we did not hit the other plane

We did not hit the other plane, but we did damage the plane. We were starting down the runway, feeling like we were getting ready to take off and suddenly the brakes were hit hard and we were screeching down the runway.

The pilot says,“Hi there folks. Our take off clearance was suddenly revoked.”

A minute later,“Ends up anther plane had to circle around and was in our departure path. So we are just going to circle around the runway and do this again”

Yep, a pretty good thing we aborted that take off.

As we are once again ready to take off, the pilot comes back on and says, “Due to technical difficulties, we need to head back to have something checked out.”

A minute later,”When we aborted our take off, seems a hydraulic line was broken, which is leaking fluid on hot brakes creating some smoke. So, don’t be alarmed by the fire truck coming to check things out to make sure it all stays under control.”

So we end up chilling in the plane. And a bit later the pilot comes back on with my favorite line of the day,”There might be a bus coming out to get you or they might tow the plane to a gate. I honestly don’t know. Folks, this hasn’t happened before.”

I love his honesty.

We ended up taking a bus in and we are all going to get on a new plane soon. If all goes well, four hours after our original departure, we will all be off again. With the same pilot and crew. I have to admit, I am ok, even happy, about that. At the end of the day, we did not hit a plane, fly with damaged equipment, and all along the way, they were honest about the situation. Another story for the books.


rain on the porch

My first week here, I had saw a lot of sun and the days were hot. Then the rains came. There has been some sun, but there has been more fog and cloud cover and afternoon rains. This was taken on the porch – the porch rails reflected in the water gathering. With this storm there was some fantastic thunder and lightening too.

working from rwanda

This post was written for Blood:Water Mission and was originally posted HERE.

For two weeks, I am working from Rwanda. Nashville has been unusually cold this week, and Kigali unusually hot. With temperatures over 90 F each afternoon, I find myself thankful for low humidity and wishing for an afternoon shower – or maybe a fan. Here we live with the climate – hot or cold – there is nothing to change the impact of the weather save opening or closing some windows. But this is not a post about the weather – it is a post about working here. It is just hard to separate the two when I my mind is melted and I am in need of a shower.

Normally I visit our African partners to collect stories, talk about work completed or yet to be done, and build relationships. This  trip is something a bit different – while doing the above, the focus is on preparing for a training next week. Training manuals have been translated (not by me), copies printed, materials gathered, and plans for implementation have been made. The rest of the time I am sitting here on my laptop doing my work as per normal. No, I did not have to be here this week. I could have flown in at last minute and not helped with the details. But then I would have missed so many opportunities – to help, to learn, to teach, and to be blessed.

In the coming months we will be talking more about how Blood:Water Mission is in true partnership with our local partners. This is just a piece of that. Choosing to work alongside rather than zip in at the last minute. And so, every afternoon when my body is caked with a layer of sweat and my mind is melted and does not want to work, I am thankful that I get to be here, to work alongside our amazing African partners.

faiths standing together in egypt

I have been watching the news from Egypt – as I travel mostly through my twitter feed thanks to Al Jazeera – and there are a couple headlines that have stood out in my mind, things that make me proud of humanity.

In the early days of protests in Cairo, I heard about Christians who surrounded Muslims so that they could say their prayers without being disturbed. Today I read about Muslims surrounding a Coptic mass at Tahrir square. In this moment, I want to take a step away from the politics and the protest and the violence and the lack of free speech to celebrate these people. In a time that could become religiously charged, these Egyptians chose to stand alongside their Christian or Muslim brothers and sisters. I find incredible hope in these acts and a lesson that I wish the world would hear. Though our faiths may be different, we can stand together in dignity and in hope.

Where I am presently staying in Rwanda, I can hear the Muslim call to prayer. It is off in the distance and I find it beautiful – an instant reminder of my childhood in Egypt and an ever-present reminder to lift my thoughts in prayer. Today my prayer is that stories like these will continue to happen, and that they might spread like wildfire.

Please forgive me for the lack of details or links about these incidents in Egypt- my internet is slow and limited. If you can provide a link for others to read about these, please leave it in a comment to this post.

on the road again

This post finds me on the road again – sitting in the Atlanta airport on my first Africa trip of 2011. Last night I had a most fantastic burger with a side of laughter with friends. (If you have never had a burger in Africa, all I can say is that they do not measure up. At all.)  I am headed to Rwanda for two weeks and then a couple of days of vacation on the Kenya coast. You will be hearing more about what is going on in Rwanda next week, so I wanted to provide a short update on the cave adventure that isn’t.

Remember all the talk about the cave adventure in March? (See previous post.) It was going to be a grand, crazy adventure into the second largest cave in the United States. We hunted for it and were training for it. But it is no more – at least not for now. Ends up that the cave has actually been closed for the last one and a half years due to white nose syndrome, and they just decided to keep it closed until May at which point they will reevaluate. (If you have not heard about it, it is worth reading about because lots and lots of bats are dying. Check out this link.) No sign was posted, so we had no clue when we went into the cave last. But, now we know. As a scientist, I have to support the decision.

I guess it means that it is time to cook up another grand adventure. Or two. For now I am off to Rwanda to live a quiet life in a quiet city for two weeks.