As we haven't been in touch for a while, here is a short summary of the last few months activities in our hot and thundery neck of the woods.
We have done a number of short trips, mainly to Moz and on one occasion he stayed less than an hour!
This was all part of the plan though as the previous day we had received news of a man who needed urgent medical evacuation to Jo'burg.
Flight permits were obtained, plans made and we left early Sunday morning with the paramedic.
Our patient turned out to be the Captain of a ship that was delivering supplies to Beira. We picked him up after a three hour flight to Moz and then flew him another four hours to Jo'burg where an ambulance met him at the plane.
Another flight two weeks ago involved taking an elderly couple to Pretoria for urgent medical tests.
We spent last Thursday in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He managed to talk to a number of people whilst waiting for his passengers and it seems that things are as bad there as we are led to believe. One lady wanted to know when he was coming again and said he should bring food and bibles. With the elections less that a week away, many seem to think that the campaigning might be in vain, as the votes have likely already been counted.
Reminiscent of the dark days (nights) of 1971 and the coal miners strike in the UK, South Africa has been experiencing major Power Cuts recently. The reason is load shedding which basically means Eskom, the power company, hasn't got enough capacity to supply everyone at the same time. Unfortunately the future's looking pretty bleak as they don't reckon they'll have the problems sorted this side of 5-8 years. The joke, 'Eskom are sorry to announce that the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off to conserve electricity' would be funny if it wasn't so true.
The upshot of this is that electricity prices are set to go up by over 50% soon, to help fund the construction of new power stations. This is on the back of a 50% rise in the price of petrol in the last year.
Mercy Air's helicopter is back in SA now for some routine maintenance on the tail rotor gearbox. Routine maintenance in this case involves shipping the gearbox off to New Zealand for overhaul. When it returns the heli has one more trip to make back up to Moz to finish off with the Zambezi flooding and then it will go to Lesotho to help Mission Aviation Fellowship transport materials to build a remote clinic in the mountains.
Thank you again for your prayers and support which make things like the above possible.
Mercy Air team