Monday, August 06, 2007
Bundibugyo Travel Trials
Seven of our team members packed their daypacks for a 48 hour sojourn to southern Sudan yesterday (Michael & Karen Masso, Kevin Bartkovich, Kim Stampalia, Bethany Ferguson, Pat Abbott, & Jennifer). Heading for Mundri (a solid possibility for the site of WHM’s next Team to be launched) to assess the needs, scout out alliances, and even explore potential living situations. Michael managed to finagle a unique itinerary to southern Sudan, avoiding altogether a return to Entebbe which is usually necessary to clear Immigration. Instead, MAF agreed to fly from Bundibugyo directly to Arua (Uganda’s northernmost airstrip) where they would re-fuel and an Immigration officer would check passports there. A beautiful and efficient plan…which did not account for rain. Sunday saw a record rainfall for Bundibugyo. By Monday morning our little grass airstrip had standing water in several places. Last November, one of MAF’s Cessna 210s got stuck in the mud on the grass airstrip. With that memory vividly in mind, MAF radioed that they would land at the airstrip near Karugutu’s Semiliki Safari Lodge…two hours drive from our airstrip. So, our seven adventurers (plus the five Pillsburys, Michael’s sisters’ family) riding atop Michael’s pickup truck, traversed the Rwenzoris. They found two MAF planes waiting, one for the Sudan travelers and one for the Pillsbury family who headed back to Entebbe after their visit. Jennifer called from Arua to say that they cleared Immigration without a problem. So, as they say in the spy movies, our intrepid travelers are “going dark.” We’ll have no communication from them until they return Wednesday afternoon. Pray that we wouldn’t be in darkness (and wetness), but that the sun would shine so that our air field could dry up and allow them to land near home (and avoid that extra two hours of road travel) tomorrow.