There is an air of excited anticipation so tangible you can almost see it as Matt Monson, our newest pilot, taxis off the runway and into the MAF area. Our entire staff is poised to give Matt a soaking he’ll likely not forget. Matt is none the wiser. Our buckets are filled and carefully positioned so as not to tip Matt off to our wily plans. Carolyn, his wife, with their two children, hides behind half-closed hangar doors to enjoy the moment. The plan is this: no one gets him until his passengers are well clear; then, we make history.
After two months of flight orientation, Matt is ready to go solo—that is, take his first flight into the Lesotho Mountains with no instructor. It was, and is, my privilege to serve as Matt’s flight instructor, transitioning him to flying in Lesotho.
The tradition of water soaking after a new pilot’s first solo in country is an MAF tradition worldwide. They seem to be ratcheting up recently, however, culminating in today’s epic bath just moments away. Our lead mechanic even secured a fire hose and has deviously worked himself onto Matt’s unsuspecting flank. As his passengers vacate the deluge area, we send a diversion to congratulate him.
Suddenly from the opposite flank the first assault commences. Matt is somehow tuned in, dodging in time and making a run for a neighboring hangar, narrowly avoiding a full fire hose barrage. For a few moments Matt hides in the other hangar while we regroup. Then, without warning, Matt darts full on into an at-ready and waiting fire hose while the rest of us unleash our liquid surprise.
He is soaked to the bone from head to toe! Smiles and handshakes follow as we congratulate our new pilot and family. What a joy and privilege to see God’s calling on the Monson family to serve the people of Lesotho through MAF.