By Salome Maree


We flew from Entebbe, in Uganda to Kananga in the DRC for a charter flight. We checked fuel availability three times before departure.

On the way to Kananga, the ATC started arguing over the air, in who's airspace we really were and who we needed to talk to. By the time we arrived at Kananga, they were still embroiled in a heated debate.

On arrival at Kananga, it was revealed that there was only a tiny bit of Jet A1 left, right at the bottom of the bowser and an AN2 will be flying in fuel drums for us the next morning, so we were stranded for the night.

The captain asked around and we were told that the monastery in town would be the best place to stay over. The captain hired one of the locals with a car and we bundled into the car with two other locals to be driven into town to the monastery. The captain left me at the monastery, thinking I would be relatively safe there, while he went exploring to try and find us something that could resemble dinner. Waiting for the captain's return, I had a conversation with one of the fathers of the monastery. The father said that they are here to help the poor, tend to the sick and feed the hungry. During the conversation he mentioned that they are not allowed to be married or be with a woman as that is part of their faith.

The captain eventually returned with a couple of tins of bully beef which turned out to be our dinner for the night.

We were assigned two rooms. The captain's room had a tiny mirror, about the size of a matchbox and I had a room without one. We were warmly invited to breakfast the next morning and then everybody retired to their rooms for the night. Although clean and neat, when you lie down on the bed you were staring at your toes. The rest of your body would by missing - you were almost lying in a U shape.

After breakfast, which consisted of two hard boiled eggs and a bit of spinach, it became time to pay for our accommodation for the night. The father insisted that the captain's room was one of the luxury ones because it has the mirror and charged us $5 more. I innocently requested a receipt so that I could take it back to our operations manager.

The father started rummaging through the heap of stuff on his desk for his receipt book. Lifting a book here and lifting up a book there and 'ploeps', out of the blue, a black lacy G-string falls on the floor. He nonchalantly, steps on it and slides it under the table with his foot. Unfortunately for him, I saw it.

I had all my days not to burst out laughing, especially after the serious conversation the previous night, stating very clearly, that they were not allowed to get married or be with a woman.

I signed the receipt with a big struggle keeping a straight face.

Once I reached the captain's room, I burst out laughing. Through fits of laughter, I told him the story and he folded over double, roaring with laughter.

Once we got back to the airfield, the ancient looking AN2 arrived with our drums of fuel. Ö.eeeemm.. on the drum it clearly stated AVGAS with an expiry date of ten years prior. Unscrewing the caps, the well-known smell of AVGAS wafted out the drums and the fuel had the distinct blue colour. We took the hard decision to refuel with just enough AVGAS so that we could at least reach Entebbe again.

That night, safely back in Entebbe, sitting on the stoep, watching the fish eagles in the dead tree across the road, we could not help but laugh about this story of Kananga on a G-String.

Your next adventure will be taking us to paradise, well, almost.

I would like to wish you a Festive Season full of light and laughter for you and your family.

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