25 July 2013

All dressed up and somewhere to go

This last week two Mercy Air staff, Paul and Cathy went to Maputo to represent Mercy Air at the:

Seventh edition of the International Stop Cervical Cancer in Africa Conference, jointly organised by the Forum of African First Ladies Against Breast and Cervical Cancer and the Princess Nikky Onyeri Breast Cancer Foundation.

How's that for a mouthful. However, with 15 African First Ladies and a smattering of Royalty present it was not as convoluted as the politically correct introductions that preceded each speakers presentation - some took up to three minutes to recognise everybody from 'His Excellency Armando Guebuza the President of the Republic of Mozambique' then Mrs. Maria da Luz Dai Guebuza the First Lady of the Republic of Mozambique' then through the various other first ladies, governmental ministers, honorable gentlemen, distinguished guests, delegates right down to the likes of us, 'ladies and gentlemen'. Some people were only given a five minute slot so this seriously cut into their ability to expound the virtues of their message or blow their own trumpet.
The opening ceremony was attended by about 1000 people.
and we were two of them.
There was some cultural activity during the breaks.

Before getting back to the job of listening to what people had to say.
The idea was that the first ladies joined forces with researchers, health professionals, representatives from multilateral organisations, politicians and activists to share knowledge, forge alliances and promote strategies to improve the prevention and treatment of various female cancers - according to the conference handout.
We were there to 'network' as well as meet a few people who had been introduced to Mercy Air in the US including one Doctor from Seattle, USA whom we brought back to visit Mercy Air afterwards.
There were a number of displays
That were really more of interest to Cathy!
The one evening we saw a full moon rise over the Bay of Maputo
and tried in some vain way to contain it.
On the final day we had a quick tour of the city including the old fort and then the railway station built by Gustave Eiffel in 1910. This had a quaint old world feel to it and was reminiscent of scenes from Murder on the Orient Express.
The station was featured in the film Blood Diamond with Leonardo DiCaprio.
It also had an atmospheric bar/waiting room between the platforms that is apparently the place to be and happening jazz hangout on Friday nights.

We departed much as we arrived, having to pick our way between the fancy business jets of the excellence's, honourable's and distinguished types that we had rubbed shoulders with the previous few days.
Arriving back in SA we parked next to one of Africa's few Kodiaks. This one belongs to Iris Ministries who are based in Mozambique.
Interestingly enough both the aircraft in the picture will park alongside each other in Malawi as we are doing a joint missions flight together in a week's time.
Once back in SA, Cathy took Julie, the doctor to the Africa School of Missions mobile clinic.
Later they went to ASM's fixed clinic...
Where she also met the class that Cathy teaches
On the last day they took in some scenery with some of the other Mercy Air wives by visiting Blyde River Canyon.
They were also fortunate enough to see one of Mercy Air's resident Crested Eagles sitting on a telephone pole alongside the runway.

Thank you

Mercy Air Team

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