We began our journey home in distinctively African style, with our two-time volunteer Danielle Hayes parked between the pilot and copilot for the short flight from Tanzania to Kenya. Precision Airways had overbooked our flight by one passenger, so instead of bumping somebody to a later flight, they simply put Danielle in the cockpit.
I suppose the circumstances made her selection inevitable: men piloting and copiloting and, out of all the pretty women on board, Danielle being the smallest. Yet surely the gender of pilot and copilot and Danielle’s size and appearance became factors only because this was Africa, where living day by day with malfunctions or shortages or ruined plans cultivates flexibility and a talent for improvisation.
Maybe the adjustments and improvisations fail more often than they succeed, but this one worked: Danielle and her partners got us to Nairobi right on schedule.—Don Stoll