Thursday, January 21, 2010

What does one do at an airport for more than 6 hours?

Around 8am this morning I arrived - again - at Kavumu Airport. The plane was - of course - delayed. Instead of flying at 8am, it was delayed from 8am to 10am, 10am to 11am, 11am to 1pm, and then finally at 240pm the plane arrived. So what does one do at an UN military airport for 6 hours and forthy minutes? Actually I had quite a good time:

Firstly, I helped a bit. This morning we left Bukavu with 7 people, a car and a large truck filled with medicines destined for Minembwe. The latter is a bigger village in South Kivu's territoire Fizi where the IRC has a base. The week before I arrived in the Congo fighting had intensified around Minembwe so the IRC had been evacuated. After three weeks it was slowly being staffed and stuffed again; the latter with among others medicines. To get it there the IRC had hired a plane. so the truck had to be unloaded, the plane had to be loaded, etc. Because only half of the truck fitted in the plane, the plane returned after two hours for the other half. This was fun.

Secondly, I socialized and looked around. There were a few more expats waiting for the ECHO flight: a doctor from Medices Sans Frontiers and the country director of Search for Common Ground. We talked a lot. I also looked around as these airports are cool: many UN personel helicopters, UN cargo planes, and even some UN helicopter gunships landed and took off. Also, DRC government troops (the FARDC) arrested somebody. Before they handcuffed the man he first had to take off his shoes, which were then tied to the handcuffs. Why? Is it to discourage him from running away? Interesting.

Thirdly, I worked. I had charged my laptop the evening before (I already saw something like this coming) and sat in the shade for several hours.

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