'We took off from Kalokol in our Cessna 207 about mid-afternoon and headed south. Dr Dick Anderson of AIM and Pastor Peter (an African Pastor) were on board, and we were also carrying 300lbs of food for the schoolchildren and teacher at Nakurio.
Story by Les Brown, Photos from the MAF archive.
'Dr. Anderson taught the people some hymns in their own language and then followed with a short message.'
Our flight took us 20 minutes to cover 50 miles - a journey that would have taken the best part of a day by Land-Rover!'
Below us appeared the little grass-roofed school and metal hut, which was the teacher's house. The small airstrip lay quite near but was extremely difficult to see as its colour blended with that of the surrounding desert. However, by flying over the top of it, one could just make out the piles of bleached bones which acted as runway markers, and eventually we touched down at the end of the strip. After taxying to the school building we offloaded the food, plus our own camping equipment and medical boxes.'
Dr Anderson set up clinic in the school building, using a small folding table that we had brought along. It was the only piece of furniture in the school apart from several small tree trunks lying parallel to each other on the soft, sandy floor, making seats for the children.
Soon quite a crowd had gathered so it was decided to stop work and move outside for a short evangelistic meeting. Dr Anderson taught the people some hymns in their own language and then followed with a short message. Pastor Peter continued to talk to the people while Dr Anderson returned to his patients.
A couple of young warriors appeared on the scene with spears in their hands. These were Epiot’s sons, and they had come to invite us to their father’s village for the evening – 3 miles away. Epiot, an ex-chief, had been twice admitted to the mission hospital for surgery, and had thus become a good friend of the doctors,
and also had much respect for him.
How, having heard of the aeroplane flying overhead, he had immediately dispatched two of his sons with the invitation.
Just before dark, we set off on the 3-mile walk following closely behind our guides. The country is quite featureless and it makes one wonder how they find their way. There were no villages within sight of the school, although here and there we saw some camels and goats, indicating that there were people somewhere. We crossed a dry river bed and came across a few trees but from then onwards the only vegetation was the odd thorn bush.
A little over an hour later we saw the outline of a number of grass huts set against the darkening sky. As we got closer I recognised Epiot kneeling on his skin mat in front of his hut. By the light of the fire, we could see several of his wives sitting in a semi-circle on the soft sand round about him. At his right hand was a middle-aged son who hopped around doing this and that when so commanded.
As we appeared Epiot, in his jovial way, gave a warm greeting. A wife was dispatched into the house and reappeared with an old wooden chair, which was placed for the doctor to sit on.
After an hour of conversation, Dr. Anderson asked if he could speak to the people. Wives and children were sent to call their neighbours and soon a little crowd had gathered round the Chief’s hut, under the starry sky. They really loved to learn and sing hymns in their own language, and they were outwardly very responsive to the word of God.
It was time to walk home, and still, there was no moon. How our guide found the way back I do not know! There were no mosquitos around so we slept to the leeward side of the school. At sunrise we found that true to form, Epiot’s gift of a big fat sheep was standing against the thatched wall of the school, waiting to be persuaded into the back of the plane, and flown back to Lokori.