Coming in, 12:30 Flight
A 12:30 flight like mentioned in Toto’s hit song “Africa” doesn’t sound too bad when it’s in the middle of the day. As for me, it couldn’t be any more backwards. I am currently sitting at the Amsterdam airport somehow still managing to keep my eyes open from the mixture of lack of sleep and jet lag. Soon, I’ll connect with the other individuals accompanying me on this journey. For now, I’m thinking about the time ahead of me. I don’t think it has quite settled in just yet that my next two months will be spent in Uganda.
Saying my last-minute farewells to family before my journey begins.
Not once did I feel uncertain about this whole opportunity. Well, that was true until I walked away from my family at the airport. That uneasy feeling stayed with me for the next two hours or so until I found my seat on the plane to Amsterdam.
I sat next to a mother and her two children, and our plane ride began with small talk conversation. I quickly realized the place these three called home is actually the very place I was heading. As time went on, I began to enjoy the company of these three more and more, even as we entered the 4-year-old daughter’s talented singing portion of our flight. My personal favorite song of hers was what I would call the “llama song.” It only endured for about five minutes or so, but as you could probably guess it consisted of the word “llama” being sang over and over in different tones, pitches and speeds. All songs aside, the three brought me relief as I remembered so many individuals telling me that the people will be some of the friendliest and welcoming people you will ever meet. I was experiencing that before I even had my feet on the ground.
So many things have gone into this moment that I know is just one plane ride away. The preparation leading up to now, through phone calls, emails and what seems like millions of questions asked on my behalf, has been overwhelming at times. Knowing that I can ask all the questions in the world but still not truly understand all the ins and outs of Ugandan life, culture and agriculture makes me anxious for these two months ahead of me. I am very excited for these next two months and thankful for all of the support and prayers of those helping to make it possible.
Ryan Danker is a 2017 Field of Hope intern working out of Lira, Uganda, this summer where he helps manage irrigation systems for Field of Hope’s partners. Danker is a senior agribusiness major at Oklahoma State University. He is originally from Wellston, Oklahoma.