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I was waiting for help at the abandoned airfield for the second day already. Around noon, I suddenly heard an engine noise in the distance. I clambered onto the helicopter and saw the white roof of a Land Rover chugging along the approach road. That had to be my rescuers!

And yes indeed, it was one of my friends from Kelafo with supplies and two Ethiopian co-workers, who were to stay with me until the aircraft fuel could be flown in from Addis Ababa in one or two days. Finally, I could quench my thirst. I also enjoyed a hot soup as a gift from heaven.

Georg had reached the mission station that evening, safe and sound but completely exhausted. The three Somalis hadn’t given him any problems. My friend explained that if Ethiopians were with me nobody would dare harm me, since robberies of white people carried the death sentence. My two new companions were fine young men and I enjoyed their friendship. We collected a large pile of brushwood and threw green branches on top to make a smoky bonfire so that the rescue plane would see our position.

I spent the waiting time writing letters, especially to my wife. My story filled five aerograms! Back home in Trogen, she read about the rifles aimed at me in the fourth aerogram. The fifth letter didn’t arrive till a day later, so for twenty-four hours she waited on tenterhooks to know about my fate. Over and over again she had to learn to live with this tension. For her, reports like these were confirmation that I was in God’s hands. She has written about how she mastered her task of living yoked to a man who lived so dangerously in her autobiography “The Spear Bearer”.

I fixed the broken windshield temporarily with duct tape but alas, I was unable to help the hundred and fifty students. They had to be evacuated in the meantime by boat.

However, soon afterwards I was able to supply seventeen villages that had been cut off by the floods with a mixture of wheat, soya and milk powder, thus saving many people from starvation, especially children. How must those would-be robbers have felt when they saw the same pilot that they had wanted to rob and possibly kill, bringing lifesaving aid to them and their people?


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