03 November 2010

Woken up by Whales (but not whilst driving up the M5 past Hereford)

Not too long after the previous two trips we once again set sail for Mozambique, but this time for a place we had never been to before - Nacala, which is actually half way back to the Equator from where we are in White River.
We had planned a 10 day trip to visit two different missions, but the one in Marromeu had problems with getting the doors made that they wanted us to fit. We did however, visit them on the way up to look at the progress on their centre and get a better idea of their need for when we hopefully visit in early December.

From there we continued up past some impressive scenery...
..to Nacala where a German couple, Martin and Simone, live. We unloaded the contents of the plane into his pick-up truck...
and collected a few other things, including the proverbial kitchen sink...
..before driving a further two hours north to Memba. To help Martin and Simone better serve the community and share the Gospel, they are building a small house and training centre in Memba and will move in as soon as the roof and electrics are completed. To assist these missionaries and support this project Mercy Air offered its services and took a load of electrical equipment up including 140 metres of very heavy (125Kg) armoured cable as well as Derek, an electrician, who had volunteered his services. Our main job was to lay the cable, install the lights and plugs and wire them all up.

Memba itself is a pretty isolated and run down coastal town which was heavily attacked during the war (which finished 17 years ago) but never seemed to fully recover.
On their land they are building a small house first in which they will live before completing the centre early next year.
Despite being right on the beach it was hot - very hot. This was most evident when it came to digging the 1/2 metre deep, 120 metre long trench to the nearest power pole.
We had to dig it up a street of old Government houses, many of which were still occupied.
Eventually it was complete and we laid the cable.
Derek then showed the local electric company how to terminate it on the breaker box.
Holger made some clamps and fixed the cable to the pole.
Unfortunately a moment of 'operator error' saw him lose his footing and fall 5m down the pole, breaking his foot in the process. After a spot of medical attention, he completed the rest of the trip on one leg and with a permanent grimace.
Derek was a real trooper though and offered his services whenever needed.
Despite the heat we finished in good time and even returned to Nacala a day early. We spent two nights there and slept in the 'beach house', above. The one night we were woken up by a strange noise that we later recognised as a whale 'blowing' a few hundred meters off shore. Earlier in the week we had seen them doing that jumpy thing they do and even managed to get a photo.
I kept humming Nantucket Sleighride by Mountain whilst taking these pictures. I'll be impressed if there are many people who know the link.

On the way back we stayed a night in Chimoio where we picked up Ron and Bernie, the guys we had taken up two weeks earlier and who had been working on the Mercy Air house there. A few phone calls though had determined that there was no Avgas to fuel the plane at any of the airports on the planned route home, and only two airports in the whole of the country had any fuel left. Fortunately the recent upgrades to the aircraft meant that it had a healthy endurance and we were able to divert to Maputo to fuel up and clear customs.

Our grateful thanks go out to all those who support Mercy Air with faithful prayers and financial giving to make such flights of support and encouragement possible.

Mercy Air team

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