An Airstrip Eyewitness Remembers November 18

by Esther English

You send me back to my younger days. That very day I left my six-month-old daughter sleeping, and was going like everyone to see the people from Jonestown off. We were told that a congressman also was with them. Many families, some with their babies hooked on their hips gathered around.

You may ask me why.

Reason number one: they were very friendly with us.

Reason number two: they mixed with us on some, but not all occasions, times when they had their produce to sell. They sold chickens, vegetables, clothes, footwear, etc. They would move around the whole community.

But it did not end well.

That noon, we were there when the plane was on the runway. Already, the tractor with gunmen was suddenly coming on the scene and  started firing at the plane. The gunfire made everybody move in all directions, with some falling with their babies. We still happened to see bodies lying on the ground. Amongst them, one of our friends was shot on his foot. After the tractor drove away, another truck came but only the driver was seen. From that truck, a man jumped out and ran to a smaller plane that was at the end of the airfield. That was another scary part for us because he was running with the gun in his hand. He got away at first, but I cannot remember where he was caught.

Originally posted on October 1st, 2017.

Last modified on October 25th, 2017.
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