The week at SAMAIR started off just like most weeks. A Monday morning meeting that I manged to miss yet again. Believe it or not, I might be one of the only people who enjoys these team meetings on Mondays. I like getting a feel for the week ahead and we always close with prayer for each other. The reason I was not able to attend was because I was out flying.
Regional elections are taking place on October 3rd and we had been asked to fly a group of people who were trying to get a particular candidate elected. All of the commercial flights were sold out as a result of foul play by the other candidates There are 7 people running for governor of this one province! Unlike the USA that has a two party system, there are many political parties in Peru. This particular candidate we were helping is an Indigenious man who is known and respected by the missionaries who work in this area. That flight was almost 5 hours total but at the end of the day SAMAIR had help to bring about a little more democracy to the jungles of Peru!
On Tuesday we responded to an emergency flight request for a lady who was having complications with her pregnancy. One again SAMAIR was able to deliver (not in the airplane thankfully) and 2 hours later the lady was in the Pucallpa Hospital.
Thursday morning had me flying 1.5 hours out to the community of Tsoroja with 1000 pounds of roofing tin in the airplane. The weather was so hazy I was on instruments for almost the whole flight even though there were no clouds! Arriving at the village, I was invited to stay for lunch by the missionaries who work there. So, in the middle of the jungle, we had a nice lunch and I got to hear about their recent trip to Israel.
Friday was a flight in the float plane to bring two mechanics to the aid of a broken down logging tractor. The team of workers had been trying to fix an exhaust leak and even had resorted to making a gasket out of tin cans that were hammered flat! We were on the ground for 3 hours while the mechanics did their work and I enjoyed sitting on the river bank 50 feet above the river watching the occasional boat pass by on the brown and muddy waters of the Ucayali river.
Saturday was fun day. I was invited over to some friends house to pick mangos and grill chicken wings. We picked over 140 mangos, with me climbing the tree and doing my best impression of a monkey. The wings tasted great and the "special" hot wings sauce from the USA made it even better!
I was the official SAMAIR representative on Sunday for a special church service commemorating 8 years of work performed by nation Peruvians who are translating the Bible into their tribal languages. The service was 3 hours long and I even helped contribute to that length by speaking for 4 minutes on behalf of SAMAIR. During the closing song, I was one of a couple missionaries who were singled out to join in a Shipibo Indian dance! Thankfully no cameras were on scene to capture the moment.
All in all, it was a wacky week with many different experiences! I continue to be amazed at how the airplane can transport me to such far off places and then bring me back again the same day to the very house I left that morning.