Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Flying Home

The journey from Kenya to Sudan once felt unbearably long. My body was not used to the cramped seats of the insect-sized puddle-hoppers lovingly referred to as planes. Now it is.

This flight in --albeit cramped-- went quickly and dare I say... routine?

How does a shuttle to the Northern-most stretch of barren scruff of Kenya become mundane? How can riding a bouncy 4-seater beneath the cumulus cotton-candy clouds ever be run-of-the mill?                              -- Seriously, how?

Nevertheless, this flight stirred nothing in me. No longing. No drive. Nothing but the easy breath of home.

Because of its size, the charter we flew had to stop in Akot --a small village an hour’s flight from Tonj-- for fuel.

Halfway through hand pumping the fuel in to the insect-sized plane, the kids arrived. Dressed in their Monday’s best with blue shorts and a buttoned top,  it was clear they were fresh out of school.

They gathered under the low-hanging wing and volleyed phrases back and forth. Oh how I wish I understood!

I was considerably less interesting than the other backseat passenger, my director’s daughter. The boys kept talking to her, but she refused to engage and they pretended not to care.

Yet when she folded herself into her seat in preparation for departure, they had to get a better look, and a half dozen heads peeked in.

Why did she get to ride the metal bird?

A few minutes later, we were once again air-borne and homeward bound.

Landing in Tonj, I was greeted by dozens more looky-loos --many of which were pregnant-- who welcomed me warmly.

To my surprise, there was also a water truck that had rolled just a few minutes before, tottering on its side in the middle of the main road.

The driver had been speeding and (perhaps) inebriated. He and his passenger were taken to our clinic for evaluation, then arrested later that night by police.

Oh Sudan! It’s nice to be home.