Sunday, 28 August 2011

Busiest week...

It's been a crazy last few weeks, but I can finally get back to my blogging! My time in the Purser's hot seat has been challenging, but good. I have certainly been stretched in many different ways, and the number one positive outcome from this time is that I have learned that I can actually do this role if I am called upon to do it.

This last week was perhaps one of my most challenging weeks. It all started on Monday afternoon when I was across the river at Lungi seeing the 15 departing crew check-in for their Brussels Airlines flight. I was at the airport having some passports re-stamped and I was also there to see a very good friend return to Mercy Ships.

I was able to do my Purser business and I was standing with Pastor Mark and Bridget when an overhead announcement was made that the incoming flight SN 225 from Brussels and Banjul was cancelled. A rock had hit the engine as the plane was taking off from Banjul to Freetown and they had to ground the plane. Long story short, our 15 departures had to head back to the ship that night and our arrivals - including my friend - were stranded in Banjul.

Having heard what had happened, I am so thankful that all on the plane in Banjul were all right. The plane was speeding along, about to take-off, when the incident occurred and could have been much worse, had they got even a little further down the runway. As it was, they were able to stop just before the very end of the tarmac. God was definitely watching over that plane! The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33: 27.)

We expected that the next day the flight would come again - after a technician was sent to fix the plane - but alas the plane was still deemed unsafe for flight and was grounded another night. This after we'd sent our departures across the river for a second time. They returned to the ship again in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Wednesday saw many of our departing crew switch to British Midland International - which flies direct to London Heathrow. A small number remained with SN Brussels and the plane in Banjul was repaired and finally landed in the early hours of Thursday morning. I was there at the ferry terminal to meet the arrivals and my good friend, whose arrival at the ship had been delayed over two days. They were very happy to finally make it to the ship!

So that was my busy week - trying to liaise with Brussels Airlines and keep our crew aware of the very fluid situation we were facing. It was a challenge, but praise God it all worked out. And now that the Staff Purser is back from his vacation, I can breathe again and settle back into the role of Assistant Purser - phew!

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