Air Travel


A lion on the tarmac. This picture was most likely taken while my mother was on safari in Kenya. One one hand, the lion fits the idealized Western image of Africa, but it lays in a thoroughly modern environment.


A sign at Nairobi Airport. The listed cities tell you a little something about priorities back then, and perhaps even today.


Boarding a plane the old fashioned way. Contrast this to the cattle chutes we use now, and it speaks to a totally different way of air travel.


A Piper plane in the Nigerian bush. While not used much anymore, these planes were once an essential part of the missionary toolkit. Small bush airfields could be constructed quickly and cheaply, and the planes themselves were easily shipped from the US in shipping crates. Once in Nigeria, bush pilots used them to ferry missionaries, medicines, news, and other supplies to far flung stations.


Nigeria Airways was the flagship carrier of the new nation. It was started from the ashes of the West Africa Airways Corporation, and continued to operate until 2003, when a poor safety record and mismanagement brought it down. Here, my mother and one of her friends prepare to board a domestic flight to Kaduna, an ancient city in the northwest of Nigeria.


Nigerians and Americans disembarking a United plane. Note the United shield logo, which was used in the early 60s after a merger with Capital Airlines. It predates the iconic Saul Bass ‘tulip’ logo by 13 years.



A Nigerian man jokes with his fellow travelers.