Friday, September 19, 2014

Rubani wa kwanza mwanamke Rwanda

A typical day sees the 26-year-old on duty for an often exhausting 12-hour shift but after achieving her lifelong ambition of being up in the clouds, Mbabazi wouldn't change a single thing. "If you're in a field that you are really, you have passion for it. You can't wait for what tomorrow is going to bring for you, for me, that's my biggest achievement -- to be in a place whereby I'm happy."  
Esther Mbabazi wheels her bag towards the airstairs of the Boeing 737 sitting quietly on the tarmac at Kigali International Airport. 
A short hop south with a flying time of around 1 hour and 20 minutes. But for Mbabazi, 26, it isn't about the destination. 

As Rwanda's first female pilot, it's about the journey and her highest priority is to get passengers safely to their terminus.
 Moving into the role of pilot has been a tough journey and it hasn't been any easier since she finished her training. Mbabazi reveals that being a female pilot still causes increased scrutiny. "I think it's perception. Right now you meet a lot of people and some are very excited, and some are OK."
"Growing up I wanted to be a pilot when I was four," says Mbabazi, who became a pilot for Rwanda's national airline carrier, RwandAir, at 24.

 "I'd never been inside a cockpit but I used to see a plane in the sky and I imagined that thing must be flown by someone.

"I had to go for it. Even though it looked like a long shot, it was my only shot -- that's how I saw it so I went for it, and here I am." 

During her childhood, Esther's family would move on a regular basis due to her father's work as a pastor. 

But her desire to take to the skies never wavered, even after her father passed away in a plane crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo, when the passenger aircraft he was traveling on overshot the runway and hit some terrain.
 Being a pilot isn't just sitting in the cockpit, explains Mbabazi. "Basically you need to know your crew: who you are flying with, and the weather, from your departure, your arrival and your alternate, if the weather in your destination is not good, so you need the alternate as well." And that's before you even get onto the aircraft...

"From day one, he was always my biggest supporter or fan," recalls Mbabazi, who lost her father before turning 10."[But] an accident is an accident. Like I said, if someone gets hit by a car, you don't stop driving.

"You can't live life being scared an in fear of anything. If something is bound to happen, you can't stop it."

No comments:

Post a Comment