27 January 2011

Dentists without borders - sort of

A Swiss dentist couple have flown with Mercy Air a number of times in recent years. They give up their holiday and fund their own trips in Mozambique into areas where Mercy Air already has mission contacts.
We were due to fly them into the Zambezi delta region but last minute changes in rules required to do medical work in that part of Mozambique meant that another plan had to be made. On top of that, on the day of the flight we found a problem with our Cessna 210 which would take a day to fix so we had to ‘borrow’ another smaller 4 seat aircraft.
Cessna 182
The plan was then, to fly them over Swaziland and back into South Africa and land at a very sandy strip just south of Mozambique, from where they would be picked up and driven across the border to work at a place called Mamoli.
They had a lot of equipment which was a tight fit.... but we squeezed everything in.
It might not look much but all the luggage and three people in that plane, diddn't leave much room for your packed lunch.
Our helicopter will be working in the same area during the next week, after which it will take them up to Maputo, where we will meet them and fly them further north to Chimoio together with a doctor team to do some more medical work.

Mercy Air team

07 January 2011

Another long day in the saddle

Recently we got a call from some Dutch missionaries who work with Trans World Radio, an organisation who broadcast the Gospel to over 40 countries in Africa. One of their bases is in Mocuba, Mozambique but the missionaries themselves were in Pretoria.
They had just found that one of their local pastors, who also teaches at a bible school, had a mild stroke over the Christmas period resulting in some paralysis on the left side.

The hospital in Mocuba had not been able to bring his blood pressure under control and so the Dutch missionaries asked us to bring him back to South Africa for further medical treatment.

This, though, meant hurriedly arranging the flight permits, getting the plane ready and flying it to the nearby international airport to allow us as early start as possible the following morning.

As we didn't know what condition the patient would be in, we decided a nurse should come along also. So the next day, we were up at dawn for the four hour flight up to Mocuba.
Mocuba and the airstrip.

Mocuba's dirt and grass airstrip is in the middle of town and is used as a bit of a thoroughfare by people and animals. We had to circle the town a few times on arrival to announce our intention to land as well as to assess the strip ourselves. Even then there were many children who came, attracted by the relativley rare sight of an aircraft.
A welcoming committee that's actually not that welcome.

The patient was waiting for us when we landed and so we were on the ground for less than 10 minutes before making the journey back. The weather was not brilliant but well within our capabilities and so we could make it back to South Africa in good time.The Pastor reading his bible on the way back.

In total just over eight hours flying and 2400 km (1500 miles). Fortunately for us, other Mercy Air staff were able to take care of the hospital admissions procedure which lasted well into the evening.


Mercy Air team