I love flying over the grasslands. It’s fun because I can really see what’s going on down there. Zebras and giraffes…
herds of wildebeest and kudu…
and even some elephants.
When Jack and I are over the bush, all I can see are the tops of the trees.
But I wouldn’t want to crash in the grasslands, because there’s some dangerous animals down there, too—like lions and rhinos.
Right now, we’re over a huge wildlife park where the animals are protected. I can see African rangers in jeeps speeding along below.
Once we helped a ranger who had been chasing poachers. They hurt him and took off.
But the ranger was okay after we got him to a hospital. Poachers are bad guys who hurt animals.
Today, we’re heading for an orphanage where the kids are in trouble. As we get closer and closer, I remember a time when we helped by bringing some doctors to this area. There was a huge fire, and everything was smoky and red down below. The firemen were working hard. But today there’s a much different problem….
It’s been raining and raining and raining. Well, it is the rainy season, so that’s normal, but a large dam let loose. A dam holds the water back— when it breaks, water floods everywhere.
Ah, here we are. I see the river now.
And there is water everywhere—including all around the orphanage. There’s kids up on the roof! They must be scared!
We’re going to land further on since I’m not a floatplane. Oh, they’re rescuing the children. They’ll probably bring them by boat to us. Then we can fly them to safety.
Whew! That was quite a job. We took a load of wet, tired kids to our base, and they’re all safe and dry and eating a nice lunch. Now we’re coming back to get more. We just passed my friend, Herbie the Helicopter.
He was able to land right on the roof. He’s taking a bunch of kids to another mission house that has lots of room….
Here we are—back again. Uh oh, looks like trouble!
“What’s going on?” asked Jack, over the radio.
“The water’s changed course—” said Roger, the head guy at the orphanage. “It’s going towards the Christian school.”
The jeeps and trucks were suddenly all heading that way. We watched from above as they beat the flood. They gathered up the kids, who were running every which way to get away from the flood. Kids and teachers piled into the old truck.
It was just a little Christian school. There weren’t many people.
“Do you need us to take some kids?” asked Jack.
“No. We’ll take them to out this way. It’s safe.”
I could see the narrow twisting road through the bush.
It was far away from the river. In the distance I could see a little town where they’d find a place to stay.
“Wait,” shouted someone over the radio. “We’re missing some kids! They’re not all here!”
“Stand by,” said Roger.
We circled round for a few minutes. I saw the truck leave with the kids, but most of the adults decided to stay and help.
Roger finally came back on the radio. “We’re sending out a rescue party. There’s two boys that are missing. Can you see anything from up there? One of the missionary kids and a businessman’s son. About twelve years old.”
We had plenty of gas so we checked out the area. All the kids had run when they saw the water coming, so the boys could be anywhere. I hoped they hadn’t run into the bush. They would be harder for us to see.
We also hoped they hadn’t ended up in the water. We went back and forth along the river and flooded area. We checked the flat grasslands where many animals had stampeded to get away from the waters. Roger called from the bush to say they hadn’t seen the boys anywhere.
“Wait! Look!” shouted Jack. He grabbed up the radio. “Roger, you there? I’ve got them, I think.”
Sure enough, I saw the smoke. We zoomed down closer. It was them! They had started a small fire, hoping someone would notice. They were jumping, and shouting, and waving their arms at us.
Jack looked for a place to land but it was just too rough. The storm had left all kinds of debris—branches and small trees and rocks were scattered everywhere. And the rescue team couldn’t get to them either. There was a flood of water between them.
This was a job for Herbie.
Soon the helicopter came into sight, landing near the boys. They had put out the fire carefully, and were climbing into the chopper. We all met up at the little town, for we needed gas by now.
The boys had joined the others and were hungrily eating sandwiches and cookies.
“Were we glad to see you!” they told Jack. “We got caught in a flooded stream—not the river, but it was bad enough. We still thought we were going to drown. But God helped us. We were able to grab onto trees and climb up the bank.”
Jack got something to eat, too, then we headed back, with the boys waving at us.
Whew, what a day. It’s always good to get home to my hangar.
I wonder what tomorrow will bring….
The bush-short for the bush country
Chopper-another name for a helicopter
Orphan-children without moms and dads
Orphanage-a place where these children live
Floatplane-plane that’s able to land on water
Kudu and Wildebeest-animals that eat grass like deer. They have different types of horns.