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For more than four years, we had been living in our tribal “round” house. But a tribal house is not the most permanent dwelling. The tribal people we live among are semi-nomadic, so they’re constantly moving. We knew we would have to move and rebuild sometime, and eventually we decided to move up the mountains to a new site. We had to move because our faithful old round house had begun to fall apart—we needed a new house! Also, the tribal people volunteered to begin building an airstrip up at the new site, so we wanted to live near it.
For years our family has trusted the missionary helicopter to bring supplies to us and take us out for emergencies. There was a little grass airstrip that was the nearest airstrip to us, but it would take us an hour and a half just to hike over there to catch a ride on a bush plane. We needed a new and closer airstrip. To us boys, it was like one new, big adventure just waiting up there for us! We love riding in the helicopter. Hudson says about these heli rides, “I never get bored of heli flights; I love the takeoffs the best. But planes—they are always a little boring in comparison.”
Now, there are no paved roads or cars or trucks where we live. So we can’t move the way you can in the United States by loading everything into the back of a moving truck. We needed something else—a helicopter! The morning the helicopter came we were all super excited. The pilot, Erwin, explained to us that we were going to sling load all our stuff up the mountain. We had to spread out a huge net on the ground and load everything on to it, while the heli would hover next to us as the cable was attached. And then the helicopter would take off with its huge burden swaying back and forth far below.
Morgan played up the adventure and claimed that sling loading was rather dangerous: “We were working on the edge of lethal by the time we were through. I’ve never been so close to a hovering heli before, it was three feet off the ground with blades spinning, and we were right next to it holding the net up until we felt the pull on the cable and had to jump back, before it took us up with it!” Of course, Hudson remembers that only the cat was ever really in any danger. “We were in no real danger, but our cat came close to his death when we wanted to put him on a load. Mom insisted that we probably shouldn’t, and it was a good thing too. When I got up to the new site, I found that some supplies did not have such an easy landing. Our washing machine, for instance, had been stabbed through and out the other side by a sharp stump!”
There were a lot of trips involved, and each time the heli got to our new building site, Erwin would lower the load and detach the cable from the helicopter. And through the whole process Erwin piloted the helicopter without the door on so that he could fully view the net! After our usual lunch time, we were all up safely with all our stuff. We were all really tired, but excited to finally be up and eager to get to work on our new home!
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