Another horror, another sad tale.      #epitaph    #reflections  #tragedy   #ethiopianairlinedisaster   #youneverknowwhatliesaheadinife

A wife stood at the airport and waved at her husband, until he disappeared out of sight, while going to board his flight. He was on his way to Kenya. They will stop over at Addis Ababa to change flights. She quickly dashed to the car park in the depths of the cold with the thoughts of her husband keeping her heart warm. ‘He will soon be back before you know it’, she told herself. Now I can sort some stuff out, go out with the girls and have a little down time.

A husband who was driving, just received a message from the wife ‘aboard now, waiting to take off. See you soon!!! xxx.’ He looked for some safe place and parked his car. ‘Have a safe flight and I am already missing you. See you soon. Love ya,’ he messaged back. That night he would be meeting with the boys. They will have an old game of footie and then go to the old food joint and grab a bite and talk about the EPL season. He would swing the kids to MacDonald’s for the good old quick bite. Everybody’s going to be happy. No cooking, no mess, no washing of dishes afterwards.

“Daddy I will miss you. When you are coming back please can you buy me my favourite…”

“Of course darling, I will buy it for you. Now come and give daddy a big nice hug.”

Daddy reads her little princess a bedtime story and tucks her in her nice comfy warm bed. When she wakes up the next morning, daddy would have been gone and she will be counting the days to her daddy’s return. And her daddy will buy her, her favourite chocolate.

Mrs. Kubwa is expecting her son Remi from Canada. The thoughts of her son’s visit is beginning to revitalize her. The house has been cleaned and his room is ready. She is going to cook him his favourite food. He always loved eating beans well spiced with pepper and fried plantain.  ‘He will afterwards, take me to the hospital to see the doctor reviewing my case and he will talk with the doctor and we will decide on the next course of action to take’, Mrs. Kubwa thought to herself.

In kenya, the venue of the environment conference, expectations were high. Delegates were flying in from across the world. Different institutions and corporate bodies had bid farewell to their employees who were going on a work related trip. “See you when you get back. Have a nice time” they all seemed to say. “Be sure to try out the jungle safari,” another advised a colleague.

Ethiopian airlines was getting ready to add another statistic to their enviable record of another successful flight, of course who wouldn’t.

The oxygen masks dropped in the plane, the air hostesses were scurrying down the aisle to ensure everybody had secured their masks correctly. It was only a short time into the flight. The pilot’s voice was steady. The seat belts sign was still on. Pandemonium had broken out in the plane. Children yelled. Adults panicked. Perspiration broke out. A man was seen reciting some prayers. Different people called on the different names of the different gods they worshipped. There was turbulence and fatal danger was imminent. In a moment, everything that seemed a priority stopped. There was only one key word – survival, one question burned in the minds of the travelers, will we make it through? Some quickly pulled out their mobile phones and recorded the drama, in case they don’t make it and per chance the mobile phone is discovered, it can give an account of the last moments in the big bird.

No one knew what the next few moments held in store.

Passengers in the plane thought of their families and loved ones they left behind or were going to meet.  A certain guy thought of the surprise he had planned for his long time girlfriend, he was going to propose to her. This dissolved before his eyes. Another remembered not telling his momma how he loved her and appreciated her. A wife remembered an argument with the husband and how they did not make up soon enough. A certain lady was about to receive her PhD, after several years of research and toil- the journey was coming to an end for her. Here she was, trapped in a bird that locked her away from receiving her PhD. Another man thought well, damn, so this is it. Finally all the loans and debts I owed will come to an abrupt end. They won’t see me no more. I wish I had borrowed more and lived a better life and died a sudden death like now.

The bird was beginning to spiral out of control, by now it was certain that except a miracle happened, all of the passengers were heading to fatality. Some decided to make it right with their Maker. Some prayed and some sat and just stared into the trapped huge bird. Nothing mattered anymore. Everything was fizzling before their eyes. The Ethiopian airline flight, the pride of Africa was descending uncontrollably …different strands of thought ran through passengers’ minds. It was certain now, they had lost the plot. The plane was doomed.

The captain and co-pilot couldn’t figure out what was wrong. They were in a shock like the passengers. Then that crashing, that unimaginable, the inferno, the burning, the suffocation, the yells, the screams of the babies and children in the midst of their parents. Parents watching their children roast alongside them.

“Daddy, mummy, I am choking. I can’t breathe…”

What a way to die, with the guilt of watching your children scream at you for help and you couldn’t do anything about it because you are in need of help too.

Those who were at the airport waiting for the arrival of the flight, to pick up relatives, loved ones, delegates, kept looking at the information board. The relatives of the passengers who were back home waiting for news of “I have arrived safely” kept their eyes on their phones. The folks at the offices waiting for the first news tweet, “I am safe in Nairobi.” That never came to be!

There was an announcement. The world was in a state of shock. It was another repeat of what happened to the Indonesian airliner in 2018. The Ethiopian airlines plane to Kenya has crashed. No survivor. Dreams dashed. Some families made extinct. Missionaries killed. Those who worked for others, to make other lives better, killed. The crew killed. The captain and co-pilot killed. Only debris, toys, passports, to-do lists, mangled bodies and charred remains were recovered. Nothing mattered. All the events and lists of what were to be done melted. Relatives, friends, colleagues, loved ones, families, the airline industry, the continent, the world at large, were all left to mourn the demise of 157 souls. Another Boeing 737 Max 8’s sad end. The world suffers…and some people did not and still do not even know about this air disaster because of their own fight for survival. Those who missed the plane and were upset initially for missing the flight, are now in gratitude mode for missing the flight. For a moment, the world forgot about Brexit and politics.

The world is awaiting eagerly for the outcome of the investigation of what went wrong and even more importantly, what could be done to avoid such crash in the future.

What consolation can we give to a little princess waiting for her daddy’s return? Children waiting for parents’ arrival? What comfort can we give a wife waiting for the husband’s return? What comfort can we give to a mother expecting her son to come over so that they could go and see her doctor together? What of the lady who had worked so hard for a PhD? What of the co-workers of those who passed away, who held the password of the systems and were the brain behind some important projects in their offices? This list is by no means exhaustive! It just goes to show how fickle life is. No wonder the saying, you never know what’s waiting for you, down the corner in life.

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  • Oliver Egharevba Posted March 13, 2019 4:08 pm

    Life is indeed a fickle… Dreams came to an abrupt end! May the Almighty give strength to the bereaved and eternal rest to the dead. Good job Ummana.

    • Uwem Mbot Umana Posted March 14, 2019 3:01 am

      Thanks Oliver. Thanks for reading the story too. We are trying to eradicate child illiteracy via story telling.

  • Ronnie Bhuyan Posted March 14, 2019 3:02 am

    May God give their families strength to overcome such a devastating moment in their lives..a very moving article Bro’ Uwem – God bless You..

    • Uwem Mbot Umana Posted March 14, 2019 3:05 am

      Thanks Ronnie. You know story telling is one of the finest and oldest art forms that exist. By reading stories, you are also identifying with this great ancient art. Keep reading and spread the word too bro. Cheers!!

  • Tallie Posted March 14, 2019 9:58 am

    Only God can bring them lasting comfort during this very difficult time.A touching read Uwem!

    • Uwem Mbot Umana Posted March 14, 2019 10:29 am


  • Emmanuel Essien Posted March 14, 2019 8:46 pm

    Thanks Uwem, for putting this together. It’s been such an emotional week indeed. We pray for comfort for all the families.

    • Uwem Mbot Umana Posted March 15, 2019 2:58 am

      Thanks Emmanuel.

  • Gideon Posted March 16, 2019 9:40 pm

    There are some places in the heart that only a story will reach..

    • Uwem Mbot Umana Posted March 17, 2019 3:08 am

      This is so powerful!!

  • Iniobong Posted March 18, 2019 7:09 am

    This brought tears to my already teary eyes… How are dreams perished in rubles?!

    • Uwem Mbot Umana Posted March 18, 2019 8:37 am

      They paid the ultimate price. If what we hear is true, then Ethiopian airlines would not ask a pilot to fly a plane next time without the pilot having had prior training on an upgraded software…

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