All photos and text are property of Dave Forney and may not be used without express permission.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Copilot Hudson, South Sudan Soccer, Goodbye to our Friend

A few weeks ago my son, Hudson, got to ride along with me for a day of flying throughout Uganda. 



Hudson dreams of being a pilot one day... possibly a missionary pilot like his dad. He's got a real knack for technical things and frankly, I think he's gonna be a great pilot!


Hudson got to see much of Uganda that day, as we flew to seven different villages throughout the country. Here we are in Kalongo. Can you see Hudson in the copilot seat?



And here we are in Kaabong, in far northeastern Uganda, where we frequently fly IMB, AIM, and others.


Recently I did an overnight flight to Tonj, South Sudan, for our friends from every Village ministry. It so happens that when I was there, they were celebrating the two year anniversary of the radio station that Every Village operates from Tonj. As part of the celebration, the Every Village radio station had sponsored a community-wide soccer (what the rest of the world calls football) tournament, and the evening I was there was the championship game.


There was a huge crowd of people surrounding the entire dirt pitch, watching intently and cheering their favorite players and team.



It was great fun! I've played football since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, growing up in Brazil, so I had a great time, along with everyone else, watching these guys play some great ball.

After the game, as the sun was setting, the entire crowd gathered around for the awards ceremony.


The folks from the Every Village radio station gave a few speeches (here, our good friends Andrew and Daniel are speaking) talking about the radio station, who they are, and what they do and why, and about peace for the country, and things like that. Then, together with the Governor, and others, they handed out certificates, and finally the trophy. It was fun to see so much excitement and enthusiasm.


Last week we said goodbye to our really good Ugandan friend Carole, who has been working for MAF Uganda for many years. Turns out she is moving to America! We hosted (together with some of her friends and family) a going-away party, at our house. Carole is the one in the lower, center, in pink.



We will really miss Carole, but we are excited for her new life in the U.S., and for what God has in store for her there. Here's a nice shot of Joy and Carole.


And here's a shot of Joy with our good friend, Evelyn (who is our MAF Uganda receptionist) and her sister Sheila.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Face Art, Family, Archives, and other Random Stuff

In case it's not obvious from my very sporadic blog posts of late, the past few months have been very, very busy for us.  For the past three and a half weeks, it's actually just been me and these three rugrats holding down the fort here in Uganda (this is actually an old picture from last May b/c I don't have a current one of the three of them together.)  

Thanks to our good friends, Brady and Heather Thornton, and their church, Life Fellowship Family Bible Church, our older two kids had the amazing opportunity to fly back to the U.S. to participate in a youth program in CO. We were actually willing to let them fly back to the U.S. on their own--just the two of them--but because of high surcharges added to the ticket fees for unaccompanied minors flying internationally, that was just too expensive. Then, Joy's family offered to help her get a ticket to fly to OR, to be there for the birth of her sister's baby, and just to hang out for a few weeks and recharge her batteries. So, the three of them flew together to the U.S., and then Joy stayed in OR, while our older two kids flew on their own from there to CO. Britt and Hannah had an absolutely incredible time with the Thorntons and their church youth group!  And Joy's time in Oregon was really special and rejuvenating.  


Meanwhile, I've been very busy flying full-time here, and trying to play the role of a working, single dad to the three younger ones. They've been great, and we've had a lot of fun in the evenings and weekends when I'm home.

So what do the boys do when the women are out of the house?--well, one of the fun things we did was some fancy 'Face Art'. This is not something that is generally recommended when the wife is home, so this was the perfect opportunity. Starting last November, I decided to lose my razor, knowing that I was going to be doing some fill-in flying assignments where it was a lot colder, and the beard would come in handy.  Over the next few months the beard sort of took on a life of it's own, until sometime around March I realized that I was starting to look like a flying Sasquatch. When I finished one short-term flying assignment, and returned to fly in Uganda again, I realized that some of my passengers seemed a wee bit nervous about my 'professional appearance'.  So I took some scissors and did some shearing.

But frankly, it's a pain to trim a beard, and knowing I'd be flying again in the colder region, I simply let it go again until I returned from my next assignment at the end of May. By then, it was getting hot here in Uganda, and I decided it was time to get rid of the yak fur that was growing on my face. Joy had just left for the U.S., and my three younger boys, who were here with me in Uganda, begged me to shave it off in 'stages'--one each day for a week. Of course, that sounded like a great idea to me, (what guy doesn't like to create art with his facial hair??) so that's what we did. And yes, I did go out in public each day, and yes, I did fly my passengers while looking like this. Hey, it's art!  Fortunately, the 'Hitler Stache' (AKA "Ugly Dave" in the picture below) fell on a Saturday, so I didn't have to see too many people that day.  Anyway, here is the documentation of all of that wonderful facial art. I hope you enjoy it as much as my boys and I did! Haha.


What else did we do while Joy and the older kids were gone? Well, in addition to lots of laundry, cooking, dishes, feeding animals, etc., we played a lot of outdoor games like Rollers (below) and croquet...


We played a lot of indoor games like Risk (below) and Monopoly...


And we fixed a lot of things around the house, and built some things like this chicken feeder.


On Father's day the boys had helped to make cinnamon buns for breakfast, and they decorated the dining room and made a sign and cards.


In truth, we've had a lot of fun, but we also worked hard--the boys have been home on their own a lot over the past few weeks while I was flying, and they have done an amazing job being responsible to do all of their chores, and keep the house in order. As I was thinking, on Father's day, how blessed I am to be a father to five amazing kids, it occurred to me that they are growing up SO FAST! It seems like just yesterday that we were flying back to Indonesia with two, tiny little bundles of joy (actually they didn't seem too 'joyful' back then, as they seemed to scream a lot). And now look at them!  Anyway, that got me reminiscing, and I looked back and found this family photo taken 10 years ago.


And while I was back there in the old photo files, I saw this one, which reminds me of the jungle flying I did in Indonesia.


And since this is a totally random blog post, I'll just throw in a few current pics... here are some sunrises from my bedroom window this week, here in Uganda.



And now I have to go make breakfast for the boys! 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

View From the Office Window

I've spent two of the past three months helping out with some flying in a different location. Not too shabby a view from my office window hugh? 
















Saturday, May 13, 2017

Water

Water is one of the absolute, life-critical needs that every carbon-based living thing on earth requires. Yet many of us completely take it for granted. Not so in South Sudan!


Available water sources are often far away from peoples' huts and villages.  They must walk a long way (in many cases an hour or more each way) to/from the water source--a journey which can be fraught with danger for the women and kids who are most-typically tasked with this arduous daily chore.


The critical task of getting sufficient water for one's family can take several hours each and every day!


If it's dry season, and/or there is no local river or stream nearby (which is often the case) then the most likely source of water will be a hand-dug well, like the ones pictured above and below.


A hand-dug well can be quite deep--the water level in the one above is about 60 feet down.


The ladies use whatever water-holding container they can find--old cans, plastic jugs, etc--to which they tie a long rope.  They then toss their water container over the edge, until it splashes down, far below, into the dirty water hidden at the bottom of the dark hole. Then, after their container fills, they pull it up, hand over hand to the top, where they pour it into a larger container. The process is repeated many times over by each person, each day, in order to fill one or more larger container(s), in order to get enough precious water to provide for their family's needs that day. As you can see in the picture below, the ropes cut grooves into the logs (this is extremely hard and dense wood!) that are placed around the edges of the well. I asked, and was told, that this log (below) has been here at this well for at least 20 years!


After all of that hard work, the result is a can of murky (at best) water. As the shallow water at the bottom of the well becomes stirred up, from all the cans dropping in, it get's more and more muddy. Can you imagine spending several hours of your day, each and every day, working so hard for something that is so critical, and yet so easily obtained (and often wasted) by most of us?


In contrast to the above hand-dug wells, the below pictures show bore holes, which produce a much more reliable, clean, source of water, that is also much more easily and quickly obtained through a hand operated pump.



Several organizations we fly throughout Northern and Eastern Uganda, and South Sudan, are focusing on providing reliable, clean water sources, like these, in strategic locations.


Of course, people still have to walk to/from the bore hole, usually carrying their water on their heads.


However, the bore holes are placed in strategic locations that not only make it much safer and quicker for those who are tasked with this daily chore, but also generally help foster strategic relationships between the organization and the local community. And that goes a long way towards building the trust and respect that is required to open doors for the other projects and objectives the organization might have in the area.