Blog 2/2: Well laugh at this one day im sure...

Greetings all!

It has been sometime now since I last blogged. To be honest, my summer in Toronto had coexisted with a bit less of a contemplative mannerism compared to my previous 5 months in Africa. It's unfortunate how writing and reading seemed to fall in my list of priorities as I delved back into busy scheduling and a hectic pace of life. Definitely need to challenge myself to slow down and spend more time in quiet solitude upon arrival back in Toronto. I don't especially like the person I turn into when I am in the city. I'm not saying my living habits are bad necessarily, they are just not as "calm" and less conducive to "knowing God" I guess. (Psalm 46:10)

Well, after 4 days of solid traveling I am now back here in Pader amongst my Acholi friends and family and feel right at home once again. The night I arrived, I went for a brief stroll under the starry night sky and all the chaos/busyness/noise of my four months in Toronto just seemed to subside. Africa, especially Northern Uganda has a way a way of doing that for me. As a lot of you know I am here on a shorter yet more specific mission involving a medical team from my home church Bayview Glen. We departed Toronto on the 4th of September with Dr. Kenneth Liew, May Tao and Joyce Tulloch (both registered nurses) and 12 bags of medical gear.

Let me rewind a little bit and talk about an eventful traveling experience the four of us had enroute to Entebbe, Uganda. Apparently the infamous Hurricane Earl that was terrorizing the East coast did not constitute a cancelled flight for those flying through/over it. We had literally four hours of solid turbulence as we flew over the vast Atlantic ocean. I had a couple of good movies cued for the trip yet i couldn't take my eyes off the right wing out my window which I was almost certain was going to at any moment break off and send us all down for a better look at the hurricane from the waters perspective. Morbid thoughts, I know, but I couldn't suppress my wild imagination especially during those hours. All passengers breathed a sigh of relief as the plane screeched to a halt at Heathrow airport. Phew! It couldn't get much worse than that we all said to one another! Or so we thought...

We did our best to find comfort and solitude in one of the worlds busiest airports but ended up compromising on both and settling for a nice sleep on the marble floor in a vacant gate. We came to realize that no matter how long our initial warm bodies cuddled that marble floor it was still going to be cold. After we were content with our short, disagreeable sleeps and a quick bite to eat Joyce Tulloch wiped the floor with the three of us in travel scrabble! May, Ken and I were intellectually demoralized! Boy, can that lady scrabble.

Our 11 hour layover passed slowly yet surely and before we knew it we were being called over the PA to board the plane for the next 9 hours to Entebbe, Uganda. Our pilot confidently addressed us all in his proper English accent assuring us that it would be a smooth flight into our East African destination. Eight out of the nine hours were relatively pleasant until we crossed the threshold of central Africa into the thick of the East African rainy season. We soon found ourselves cutting through some thick white clouds which began to turn a shade of grey. While sipping our tea and coffee and munching on a light breakfast this delightful flight swiftly took an ominous turn. Flashes of lightening accompanied by roaring thunder surrounded us in every direction. The plane shook left, then right in what seemed to be an attempt to dodge each bolt of lightening. Ken and I were seated next to each other with May and Joyce fastened to the seats in front of us. Joyce was in the middle of adding some milk and sugar to her coffee and decided it was probably best to dump the cup on the floor so it wouldn't end up in her lap. Ken clinched the back of the seat in front of him and uneasily mentioned to me that he wasn't too fond of what was transpiring. I tried to keep my composure and gently placed my arm on his to ensure him that everything was going to be fine. We then heard a booming crash which sounded like every sound i'd heard in hollywood movies where the plane ends up crashing. Next thing I knew my arm was wrapped around Ken and my initial endeavour to deescalate his fear turned into an instant personal fright that unquestionably exceeded Kens! The overhead luggage compartments began to fly open and luggage was spewing out. The pilot with an urgent voice told the cabin crew to lock in. The plane abruptly ascended, then descended with the engine sounding as though it were about to conk out at any moment. Our stomachs turning with every sudden change in altitude. I made my peace with God and later found out that each person on the team did as well.

Eventually the lightening subsided and we broke through the thick cumulonimbus clouds and into clear skies. A symphony of clapping and cheers as the plane screeched to a halt on the runway! We made it...

Just a bump in the road on our long journey to Pader, northern Uganda!

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