Monday, December 22, 2008

"Home" for Christmas

I stuff the last piece of bread still from breakfast in Jayden’s mouth as I step into the gator. It’s still early in the morning but we are running late so as soon as I’m sitting and hanging on, Jason starts it up and off we go. The roads are extremely bumpy and filled with potholes so I hold on tightly with one arm as I clutch Jayden with the other. This little vehicle has no functioning seat belts so it’s important to hang on tight. The good thing is, is that there are almost no other vehicles on the road here in Pignon, and the roads are bumpy so you can’t go fast even if you wanted too. Sand and grit blow over the plastic windshield and I’m thankful for the sunglasses I’m wearing. Here in Pignon my sunglasses are multi-functional. They keep the sun out of my eyes but even more importantly the dust out of my contacts. We’re on our way to the airport to catch a flight back to Port-au-Prince where we will spend Christmas, but getting ready took a little longer then planned. However, since we are the only passengers on the MAF flight back to Port-au-Prince I highly doubt that Mark Williams, the program director and Pilot for the flight would leave without us. I smile and tap Jason on the arm. “Don’t worry,” I say, “he won’t leave without us”, but Jason can’t hear me over the din of the motor so he just shrugs and smiles. I have to laugh! You would think we were missing an international flight or something the way we were acting. I relax and let the early morning sunrise warm my now rather dusty hair. I don’t care if it’s dusty I think to myself, the wind tugging at my clothes, the warm sun, the palm trees scraping against the blue sky…it’s all so beautiful and I just take a moment to soak it all in. Fifteen minutes later we arrive at the airport and find out that MAF hasn’t even arrived yet. We still have plenty of time so we explore the tiny airport. It consists of one very large grass strip runway and a small airport building, if you can call it that. It’s a small beautifully painted cement structure and probably the only building in Pignon that actually has a tile floor. The door just consists of a metal gate and the breeze blows right in. The only thing inside are some chairs to sit on and a bathroom. A little later we hear the whir or an airplane approaching so we go outside to look. Sure enough, there comes Mark. The little plane circles overhead and then comes in for landing. It lands smoothly and minutes later passengers and cargo unload. Then we put our few things in the plane and climb in. Before long we are airborne. The flight back to Port-au-Prince is beautiful. I stare at never ending rolling mountains and valleys in all shades of yellow, orange, green and brown. Glistening rivers reflect the sun rays and sparkle brightly. Cattle graze on the slopes, and every now and then we see the thatched roofs of dozens of little huts. After 20 minutes we catch sight of the ocean and the sprangling city of Port-au-Prince. As we prepare for landing Mark slows down the plane as much as he can and the stall warning starts to go off. I peer infront of me and see a large 747 sitting in the middle of the runway. Puzzled I look at Mark, but he appears calm and continues to advance. Seconds later the 747 has turned and left the runway giving us plenty of time to land. I sigh and relief. As the plane advances closer and closer to the runway a sudden gust of wind lifts us up and I brace myself as we land with a jolt. We then proceed to taxi to the terminal and are greeted by the other MAF pilots. Home for the holidays!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Will!
    Congratulations on your birthday! My very best wishes for the years to come! I guess you never felt this temperature on your birthday before, eh? :-) Have a nice day!.. hope you won't miss your family too much!
    Thinking of you...
    Love, Mary