Mucombeze – Caia – Mucombeze
What an historic event! Today I’m taking off for the first time from the Mucombeze (SAM Ministries mission) airstrip to do a mission flight. Many times after working a full day in the heat of the African sun, I was standing at the end of the runway 17 imagining taking off one day with our Cessna from this airstrip. Taking off to another destination to support and minister.
After three days of preparation for this flight, informing Government, Civil Aviation, Airport authority, Police, Pastors and many more, I’m now ready at the end of runway 17 to push the throttle forward. Pastor Ricardo (our Leadership training coordinator) is accompanying me to Caia (on the Zambeze river) were we will meet about 20 pastors who await study books for their extension schools. A quick check of our airspeed indicator shows the necessary speed to rotate into the sky and the wings take us up like an eagle. Not very high though, because of the clouds I decide to stay below them and so are we enjoying our one hour low level flight to Caia following the purple mark on our GPS. The auto pilot now does the job after leveling off and it gives me time to look out for elephants on our way. Pastor Ricardo explains that there are no elephants in this area only birds which we just past a few seconds ago. Mount Gorongosa is a good landmark which we have now on our right side and we are both very thankful being in an airplane and not down there in a car driving through the unsafe area of the rebels. We still have a little bit time before I prepare for our approach. To keep Pastor Ricardo awake, it looks like he is enjoying our flight, I start to explain him some of our instrumentation in the airplane, in Portugues! Now I have a good copilot if I decide to have a little nap. Soon we see the Zambezi River and we can make out the runway of Caia on the horizon. Everything is set for our low overfly to chase goats, cows, pics and maybe elephants from the runway – but there were only people walking with loads of fire wood or water buckets on their heads. The loud noise of our engine alarmed the pedestrians and the whole village. After a smooth landing we are welcomed by 20 pastors from the region, the police commandant and other government officials. We don’t feel that important but appreciate the welcome. Surrounded by many spectators we start to unload our precious cargo and Pastor Ricardo hands out the books for the different schools. I take the chance to share a word of encouraging using small litchi trees.
They still look good after our flight, thankfully. After three hours on the ground and of course after taking some pictures, my Copilot and I, we are getting ready for our flight back. Taxing away to the airstrip we see only very happy and thankful faces of pastors. RPM good, airspeed alive and the ground releases our wheels and we are on our way home. Home to Mucomebeze, what a successful day we have had. In only a few hours we did the work it would have taken us two days by car. Now I can relax as the airplane heads home avoiding rain cells but unfortunately I can’t have a nap – my copilot, Pastor Ricardo, is already napping.