06 August 2013

Malawi - for a change

Last week Mercy Air flew a team from South Africa to the IRIS Ministries base in Bangula, in southern Malawi. The IRIS Ministries Kodiak also flew a team in from Mozambique. Our five hour flight certainly beat the three days drive from South Africa that some other people endured.

We were all there for the annual conference to which many Malawians walk many days to attend.

The flight up was uneventful but it had been drizzling in Bangula for most of the day so the strip was quite muddy.
 When we landed we got what must be the biggest reception we have ever had.
Dodgy photomerge of two pictures makes the plane look a little bent!
 


The conference was attended by about 5000 people and was typically African with plenty of shouting, singing, hand waving, dancing etc. There were three long sessions per day with visiting speakers from as far away as East Timor.
After that they showed a film and in the evening people seemed to just sleep more or less where they had been standing.

A rare moment of sitting down and calm.
The IRIS Kodiak arrived on the second day as they had been delayed due to weather in Blantyre.
The Kodiak might be bigger but ours goes faster!
 
The photos above and below are fairly typical of an African airstrip. The IRIS guys did a good job though of keeping the people, cows and goats off whilst we landed and took off.
During some of the breaks our pilot, Paul, walked down to check on the plane. This always turned into a Pied Piper scenario as he was followed by a hoard of excited kids.
 

The IRIS Kodiak might not have the best colour scheme ever but we were excited to think what we could do with ours when we get it, and there's a good chance that this could be in the next few months - watch this space!

The guys had arranged a guard and we guess that it's quite important to choose one who looks like he could invade a small country all by himself! He was actually very friendly and Paul had some good chats with him. He let him sit up front but unfortunately didn't take a picture.
After another day of singing, dancing, shouting, clapping and hand waving...

...it was time to leave.

The Kodiak left first.
Then after a quick team photo it was our turn.


Bangula looked a little more inviting in the sun than it did when we arrived.
On our way out of Blantyre we could see Mt. Mulanje (3002m) in the distance seemingly floating in the air, Avatar style, above the surrounding plains.
We flew back over Bangula but now at 10000ft.
At that height in winter, even in Africa, it gets a bit chilly.

Thank you.

Mercy Air team

(photos without black borders - Dave Morrison, IRIS Ministries Bangula, Malawi).

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