Our Story Continues...
A trusted local and friend got us tickets beforehand for the trip to Yida. Naturally we thought, "Great! We'll just show up and walk in." Nope, the airport as usual was in complete disarray. Finally, walking onto the airstrip, we see our plane. Like mentioned in the previous Journal Entry, none of us knew if this thing would fly or land safely. As I take the steps up into the plane, a sense of unease spreads through my body with what felt like fever chills. Those moments when your hair raises on the back of your neck and you feel that something just isn't quite right. Not that I could place what it is, but something didn't feel right with this situation.
I wasn't the first on the plane, there's already a good bit of people that have boarded. I don't have to walk too far to notice that almost all the seats are full. I think back to just sixty seconds before and remember there are at least eight to ten more people outside waiting to board. This isn't going to work. I grab a seat for myself and notice Jake doesn't have one, they've already run out. Great. The flight attendant (or someone, I didn't really see) brings him a stool so he can sit in the aisle. What?? Then I start hearing commotion and yelling up front. Clearly in arabic and I have no idea what they're saying. After minutes of yelling that seemed to stretch into hours while we sit in no air conditioning in the African heat, I ask Pastor Ismail what they're talking about. He then tells me that he snuck on the plane and didn't have a ticket.
How do you sneak onto a plane with no ticket?? If he could get on here who else could have?? Safe is a feeling I have forgotten how to feel. The man eventually gets kicked off the plane and his spot is filled with a ticket holder. Next, the props start spinning and we are taking off toward Yida, leaving behind half a dozen or more people who couldn't fit on the plane. Rather than think about how unsafe we are, I say a quick prayer and go straight to sleep.
I wake up only once to get some water. The plane has cooled down now that we are in the air. Then I doze off again. Next time I wake up, we're landing. I look out the window to take in the lay of the land. There are huts and tents spread as far as my eye can see. Dozens of people and kids gathered around the landing strip awaiting loved ones coming to see them and strangers to help with their luggage.
Welcome to Yida.
In Yida - Journal Entry 4, I will dive into the production of our feature documentary. I realize this is now the third Journal Entry and we just now have landed in Yida. I appreciate your continued reading and patience, this has all been a set up and will be worth it. I assure you. Be on the lookout next week for the continued story of our journey in Yida.