This adventure involves not only flying, but also planning and arranging with ground agents, attending events and meetings, and eating and sleeping properly to make sure I am well-rested and alert. These are all aspects that I enjoy, but one part of Cape to Cape that I particularly like is chatting with the fascinating people I meet along the route. The Loki stop resulted in one such encounter that I want to share with Cape to Cape followers.
This area of Africa is often called “forgotten”. The inhabitants have been neglected, and they struggle to subsist on limited resources.
Two people who have worked to make a difference are Kea Arnlund, a retired Skyways airline and Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) pilot from Sweden, and his lovely wife Birgitta. The Arnlunds have lived here in Loki for 6 years, and have made a tremendous contribution to the local community. MAF is a Christian organization of pilots and light aircraft working to deliver supplies and assistance to some of the poorest and most disaster-stricken places in the world. I am not that religious, but I find MAF’s work impressive indeed.
Kea and Birgitta managed to build a school for 450 children When the Arnlunds came to Loki, schoolchildren sat outside under the trees for their classes. They also built more than 100 latrines – much needed to improve health and sanitation. This kind of work happens all over the world, and most don’t even know that it’s being done.
I was very impressed by the Arnlund’s enthusiasm and the scope of the work they have completed.
Check them out at www.arnlund.org. They need resources to keep the school going. Private initiatives and donations from private persons in Sweden make a difference for so many children. As I understand it, many big donations that are processed through the authorities do not make it to people who live far from the capital. Donating to a private initiative like this gets the support to those who truly need it.
As you saw earlier, I also spent an afternoon at a Trackmark Camp, created by “All Weather Heather” Stewart, an English bush pilot who got her nickname because she often flew in weather conditions that no one else would brave! The Trackmark pool made my day, as did talking to Kea Arnlund about flying small planes in Sudan and Kenya. I got some good tips from Kea about flying into Wilson Airport in Nairobi. “Monastery” and “Camp” are fixed visual positions you are supposed to know… I know now!
The other activity today was fuelling the plane in the morning. This was a 2-hour operation involving two trips to a petrol station. It was a bit smelly from all the petrol, but it is part of the job description..the next day I flew to Wilson.
It was a treat to visit Loki, and to meet the Arnlunds and learn about the fantastic work they have done in “forgotten” Africa!
Tomorrow I’ll be posting about maintenance, with lots of interesting details…aviation fans, take note!