. But be assured that I indeed do love you all and miss you all very much!